Play Dirty (1969)

R   |    |  Adventure, Drama, War


Play Dirty (1969) Poster

During World War II in North Africa, a group of British commandos disguised in Italian soldiers must travel behind enemy lines and destroy a vital Nazi oil depot.


6.8/10
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14 March 2003 | bob the moo
Workmanlike fare – good but rather plodding at times
After yet another failed covert operation, a specialist unit is given one last chance to show success to account for losses. When the commander learns of an oil station many miles behind enemy lines it is selected for the mission. Capt Douglas is chosen to head the team of ex-criminals to carry out the destruction. However a large military unit is sent out behind them. When the military unit are all killed, Douglas is forced to abandon his training and become a little more like the un-gentleman-like Capt Leech, and play dirty.

I had only seen this film once almost 15 years ago and had reasonable memories of it. I watched it again today because of this memories and it goes to show that a good end to a film can wipe out everything else that you could remember. I loved the ending to this film – I won't even talk about why in case I spoil it because it loses it's impact after seeing it once. However the rest of the film isn't up to the same sort of value. As it is, the plot is very much a version of the Dirty Dozen but in reality it doesn't have any training or recruiting that film does but instead leaps straight into `the action'. I say `action' because, although it sustains the interest, it is a rather plodding film that is consistent but has no high points as a result.

The story is good but the delivery is one that is clearly meant to make a point rather than entertain in the way Dirty Dozen does. Caine is good in the lead – one of his `young officer' roles a la Zulu. However he doesn't have much in the way of chemistry with xxxx, really there needed to be a lot more friction and sparks between the two, sadly the tension between the two was only very basic. It is mostly Davenport's fault as I found him to be lacking in real screen presence. He easily had the best character but failed to dominate with it – also I found it distracting that he looked a little like Sean Connery, I assumed that Sean was unavailable. The support cast are unmemorable – whereas many people can name all the dirty dozen, none of these really make an impression – only the gay pair stick but mainly because of how surreal it feels in the setting.

Overall this is an OK film with a good ending. It is consistently fair and never really dips above or below that standard. Worth a watch once but don't expect it to bare anything other than a passing resemblance to the Dirty Dozen – certainly not in the same league entertainment wise.

Critic Reviews



Details

Release Date:

15 January 1969

Language

English, Arabic, German


Country of Origin

UK

Filming Locations

Tabernas, Almería, Andalucía, Spain

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