At a time when many a star-studded and big-budgeted WWII actioner emerged, this modest effort seemed definitely like second-tier material – offering customary but efficient thrills and decent spectacle, somewhat in the vein of 633 SQUADRON (1964)…with which it shares much of the plot and action footage!
In this respect, the film also owes its German secret weapon to OPERATION CROSSBOW (1965) and its bouncing bombs to THE DAM BUSTERS (1955); no wonder, then, that the end result feels awfully contrived (particularly at the climax, when successive to a couple of failed attempts, it has a wounded pilot wilfully crash smack into the warehouse where the rockets are manufactured!). Besides, the narrative tends too often towards romantic/sentimental complications: the relationship between the two leads being obstructed, for one thing, by the hero having been the best friend of the woman’s husband and, later, by the knowledge he shares with her maimed brother that the man had survived an air crash but is being kept prisoner in a château marked for obliteration during an Allied air raid led by the hero himself!
The credentials are strictly below-par (the score, typically an asset in this type of flick, attempts to be rousing but succeeds only in being bland) and the casting a mix of TV actors (THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.’s David McCallum – who delivers a brooding performance – and Suzanne Neve from U.F.O.) and colorful character performers (Charles Gray as the pompous yet stern Air Commodore and Vladek Sheybal as the erudite but fishy Nazi officer in charge of the prison/plant fortress). Mind you, while being no great shakes (and probably instantly forgettable), the film proves mildly engaging – to say nothing of eminently watchable – along the way; when all is said and done, there are certainly far worse titles to spend 90 minutes of your life on…
Drama / War
Drama / War
Squadron Leader Quint Munroe, an RAF pilot in World War II, has a hard time dealing with the presumed death in action of fellow Sq. Leader David 'Scotty' Scott, whose family practically raised him when he was orphaned, so they were like brothers. RAF Air Commodore Hufford has a crucial task for Quint, who is no longer serving in the squadron: a reconnaissance flight over the château de Charlon, a castle in occupied France, where the Nazis are probably developing a new generation of flying bombs; the defenses are indeed suspiciously tight. When analyzed, the photos show the castle grounds harbor an underground launching tunnel, and Quint gets a nearly impossible precision top-secret mission: select and train a team in only 10 days, when the French underground believes the first launch is planned, to 'aim' a new type of bouncing bomb into the tunnel, to blow up the whole Luftwaffe installation. Quint falls in love with Scotty's young widow Beth Scott, whose crippled brother, Flight Lieutenant Douglas Shelton, is on his team. After the Gestapo catches and tortures a French underground member, the Luftwaffe drops a film showing the castle being filled with captured RAF men, one of which is, to Quint and Doug's shock, Scotty, not dead after all, causing a dilemma for which Quint presents an even more daring solution, to be prepared in a few days... —KGF Vissers
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
July 20, 2021 at 03:05 PM