The Devil's Brigade

  • 1968
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Adventure, War

THE DEVIL'S BRIGADE is like a transcontinental airplane flight: long stretches of boredom punctuated by moments of terror. It was accused of being a pale imitation of THE DIRTY DOZEN, which preceded it by a year, but the truth is that THE DIRTY DOZEN is a fiction while this is based on fact. Unfortunately, the script dredged up every cliche we've ever seen...read more

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THE DEVIL'S BRIGADE is like a transcontinental airplane flight: long stretches of boredom punctuated by moments of terror. It was accused of being a pale imitation of THE DIRTY DOZEN, which preceded it by a year, but the truth is that THE DIRTY DOZEN is a fiction while this is based on

fact. Unfortunately, the script dredged up every cliche we've ever seen and heard in war movies since BIRTH OF A NATION. Holden runs a brigade made up of Americans and Canadians. His seconds-in-command are Robertson (Canada) and Edwards (US), and their job is to create a commando force that will

attack large groups of Nazis in Scandinavia. The film devotes about 20 minutes to finding and forming the cadre and the next 40 minutes to internal strife, training, and fleshing out the principal characters. The following half-hour is further training and some battlefield footage, and the final

40 minutes or so is the culmination. The Canadians are portrayed as crack troops while the Americans are just a rabble. Holden keeps the two factions together by getting them to compete with one another. This becomes friendship and, finally, respect. The men are now ready for action, but their

operation is canceled. Holden is disappointed because his men are in fine fettle and raring to go. He appeals to O'Connor and gets a new assignment--nailing the Germans in the Italian Alps. Their task is to scale an impossible mountain and destroy the German emplacements. They move up the side of

the mountain and get knocked off one by one. In the end they manage to overcome the terrain and the Nazis and earn the sobriquet of THE DEVIL'S BRIGADE. The book detailed all of the rigors of the task, and it's a shame that this movie strove so hard to fill all the corners of the mural that it

became entirely too busy. One trivia note: appearing as the lumberjack was former Notre Dame and Green Bay football star Paul Hornung, and the bartender was onetime boxing champion Gene Fullmer. O'Connor played this military role several times in his career, most notably a few years later in

KELLY'S HEROES, an equally boring movie that covered the same general territory. Dawson, who was born in England and was once married to Diana Dors, had a fairly good career in films before he became a TV game show host and achieved immense popularity by kissing the female contestants.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: THE DEVIL'S BRIGADE is like a transcontinental airplane flight: long stretches of boredom punctuated by moments of terror. It was accused of being a pale imitation of THE DIRTY DOZEN, which preceded it by a year, but the truth is that THE DIRTY DOZEN is a… (more)

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