Where Eagles Dare

Where Eagles Dare is an impressively mounted hybrid of war and spy thrillers with two rock solid tough guy turns from Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood as undercover operatives sent into enemy territory to infiltrate a castle home to German high command way up in the mountains. It’s a good time but I can’t help feeling like it was overlong, there are passages that feel stretched out, like an extended sequence in a village tavern where not much of anything goes on, and an Agatha Christie type “who’s who” paranoia routine where Burton double dupes the bad guys council multiple times, but it’s a talky, muddled up roundtable discussion that feels like it goes on forever. Where the film does excel is in its locations, action sequences and stunt work that are truly breathtaking. The opening credits follow a lone plane as it hovers high above snowy peaks, a beautiful red font announcing the cast and crew in ornate letters as Ron Goodwin’s catchy score fires up. In the third act there are hair raising fight scenes aboard a tiny, almost one person gondola as Eastwood desperately fights off enemy soldiers and throws them thousands of feet below to their deaths, which will terrify any viewers severely afraid of heights. It works well when it works, but I found my attention diverted in many instances and I feel like they could have cut at least forty minutes or so of pointless jargon and expository downtime to streamline this thing a little better. Still fun, though.

-Nate Hill

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