Where Eagles Dare
|Where Eagles Dare|
|Directed by||Brian G. Hutton|
|Produced by||Elliott Kastner
|Screenplay by||Alistair MacLean|
|Based on||Where Eagles Dare
by Alistair MacLean
|Music by||Ron Goodwin|
|Editing by||John Jympson|
|Studio||Winkast Film Productions|
|Running time||155 minutes|
Where Eagles Dare is a 1968 World War II action film starring Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood and Mary Ure. It was directed by Brian G. Hutton and shot on location in Austria and Bavaria. Alistair MacLean wrote the novel and the screenplay at the same time. It was his first screenplay; both film and book became commercial successes.
The film involved some of the top moviemaking professionals of the time and is considered a classic. Major contributors included Hollywood stuntman Yakima Canutt, who, as second-unit director, shot most of the action scenes; British stuntman Alf Joint, who doubled for Burton in such sequences as the fight on top of the cable car; award-winning conductor and composer Ron Goodwin, who wrote the film score, and future Oscar-nominee Arthur Ibbetson, who worked on its cinematography.
In the winter of 1943-44, U.S. Army Brigadier General George Carnaby (Robert Beatty), a chief planner of the second front, is captured by the Germans when his aircraft is shot down en route to Crete. He is taken for interrogation to the Schloss Adler, a fortress high in the Alps of southern Bavaria. A team of commandos, led by Major John Smith (Richard Burton) and U.S. Army Ranger Lieutenant Morris Schaffer (Clint Eastwood), is briefed by Colonel Turner (Patrick Wymark) and Admiral Rolland (Michael Hordern) of MI6. Their mission is to parachute in, infiltrate the castle, and rescue General Carnaby before the Germans can interrogate him. MI6 Agent Mary Elison (Mary Ure) accompanies the mission in secret, her presence known only to Major Smith.
Early in the mission, two of the sergeants, MacPherson (Neil McCarthy) and radio operator Harrod (Brook Williams), are mysteriously killed; but Major Smith is unperturbed, keeping Lt. Schaffer as a close ally and secretly updating Admiral Rolland on developments by radio, using the call sign "Broadsword." After seeming to give up and allowing themselves to be captured, Maj. Smith and Schaffer, being officers, are separated from the three remaining NCOs—Thomas (William Squire), Berkeley (Peter Barkworth) and Christiansen (Donald Houston). Smith and Schaffer kill their captors and blow up a supply depot before hitching a ride on a cable car—the only approach to the castle. Mary, posing as a maid, had been brought into the castle by Heidi (Ingrid Pitt), a deep-cover MI6 agent working as a barmaid in the nearby village; Major von Hapen (Derren Nesbitt), a Gestapo officer whom Heidi has been cultivating, becomes infatuated with her. Mary helps Schaffer and Smith to climb up a rope and in through a window overlooking the castle's tramway station.
Carnaby's interrogation, carried out by General Rosemeyer (Ferdy Mayne) and Colonel Kramer (Anton Diffring), is underway when the three NCOs arrive and reveal themselves to be German double agents. Smith and Schaffer intrude, but Smith then forces Schaffer to disarm and establishes himself as Major Johann Schmidt of the SD, the intelligence branch of the SS. He exposes the identity of "General Carnaby"—that of Cartwright Jones, an American Corporal. He also claims that Thomas, Berkeley and Christiansen are British impostors. To test them, Smith/Schmidt proposes they write down the names of their fellow agents/conspirators in Britain, to be compared to the personal list in his pocket (having discreetly divulged the name of Germany's top agent in Britain to Kramer, who silently affirms it). After the three finish their lists, Smith reveals his list to Kramer, which is in fact blank. With the room now covered by Smith and the re-armed Schaffer, Smith then reveals the rescue operation was a cover for the real mission—to discover the identities of German spies in Britain.
Meanwhile, Mary, while preparing the explosives, is visited by von Hapen. He takes her to the castle's cafe and persuades her to recite the tale of her assumed identity. Finding faults in her story, he investigates and happens upon the meeting over Carnaby's interrogation just as Smith finishes his explanation. Von Hapen puts the room under arrest, but is distracted by Mary's entrance, enabling Schaffer to kill him and the other German officers. The group then escapes with Thomas, Berkeley and Christiansen as prisoners. Schaffer sets explosives to create diversions around the compound, while Smith leads the group to the Radio Room, where he informs Rolland of their success. They then battle their way to the cable car station, sacrificing Thomas as a decoy. Berkeley and Christiansen attempt their own escape in a cable car, but Smith, after a roof-top fight with its passengers, destroys the car with an explosive, hurling himself onto a returning cable car and subsequently riding back down with the others. They abandon the car mid-descent to avoid a party of armed Germans and to reunite with Heidi and board a bus as their escape vehicle. With soldiers in hot pursuit, they wreak havoc in an airfield before escaping on a disguised extraction plane, where Col. Turner is waiting for them.
