Tag Archives: the dirty dozen

Lee Marvin and Benedict Cumberbatch – Time Travel Twins?

Hey 3.5 readers.

Your old pal, BQB here.

Every once in a blue moon, I check out that old classic, The Dirty Dozen. If you’ve never seen it, it’s a 1960s flick where the unorthodox yet results achieving Major Reisman is assigned by the top brass to take on the wildest of suicide missions, that being training and commanding a group of psycho degenerate criminally convicted ex-soldiers (yet technically still military property as they are serving time in military jail and sentenced for execution) on an absurdly dangerous mission to blow up the mother of all Nazi targets during WWII. If they survive, they’ll get a pardon and yadda, yadda, yadda.

I saw this years ago, but as I watched it again recently, I was like, “Holy shit. Did Benedict Cumberbatch travel back to the 1960s and assume the guise of Lee Marvin?” These two have similar faces, similar voices, the resemblance, speech, tone, all very similar.

Unfortunately, we live in an age where if you notice something, chances are others have too and sure enough, there are posts about the uncanny similarities.

You be the judge. Here’s a clip of the Lee-ster in action. Tell me you don’t see traces of our beloved modern-day Dr. Strange.

The movie itself is 3/4 a lot of fun whereas the last 1/4, well, I hate to give a spoiler but it’s action and explosions that were quite spectacular for its day plus, well, horror, as in Nazis at a party retreat are murdered with ruthless efficiency and like I get the irony of the inventors of ruthlessly efficient murder being murdered with ruthless efficiency but still, many of the casualties of war here are women who were just there to be Nazi arm candy and ok, serves them right for cavorting with Nazis but look all I’m saying is the way in which they are killed – i.e. locked in a tight space and knowing it’s coming and having to wait for it, all the screams and tortured cries, if you have a heart you’ll be like, yikes.

OK, I know they are Nazis. Could they have released the lady Nazis and put them in lady Nazi jail? I think most of them were there as prostitutes so like, do we even know for sure if they agreed with Nazi dogma? A working girl has to get her dough any way she can get it after all.

The first 3/4 we see many legendary actors at a young age. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Donald Sutherland any younger, or Charles Bronson. And while you probably only know Telly Savalas as good guy, tough cop Kojak, he plays a psycho rapist pervert who believes God has enlisted him to punish women and well, you can’t help but hope maybe he’ll be taken out along with the Nazis by the end.

Typical action movie tropes i.e. the brass berate Reisman for taking so many risks yet they are bureaucrats who sit on their butts all day and have no idea what it is like out in the field. Come to think of it, this movie probably invented a lot of the action movie tropes we see in action films today.

Sidenote 1: This movie is one of the last times Hollywood allowed a man with gray hair to be a kick-ass tough guy.

Sidenote 2: Throughout the film, whenever Reisman wants to get his soldiers’ attention, he blasts at their feet with a machine gun, which seems like it should totally violate several OSHA standards.

I lost track! Tell me if you think maybe Lee Marvin is Benedict’s secret grandfather or something.

Oh, if you need a Benedict clip for reference, not sure if this is the best one but I found this recent performance on SNL as one half of an experimental Chuck E Cheese band was pretty funny:

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BQB’s Classic Movie Reviews – The Dirty Dozen (1967)

They’re dirty.  There’s twelve of them!

BQB here with a review of the WW2 classic, “The Dirty Dozen.”

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Killing Nazis is a tough job, but someone has to do it, 3.5 readers.

And when it comes to a suicide mission deep in the heart of Nazi-dom, only men with nothing left to lose will do.

Enter Major Reisman (Lee Marvin), the surly soldier who gets results, but instead of the accolades he deserves, gets nothing but disdain from the brass who wax chairs with their asses but don’t know the first thing about actual combat in the field.

There’s a mansion in Germany where Hitler’s top men meet, and General Worden (Ernest Borgnine) wants them dead.  The plan?  Twelve men will parachute into the territory and kill as many Nazis as they can, by any means necessary.

Only the worst of the worst will be willing.  Men beyond redemption facing either life in prison or a date with the noose.  Reisman is ordered to recruit his men from a military prison filled with lowlives, degenerates, killers, rapists, thieves and con men – ex-soldiers who have been drummed out of the service for betraying the trust once placed in them.

Most of them are, indeed, scum without question.  Perhaps one or two were just in the wrong place at the wrong time or have an understandable excuse.  By and large though, these are men who would just as soon stab their new commanding officer in the back as opposed to work with him.

Eventually, they come around.  The majority of the film (and it’s way too long) is spent on the training.  Slowly but surely, Reisman wins the respect of these dirtballs and eventually, convinces them that he’s offering them the one and only shot they’ll ever have at redemption so they’d better take it and not screw it up.  Resiman is a better man than these men, but as his superiors often remind him, it’s a miracle he hasn’t been court martialed himself, as his methods are extreme and on the battlefield, he walks right up to the “line” and occasionally, crosses it when no one is looking.

SPOILER ALERT (though you’ve had a really long time to watch it) – 3/4th of the film is spent on the training that when it finally comes time for the big battle royale with the Nazis, you’re like, “Finally!”

Oddly enough, this film makes me feel bad for the Nazis.  I know.  I know.  They were orchestrating the downfall of humanity.  But at this particular moment, they were at a party and something about all those defenseless Nazis, cowering in a bunker as Reisman’s goon squad pours in gas and grenades and blows them all to smithereens.  I don’t know.  Yes, OK.  They were Nazis but like…their wives and mistresses were there and they’re all crying and trying to claw their way out of what will become their tomb…look I’m glad we won the war but all I’m saying is that you have to be a real bastard to kill all those people (good or evil) in one sitting and not flinch and I suppose that’s where the Dirty Dozen comes in.

Is there a point to all this?  Maybe we need to take the bastards of the world and direct their skills at lying and cheating and so on and put them to work on saving the world instead of ruining it for once?

Maybe.

And maybe today, we’re all like those generals with their fancy brass, criticizing the military from our easy chairs while we don’t have one iota of what the hell of war is really like.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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