The top box office movie of 1968, this Boy’s Own Adventure, behind-enemy-lines, WWII jaunt has Richard Burton slumming it alongside Clint Eastwood in an original script by novelist Alistair Maclean.
A little creaky in the joints by today’s standards, it still has all the elements of secret missions, intrigue, cable-car fights, shoot-outs and an entire German army, lent a little respectability by Burton, Michael Horden and Patrick Wymark. The Germans may be a little ‘Allo ‘Allo, but the whole thing rattles along apace with a stirring, melodramatic soundtrack and a bravura disregard for the entire ‘war is hell’ genre.
Glamour girl Mary Ure gets third billing on the posters, with Hammer horror favourite Ingrid Pitt joining in as a British agent, but neither get the share of the action that today’s kickass heroines enjoy.
It is espionage and action all the way, well regarded even today, in the company of more serious fare such as Operation Crossbow and Battle of Britain.
Sitting alongside other classic Maclean adaptations such as the Guns of Navarone, Where Eagles Dare may have the hallmarks of a Top Secret pastiche, but it’s one I come back to time after time. RC
Where Eagles Dare (1968)
Directed By: Brian G. Hutton
Written By: Alistair MacLean
Genre: Action, Adventure
Running time: 158 minutes
Cast: Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, Patrick Wymark, Michael Hordern, Mary Ure, Robert Beatty, Anton Diffring, Donald Houston, Ferdy Mayne, Neil McCarthy, Peter Barkworth