Smith briefs Turner on the mission and confirms a suspicion he and Rolland had shared since before the start—that Turner is the top Nazi agent in Britain, whose name the late Colonel Kramer had agreed to before. Turner had been lured into participating so MI6 could expose him, with Smith's trusted partner Mary and the American Schaffer, who had no connection to MI6, specially assigned to the team to ensure the mission's success.
Smith elaborates further on Rolland's awareness of Turner's duplicity as the exposed spy brings the Sten gun cradled in his lap to bear on Smith, saying the Admiral made sure that he had that particular gun given to him before he boarded the escape plane: Turner attempts to shoot Smith, only to discover the firing pin has been previously removed. Deciding to save face, Turner commits suicide by jumping out of the plane without a parachute. The film ends with Schaffer saying to Smith: "Do me a favour, will ya? The next time you have one of these things, keep it an all-British operation," to which Smith replies, "I'll try, Lieutenant."
- Richard Burton as Maj. John Smith
- Clint Eastwood as Lt. Morris Schaffer
- Mary Ure as Mary Ellison
- Patrick Wymark as Col. Wyatt-Turner
- Michael Hordern as Vice Admiral Rolland
- Donald Houston as Olaf Christiansen
- Peter Barkworth as Ted Berkeley
- William Squire as Lee Thomas
- Robert Beatty as Gen. George Carnaby
- Brook Williams as Sgt. George Harrod
- Neil McCarthy as Sgt. Jock MacPherson
- Vincent Ball as Wing Commander Cecil Carpenter
- Anton Diffring as Col. Kramer
- Ferdy Mayne as Gen. Rosemeyer
- Derren Nesbitt as Maj. von Hapen
- Victor Beaumont as Col. Weissner
- Ingrid Pitt as Heidi Schmidt
- Guy Deghy as Maj. Wilhelm Wilner
Burton approached producer Elliott Kastner for ideas, who consulted MacLean. Most of MacLean's novels had been made into films or were being filmed. Kastner persuaded MacLean to write a new story; six weeks later, he delivered the script of Where Eagles Dare. The title, chosen by Kastner himself, is from Act I, Scene III in William Shakespeare's Richard III: "The world is grown so bad, that wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch". Like virtually all of MacLean's works, Where Eagles Dare features his trademark "secret traitor," who must be unmasked by the end.
Eastwood and Burton reportedly dubbed the film 'Where Doubles Dare' due to time stand-ins doubled for action sequences. Filming began on January 2, 1968 in Austria and did not conclude until July 1968. Eastwood received a salary of $800,000 while Burton received $1,200,000. This is one of the first films to use front projection effect. Specifically, this technology enabled filming of the scenes where the actors are on top of the cable car.
- the castle – Hohenwerfen Castle, Werfen, Austria; filmed in January 1968,
- cable car – Feuerkogel Seilbahn at Ebensee (Austria); filmed in January 1968,
- airport scenes – Flugplatz Aigen im Ennstal (Austria); filmed in early 1968. The exact place of filming is the "Fiala-Fernbrugg" garrison, still used by HS Geschwader 2 and FlAR2/3rd Bat. of the Austrian army. The big rocky mountain in the background of the airfield is the Grimming mountains, about 40 km east from the "Hoher Dachstein", or about 80 km east and 10 km south from Werfen,
- other scenes – Borehamwood Studios, Hertfordshire, England; filmed in spring 1968
Although Where Eagles Dare is considered to be one of the finest war films of all time, its cinematography and Maclean's screenplay includes many historical errors, plot holes and anachronisms. For instance, a helicopter (actually an American Bell 47 that entered U.S. military service in 1946) is seen at the start of the film. The Luftwaffe never possessed horizontal-rotor craft able to fly a high ranking General from Berlin to Bavaria, as is evidenced by the dialogue in the film.
