Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Balls to the Wall Action Movie Night # 2 Tobruk 1967


    Excellent 1967 war actioner "guys on a mission" directed by Arthur Hiller  and starring Rock Hudson, George Peppard and Nigel Green. Based very loosely on the real life exploits of the SIG and LRDG British commando units that operated in North Africa during the desert campaigns of 1941/42.

A big thumbs up in every war film - It's got a map in the prologue

   Rock and the guys have to get behind German lines disguised as British POW's (escorted by Peppards's disguised Afrika Korp) to blow up a fuel dump and a giant harbor gun emplacement. Also along are Jack Watson, Percy Herbert (who had escaped Ray Harryhausen's Mysterious Island in 1961) & Norman Rossington  playing the roles you would expect them to play - Watson as the stalwart Sgt. with Herbert and Rossington as the comedy relief privates. In addition you've got an evil, double crossing Guy Stockwell and the desert in technicolor scope. A woman is introduced in a spy subplot , but luckily no romance gets in the way of tanks, blowing bunches of stuff up, repelling down cliffs, and more tanks. Produced by Gene Corman (Roger's brother) and written by the great craggy faced character actor Leo Gordon (who appears here as Sgt. Krug).

   Some Critics have complained that the film gets rather bogged down in politics, but I think it moves along at a great pace with the widescreen desert almost becoming a character in the movie. All the leads do solid work and George Peppard gets to go on a one man tear with a flame thrower at the end. 

   Excellent special effects and miniature work (the fuel dump finale and harbor gun sets are particularly impressive) and best of all its got Nigel Green. One of my favorites, Green was in tons of great movies. He was the Sgt. in Zulu (1964), Hercules in Jason and the Argonauts (1963) and appeared in Hammer's Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960) and Countess Dracula (1971). He died way too young in 1972 at the age of 47 from a heart attack. For some weird reason Universal ignored this for years on home video. Finally awhile back it was released as part of the Universal Vault collection. It was also recently released on an English friendly Blu in Italy (which I want to get one day). I saw Tobruk back in 1967 on a double bill with Deadlier then the Male (which also starred Nigel Green).

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