18 September 2017 | fredcdobbs5
Not the worst, but hardly the best
I saw this under one of its many titles, "Hell River", and was pretty unimpressed. It has a few things going for it--for one thing the photography is quite crisp, unlike many 1970s Euro-made WW 2 "epics", which tended to be either washed-out or muddy--and the music is at least appropriate and doesn't drown out or overwhelm what's on screen--but there are a lot more cons than pro's. The performances aren't particularly good, especially Adam West, wildly miscast as a Nazi officer; he is stiff as a board, has no chemistry or connection with anyone in the cast and slips in and out of an embarrassingly bad German accent. Rod Taylor is stalwart as usual, but he's simply too old to play an action hero. Xenia Gratsos, here billed as "Brioni Farrell", matches West's wooden acting and is rather plain-looking to boot. The plethora of action scenes are done in a very by-the-numbers fashion and tend to be unrealistic, i.e., when the partisans attack a German armored column the Germans are mowed down by the dozens but only a very few partisans fall, despite the Germans opening up with everything they had.
All in all it's not as bad as a lot of the cheap WW 2 crapfests the Italians ground out like sausages in the 1960s and 1970a--my God, what a tsunami of stinkers they were--but it's nothing to write home about. Watchable, to a degree, but not memorable.