7 February 2003 | SgtSlaughter
Pretty Bad Italian War Films
Good Lord, I can't recall ever coming across a movie so unique and so promising that turned out to be so unbelievably bad! HELL IN THE AEGEAN is easily one of the rarest Italian war movies out there -- and that's probably because nobody ever watched it when it premiered in 1973!
Roughly the first half of the film chronicles the journey of a ship carrying the gold bullion of Crete across the Aegean Sea. The second half focuses on one of the ships crew, who must escort the gold across German-infested land to where a British ship is waiting.
I can't really begin to name all the things that are wrong with this movie. I might as well start at the beginning. The one thing I really hated about this movie was the lack of familiar actors. I'll admit the only Fernando Sancho movie I've seen is the spaghetti western HATE FOR HATE, and he was the ONLY guy I recognized in the whole stinkin' movie.
The combat scenes are pretty low-budget and actually quite boring. They feature a few extras but are comprised mostly of old black and white WW2 stock footage -- which is pretty badly spliced in. It's very reminiscent of EAGLES OVER _LONDON only Castellari only did this once or twice in that film. The death scenes feature actors falling over and writhing for several seconds while moaning and screaming. It's all pretty over-acted and unconvincing.
There are lots of plot holes, especially one very annoying subplot about a Greek refugee who turns out to be a guerrilla. I can't really get into this, but you'll see what I mean if you watch the film. There are many characters who are introduced right off the bat and followed for several minutes -- and then done away with. There are also lots of important characters who are introduced so late in the proceedings that one can't indentify with them.
The music is pretty dull stuff. The one good thing about the film is the scenery: this is almost as beautiful and breathtaking as THE GUNS OF NAVARONE.
I saw this as a dub from a Chinese VCD. It's presented full screen with annoying obligatory Chinese subtitles. Unfortunately only some of the lengthy German scenes have been dubbed in English. But it was a miracle I found this to begin with as it's pretty rare. So, oh well, I guess I can put up with some German audio and Chinese subtitles. It's not a big deal since I'll probably never watch it again.
Overall, this is a dismal, boring and poorly put together movie. Avoid it at all costs!