Play Dirty

1969

Action / Adventure / Drama / War

9
IMDb Rating 6.8 10 2

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
November 30, -0001 at 12:00 AM

Cast

Michael Caine as Capt. Douglas
Nigel Green as Col. Masters
Nigel Davenport as Capt. Cyril Leech
Harry Andrews as Brig. Blore
1080p.BLU
1.84 GB
1920*800
English
R
23.976 fps
1 hr 58 min
P/S 2/10

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by secondtake 7 / 10

Spare, brutal, grinding war movie in the blowing sands....

Play Dirty (1969)

You almost have to see this anarchic, nasty, selfish, brutal WWII movie as a comment on Vietnam, and on war. It's 1969. At first you think Michael Caine, for all his talent, is miscast, but the odd displacement of his character among a lot of very hardened, serious men is part of what works.

This is not like any WWII you've seen. It's an odd mixture of hardship, tedium, humor, and straight up masculine grit. It's set in the Sahara, so dunes and sand and dry nasty weather rules. There is a mission at hand, and these men have to be unorthodox and ruthless to succeed. But there are long stretches of just traveling and conquering the desert, of going day after day through storms and lack of storms. There is also fighting amongst the men, a somewhat horrifying (and unnecessary) attempted rape, some bloody carnage of natives, and of Germans, a long twenty minutes of Fitzcarraldo heroics with some cables, and so on.

But in the end, it really does capture something essential of war, including the nonsense of some of it, and the lack of rules, and the lack of personal safety that comes from chaos, and the difficulty of companionship and trust.

Reviewed by TORSO! 9 / 10

Superior war movie, fast paced and cynical

Somewhat similar to "The Dirty Dozen," in that its plot features a group of convicts recruited for a deadly mission during WW 2, this fast paced war epic is much more stylish and unpredictable than that crudely made, if undeniably entertaining, Robert Aldrich blockbuster. With great performances from Michael Caine and Nigel Davenport, as well as able support from a cast of fabulous British actors, the film features one terrific action sequence after another, with plenty of surprises in store. To say anything more would surely ruin many of those surprises for the unsuspecting viewer, but it should be noted that the story comes to a screeching halt with what is possibly the greatest and most hilarious "Ooops!" in film history.

Reviewed by lost-in-limbo 8 / 10

Loyalty means nothing when you got to look after yourself.

After a string of failures, Col. Masters is given one last chance by General Blore with his information taken from behind enemy lines, which involves blowing up a Nazi fuel depot in North Africa. Masters gets a seven-man unit of criminals ready, led by mercenary Captain Leech, but Blore wants a British officer in charge and Captain Douglas with his oil experience gets picked. After they head off, we learn that they're a decoy for another patrol to fulfil the assignment, but this is unknown to them. Leech and Douglas clash over who's in command, but Leech sees Douglas' honoured methods aren't well suited for their situation and lets Douglas string them along, as there's a money reward for him if he returns back with Douglas alive.

What hits me straight away is the comparisons to Robert Aldrich's 1967 film "The Dirty Dozen", which gets unfairly lumped onto this feature. Honestly this low-key WW2 British production has some similarities, but it has its own story to tell and it's a real good one too. Andre De Toth's direction is resourcefully efficient and randomly unpredictable in detailing the plight.

What George Marton's originally cunning story does, is leave behind all of those slapdash clich├ęs. Looking for something more compact, taut and venomously scathing. It's so open minded, it's hard to tell what's going to occur next and while there might not be much background to these characters. This shows how expendable these men are when at war, but the lack development can be put down to the character themselves. Their here for the present, and they got a job to be done and there's not time for personal insight, because they just don't care. The custom pattern that occurs in a jaggedly slow tempo feels deliberate by trying to get the viewer to experience the rugged path that could lead to their impending doom, before even encountering the enemy. These are the moments when the tension really holds up. Glory and principal is discarded in very cynical fashion, in favour of primal instinct for one self. These are a unlikeable bunch. Exciting entertainment this is not, because it stays pretty level with the film's natural grit, devious intentions and lack of reasoning for the mission. Thrown in are one or two daring and unusual aspects, like the two candidly gay Arabs. The bone-dry script (penned by Melvyn Bragg and Lotte Colin) simply grits its teeth with bitter, ironic and stern dialogues that snaps with tersely realism. You can just see why this wasn't a commercial success (say like Aldrich's war film), and the sourly unrewarding and sudden conclusion is the icing on the cake. I liked this final curve-ball.

The harshly barren and dusty terrain depicts the unsparing tone of the film superbly with Edward Scaife's illustratively expressive camera-work skilfully mixing its scenic and upfront shots within the aim of the story's actions. Michael Legrand's understated music score is goes by virtually unnoticed, but this only heightens the tension because there's no real cues. Most of the music comes from a radio playing on the journey. De Toth gustily demonstrates convincing action scenes. They might be quick and few, but when they happen it's chaotic, rough and relentlessly staged with conviction. Just look at the eruption of explosions towards the dying end. His pacing can be off and get rather padded, but he never loses what his trying to say within these scenes and actually they probably add more to wearily sparse tone. Michael Caine and Nigel Davenport do a serviceable job in their parts and the pair's edgily unsure relationship is quite a compelling one. Caine's professionally stout and well-judged performance as Captain Douglas works fine and a slyly hard-boiled performance by Nigel Davenport as the rogue Captain Leech is that of high quality and the pick of the lot. Living it up in minor roles are Nigel Green and arrogantly gusto turn by Harry Andrews. The rest of the support roles pale in the light of the two leads. However they are solid and gritty performances that fit the mould.

This one undeservedly gets left in the dark, but this hardy effort is a well made and acted war piece due for rediscovery. Recommended.

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