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Kelly's Heroes

Published May 25, 2020

Kelly's Heroes

Film info

  • Title Kelly's Heroes
  • Director Brian G. Hutton
  • Year 1970
  • Run time 2hrs 24m
  • Genres Adventure, Comedy, War
  • Tagline They set out to rob a bank... and damn near won a war instead!

They were goldbricks until they found out about the gold bricks - a fortune in Nazi-confiscated bullion! Clint Eastwood reups with the director of Where Eagles Dare for the action-filled and tongue-in-cheek tale of GIs who decide to get something extra out of the war. Eastwood's title character masterminds a scheme to slip behind enemy lines and steal the loot.

Live blog

TimeComment
3:02I thought the lightning was lighting things up too much then realised it was explosions.
8:34That is some epic rain they’re having.
12:59Can you fit a whole boat in a plane?
15:52No one seems to respect doors or walls around here.
22:39He said ‘gee whiz’ is real life!
25:46Hey, Clint, I don’t think you can do that, just decide to go off on your own.
31:31Donald with incredible hair!
34:34“We like to feel like we can get outta trouble quicker than we got into it.”
46:34Mulligan sleeping next to the alarm clock. I know that feeling.
51:34“We’ve got logistics coming out of our earholes.”
58:57The planes coming in like that are really scary.
1:03:57I worry about how much ammo they’re using just getting out of the railway tunnels.
1:14:01In the days before ‘no man left behind.’
1:22:23Difficult, innit, because you wanna blame Kelly but they all knew what they were doing. And it was money, not Kelly, that motivated them.
1:24:22That Oddball, he’s not subtle.
1:33:29It’s amazing how many people can you fit on a tank.
1:37:08“Why don’t you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?”
1:45:08I don’t understand what the plan is. How are they going to do this?
1:52:16“Move ‘em out, slow,” he said, as if there’s another option in a tank.
2:00:36I do marvel at tanks just driving in a straight line though - through fences, buildings, etc.
2:09:10You’ve got to be crazy to stare down the barrel of a tank gun.

Thoughts

This is an odd film. It has that classic older movie problem of being far too slow to get going. Seriously, I don’t mind a bit of build up but it’s 45 minutes before they even decide to do the god-damn heist. And it’s not even that the length of time is a problem in itself, it’s that you don’t learn anything about any of the characters in that time. There’s such a lot of them, that there’s barely time to get to know any, and in the end the only ones you could care about were Big Joe and Oddball.

Considering his starring role in proceedings, it’s surprising how little you actually get from Eastwood. His character has very little personality, and aside from a vague reference to being demoted for something, very little backstory either. He’s the mastermind behind the plan but not actually in charge of the troops, and pretty much just does a lot of walking.

Once they put the plan into action and the tanks started rolling, it picked up a bit. It’s an uneven movie, really, because it’s funny in places but also features the atrocities of war, alongside the fact that these people are essentially hijacking military equipment to steal gold, but then again it is Nazi gold. Not sure how to feel about it!

I think I’m making it sound worse than it was, but really it was only Telly Savalas and Donald Sutherland that saved this one.

Rating: 2 / 5

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