The RQC War Movies No 2
There’s Gold behind them there Enemy Lines.
Private Kelly and a band of misfit American soldiers conduct a heist with their aim to steal 14,000 dollars gold bars worth $16,000,000 from a bank vault behind enemy lines.
About the plot..
The plot is set in September 1944, telling how Private Kelly (Clint Eastwood) spots some gold bars in a case owned by Colonel Dankhopf from the Wehrmacht Intelligence. After further questioning he learns there is 14,000 gold bars worth 16 million dollars in a bank vault behind enemy lines. After Dankhopf is killed, Kelly decides to go after the gold. He then enlists a motley group of peers to help him. These including a skeptical Master Sergeant Big Joe (Telly Savalas), a cunning Supply Sergeant named Crapgame (Don Rickles) providing supplies and guns and a misfit platoon commander known as Oddball (Donald Sutherland). Oddball provides three M4 Sherman tanks. However Kelly’s plan to steal the gold does not go to plan with comic effects…
About the trailer..
The trailer starts with a drum beating, leading to a dramatic note both audibly and in the script as
Kojak Big Joe (Savalas) runs from an explosion, hollering at Kelly. This calling of his name, in turn introduces us to the ringleader – and leading star – of this crime caper. Big Joe then asks Kelly (Eastwood) exactly what he’s doing, for his (and our) benefit. The revealing answer lays out the plot and the motivations of these men in this movie as Kelly says he is helping out a Colonel…Big Joe asks Kelly to shoot the man.. with Kelly adding if he shoots him he won’t get the gold. Big Joe is – along with the rest of us – stopped in his tracks.
So the gravelly voiced and silver-tongued Kelly asks for help from his peers, with the help of some gold bars. This leading to some lovely twinkly, non dramatic music as we see a golden glow on the their faces. Needless to say, they react positively and you can almost see the dollar signs in their eyes as they caress the gold bars. This act ensuring the help of someone to set up a barrage and another named Crapgame (Rickles) to provide supplies. Which personally would certainly sell this gig to me if I were a desperate, greedy man more than Eastwood presenting a pistol in my face with the aforementioned gravelly voice. Anyway. Then the big catch presents itself, the gold is behind enemy lines…
We then meet Oddball, a crazy character played by Donald Sutherland who tells is he has 3 Sherman Tanks. As you do. Oddball has a bunch of misfits who he introduces as his “boys”. Oddball and his crew watch a bridge collapse, leading to Oddball asking by telephone for a new bridge. As he does. In a New Jersey (correct me if I’m wrong) accent. Cue comic moments and Harry Dean Stanton (whose appearance in this cast totally sold it to me, and also convinced me this actor never ages). Also explosions. Tanks. Oddball being oddball. More explosions. A wee split screen – reminiscent of one to many obscure ones in Airport (also 1970) – reminding you of the characters (and acting talent). Guns. And the film title. In gold. Of course.
I’m now intrigued about story behind the nicknames for the characters in this movie namely Big Joe, Crap game, Oddball, the Turk, Little Joe and the Cowboy. And after reading more about the cameo from the director of this movie who appears as a nun. Also for the wee in movie reference to another Eastwood movie the Western The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966). So I’m looking out for this film for these and many other reasons as it’s definitely one on the to watch out for list now. And also for Kelly’s Heroes captivating cast, sparkling story line and glittering array of genres, it’s certainly worth it’s weight in gold.
Or CLICK HERE to read Thoughts All Sorts review.