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Where Eagles Dare
DVD disk
10.07.2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
Where Eagles Dare order
Director:
Brian G. Hutton

Actors:
Richard Burton
Clint Eastwood
Mary Ure

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Schloss Adler. The Castle of the Eagles. In this impregnable Nazi fortress on a snowy mountain peak, an important Allied prisoner is being held. Before he can be made to talk, itís up to Major Smith (Burton) of the British intelligence service and Lieutenant Schaffer (Eastwood) of the US Rangers to penetrate this stronghold with a small team of operatives and rescue him. Major Smith, however, knows something no one else does.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Thereís been a pretty strong online movement to petition Warner Bros to speed up this release to DVD with some sites even fully dedicated to that effort. All of this is easy to understand considering that this film is bar none one of the most exciting, nerve-wracking and suspenseful movies ever made -- not only about World War II -- but about any topic. The fact that two perennial fan favorites like Burton and Eastwood also offer top-notch performances and develop tremendous chemistry with each other is also one of the movieís most attractive aspects. You canít possibly ask for any better actors to portray fearless men putting themselves willfully in danger in order to fulfill a mission of capital importance. Burton, with his cool, stoic approach and Eastwood with his intimidating strength and keen sense of well-placed humor, charge head first into what is seemingly an impossible task and take us along for a ride into a good old fashioned action movie from back when they could actually be intelligent as well. Twisting and turning through various levels of intrigue and uncertainty, WHERE EAGLES DARE culminates in fascinating developments and an action sequence that distinguishes these actors as true Hollywood stars.

The location of the shoot is also a major attraction to this film. Shot in the middle of the Austrian Alps and surrounded by snowy peaks, the Castle itself could easily be billed as one of the stars of the movie. On top of its mountain, it couldn't be more perfect and couldn't look more impenetrable or symbolic of the size of the Nazi Empire. As a matter of fact, not one second of the movie gives away any authenticity and the danger of the situation itself is often palpable. This film is definitely on my personal top 10 and probably on many others. It stars two legends in a breathtaking setting, has a wonderful screenplay written by Alistair MacLean (THE GUNS OF NAVARONE) and about as much excitement and suspense as can possibly be jammed in a two and a half hour period. Watch it. You won't regret it.
THE EXTRAS
The only feature of note, aside from the Theatrical Trailer is a cheesy, but good documentary called On Location: Where Eagles Dare. It lasts just under fifteen minutes and focuses mainly on the Schloss Adler and the difficulties of filming in such a remote location. A bit can be heard from Eastwood and Burton but mostly, a narrator walks you through several wild sequences.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This has long been one of my favorite movies and I can only recommend it. From its opening sequences to its twists, intrigue and right down to its bombastic finale, WHERE EAGLES DARE will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. Whether you buy, rent or acquire it as part of the Eastwood Collection Box Sets, I'm willing to wager this will find its way to your DVD player more than once.
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