Gestapo Major von Hapen is seen throughout the film wearing a pre-1939 black SS Allgemeine-SS uniform. However by World War II, all SS personnel wore the field grey tunic (which all the other SS characters in the film wear except for von Hapen). Besides the uniform, Von Hapen's medals include the German Cross, the Iron Cross and the Close Combat Clasp in gold. All are front-line combat decorations that could not have been earned by a uniformed-Gestapo agent assigned to Bavaria. The Close Combat Clasp in gold was such a rare decoration (of the 18–20 million soldiers in the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS only 631 received Gold Class), fighting troops regarded it with higher esteem than the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.
The film also reinvents German military protocol because the Wehrmacht general addresses the SS commander (colonel) as if he were part of the German Army. The script makes reference to keeping things "within the Army". The major plot point being to avoid Gestapo involvement. But the Waffen-SS and the Gestapo were both agencies of the SS; neither owed any allegiance to the Heer (German Army).
At film's conclusion, the Allied agents are extricated in a German Ju-52 Luftwaffe aircraft which had an operational range of about 810 miles (1,300 km). An impossible journey because a round trip from UK to Bavaria is at least 1,200 miles (1,900 km).
The film earned $6,560,000 in rentals at the North American box office during its first year of release.
|Where Eagles Dare|
|Soundtrack album by Ron Goodwin|
|Released||January 4, 2005|
|Label||Film Score Monthly|
The score was composed by Ron Goodwin. A soundtrack was released on Compact Disc in 2005 by Film Score Monthly, of the Silver Age Classics series, in association with Turner Entertainment. This was a two disc release, the first CD being the film music, the second the film music for Operation Crossbow and source music for Where Eagles Dare. This release has been limited to 3000 pressings.
Track listing for Where Eagles Dare:
- "Main Title"
- "Before Jump/Death of Harrod"
- "Mary and Smith Meet/Sting on Castle/Parade Ground"
- "Preparation in Luggage Office/Fight in Car"
- "The Booby Trap"
- "Ascent on the Cable Car"
- "Death of Radio Engineer and Helicopter Pilot"
- "Checking on Smith/Names in Notebook"
- "Smith Triumphs Over Nazis"
- "Intermission Playout"
- "Encounter in the Castle"
- "Journey Through the Castle Part 1"
- "Journey Through the Castle Part 2"
- "Descent and Fight on the Cable Car"
- "Escape from the Cable Car"
- "Chase, Part 1 and 2"
- "The Chase in the Airfield"
- "The Real Traitor"
- "End Playout"
- Hughes, p.194
- "Where Eagles Dare". TCM. Retrieved 2009-11-21.
- "BROADSWORD CALLING DANNY-BOY … the making of WHERE EAGLES DARE". Film Review 1998: republished in The Cellulord is Watching. Retrieved 2013-10-01.
- Hughes, pp.191-192
- Munn, p. 79
- Where Eagles Dare.com (Trivia)
- "Where Eagles Dare: No 24 best action and war film of all time". The Guardian. 19 October 2010. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
- "Bell Helicopters". Helicopter History Site.
- "Biography of ARTHUR MIDDLETON YOUNG".
- Coates, Steve (2002). Helicopters of the Third Reich. Crowborough, UK: Classic Publications Ltd. ISBN 1-903223-24-5.
- Lumsden, Robin. A Collector's Guide To: The Allgemeine – SS, pp 80–84.
- Shirer, William (1960). The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-72868-7.
- Florian Berger (2004), Ritterkreuzträger mit Nahkampfspange in Gold, p.6 ISBN 3-9501307-3-X
- Himmler, Heinrich (1937), "Organization and Obligations of the SS and the Police (from National Political Course for the Armed Forces)", in IMT document 1992-A-P, Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Washington, DC 1946: USGPO
- Jane 1946, pp. 170–171.
- "Big Rental Films of 1969", Variety, 7 January 1970 p 15
- Hughes, Howard (2009). Aim for the Heart. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84511-902-7.
- Munn, Michael (1992). Clint Eastwood: Hollywood's Loner. London: Robson Books. ISBN 0-86051-790-X.
- Where Eagles Dare at the Internet Movie Database
- Where Eagles Dare at the TCM Movie Database
- Where Eagles Dare at allmovie
- Where Eagles Dare at Box Office Mojo
- Film review at AlistairMacLean.com
- Where Eagles Dare Website
- Filming Locations for Where Eagles Dare