The Dirty Dozen (1967)

DailyView: Day 123, Movie 196

The Suicide Squad of the sixties? The concept of the Suicide Squad is very much that of the war film that will be the DailyView for today, The Dirty Dozen.

A group of murdering and criminal soldiers, awaiting or serving their punishment in prison, are brought together to become a special forces unit during World War II with the promise that any who may survive would see a reduction in their sentence. Under the command of Major Reisman (Lee Marvin), the group of ragtag soldiers were trained and sent on a dangerous mission.

The Dirty Dozen has a huge ensemble cast. Including Lee Marvin, the film features Donald Sutherland, Telly Salavas, Ernest Borgninie, Charles Bronson, John Cassavetes, Jim Brown, George Kennedy, Robert Ryan, Robert Webber, Clint Walker, Al Mancini, Ben Carruthers, and Richard Jaeckel.

We get a look at the main members of the group during the training, going from a group looking out for number one to a group of “we.” Still, the crew is filled with so many reprobates that you are never sure when their true natures may surface.

Telly Salavas, in particular, is one of the most off-balanced characters of the movie. Named Archer Maggott, he was a religious zealot from the South who had troubles with Jim Brown’s Robert Jefferson. Though never quite a part of the group, Maggott did enough to make you think he might be willing to work with the Dozen. His uncertainty keeps the action suspenseful.

Speaking of suspenseful, the final act is just filled with it. The raid on the German meeting is intense and dramatics, with plenty of twists and turns.

The Dirty Dozen is considered a classic of cinema and you can tell why. A stressful story, strong performances and exciting action caps a very entertaining movie.

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