Cast & Crew
Brian G. Hutton
Lieutenant Kelly, an unconventional U. S. Army officer, captures a German colonel and brings him back to American headquarters for questioning. Hoping to learn the location of the German Army's supply of liquor and women, Kelly instead discovers two gold ingots hidden in the German's uniform. Further questioning reveals information concerning 14,000 more ingots worth $16 million being held in a nearby German bank. After deciding to "appropriate" the gold, Kelly and his men enlist the aid of Crapgame, the manager of the supply depot, to provide the equipment necessary for the robbery. Next, Kelly recruits Oddball, an eccentric young soldier who has stolen two Sherman tanks. Meanwhile, Field Commander General Colt, who has been listening to the radio communication setting up the operation, believes the group is on a heroic venture and sets off to join them. The unorthodox mission is finally launched, and Kelly and his men reach the bank at the cost of many German lives. A sole German remains protecting the bank, but he is persuaded to join in the robbery. Kelly's men then take the gold and leave the military victory to General Colt.
Brian G. Hutton
Frank J. Garlotta
John G. Heller
Karl Otto Alberty
Hugo De Vernier
John C. Chulay
Anna Maria Fea
Troy Kennedy Martin
Harry W. Tetrick
H. A. R. Thomson
But Eastwood and Hutton wanted to do something daring, the timing seemed right, and the star had the clout to do the unexpected, since Eastwood was the second biggest box office draw in 1970, sandwiched between Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. So with the Vietnam War and anti-war protests raging, the release of the film seemed timed just right to reflect the tone of the nation. Kelly's Heroes was just one of several war films produced between 1969 and 1970, like Castle Keep (1969) and Catch-22(1970), that were adapted from anti-war novels that dated from the early 1960s. And like M*A*S*H (1970) and Catch-22 (1970), this military comedy takes place in an earlier war but is really a thinly disguised treatise on the modern-day insanity then unfolding in Vietnam.
Unfortunately, Eastwood did not have quite as much clout as needed to release the picture he and Hutton intended. Once the film was nearly in the can, Hutton was forced to make a number of cuts to suit the then MGM boss James Aubrey, a move that Clint Eastwood resented. While he did plead on Hutton's behalf, Eastwood's voice did not carry quite as much weight with Aubrey as it would have just a few years later, with the release of films like Dirty Harry(1971) and High Plains Drifter(1973). Thus, the specific or overt anti-war message that Hutton might have intended may well have been lost in MGM's cut. This anti-war message was just one element that attracted Eastwood to the project in the first place. "It had the best script, a good cast, a subtle anti-war message, elements that would possibly make a ground-breaking movie." In fact, it was not until 1999 that the same plot of soldiers taking leave of a war to find hidden loot was reworked in a truly ground-breaking film called Three Kings, starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Ice Cube.
Eastwood's personal view of the Vietnam War was tempered by the loss of friends and contemporaries in the Korean conflict, which he narrowly escaped during his military service. Eastwood also had a natural aversion to killing living creatures of any kind, but his right-wing political stance prevented him from raising his voice amidst the left-wing, anti-war movement. "When I was in the Army, I was against the Korean War and I'm against the war in Vietnam. But I'm not among the people who say, "Let's stop Vietnam, zap!" If you're going to stop it, I'd like to say, "There's a constructive way." Eastwood cited the current popularity of Catch-22 (1970) as a positive example that a perceptive look at the greedy fingers pulling the strings of war could work. Instead, Kelly's Heroes, in Eastwood's view, became a routine romp. Despite favorable audience reaction and some good critical notices, Eastwood felt that the film fell short of classic status because of the post-production meddling of "The Smiling Cobra," MGM chief James Aubrey.
The funniest thing about this World War II heist film (Clint & his men rob a bank in occupied France containing 14,000 bars of German gold) is that the supporting cast upstages Clint at every turn. But after all, how could he compete with the wily Telly Savalas or loudmouth Carroll O'Connor or that pesky scene-stealer Harry Dean Stanton as Willard or Donald Sutherland as a hippie tank driver named Oddball or Don Rickles as an arms supplier called Crapgame. By the way, if you've ever wanted to see Don Rickles with a machine gun, this is your one chance.
There's also a funny parody of the climatic showdown in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966) in which Clint and his cohorts square off against a Panzer tank while the background music playfully imitates the spaghetti western music of composer Ennio Morricone.
Director: Brian G. Hutton
Producer: Sidney Beckerman, Gabriel Katzka
Screenplay: Troy Kennedy-Martin
Cinematography: Gabriel Figueroa
Music: Lalo Schifrin
Principle Cast: Clint Eastwood (Kelly), Telly Savalas (Big Joe), Don Rickles (Crapgame), Carroll O'Connor (General Colt), Donald Sutherland (Oddball), Gavin MacLeod (Moriarty), Richard Davalos (Pvt. Gutowski), Harry Dean Stanton (Pvt. Willard), Stuart Margolin (Pvt. Little Joe).
C-144m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. Descriptive Video.
by Scott McGee
TCM Remembers - Carroll O'Connor
Carroll O'Connor - who died June 21st at the age of 76 - will be best remembered for portraying Archie Bunker on TV's All in the Family but his career actually was much more extensive. Born in New York on August 2nd, 1924, O'Connor served in the merchant marine during World War II before attending the University of Montana where he worked on the school newspaper. Before graduating, he followed his brother to another college in Ireland (he would later get a Masters in speech from Montana). It was in Ireland that O'Connor started acting in several local productions. He returned to the U.S. for his Broadway debut in 1958 and shortly after started to appear on numerous TV shows like The Untouchables and Naked City. His first film was Parrish (1961) though he eventually acted in over a dozen films during the Sixties including Cleopatra (1963), Marlowe (1969), Hawaii (1966) and Point Blank (1967). O'Connor even auditioned for the part of the Skipper in the TV series, Gilligan's Island, but it was his role as Archie Bunker in a 1971 sitcom that made him a star. All in the Family was an American version of the British sitcom Till Death Do Us Part that met some initial resistance (ABC rejected the first two pilots) but quickly captivated American audiences and became the country's top-rated TV show. Archie became such an icon that his chair is now preserved in the Smithsonian. The series lasted until 1979 and brought O'Connor four Emmys, even leading to a four-year spinoff Archie Bunker's Place starring O'Connor. (It also produced one of TV's oddest spinoffs in1994's 704 Hauser about a multi-racial family living in Archie Bunker's old house. It had no cast members from the earlier series and only lasted six episodes.) In 1988, O'Connor took the role of a Southern sheriff in a TV series based on the movie In the Heat of the Night and found himself in another hit, this one lasting until 1995. He also occasionally played Helen Hunt's father on Mad About You. By all accounts, O'Connor was nothing like Archie Bunker; in fact, O'Connor was an active anti-drug crusader, partly the result of his son's drug-related suicide.
By Lang Thompson
TCM REMEMBERS JACK LEMMON 1925-2001
Whether playing a cross-dressing jazz bassist or a bickering roommate, Lemmon has kept his fans in stitches for fifty years. But beneath that comedian's facade, the actor had a very serious side, which occasionally surfaced in such films as Days of Wine and Roses (1962) or Costa-Gavras' political thriller Missing (1982). Lemmon was truly a one-of-a-kind actor and his track record for acclaimed performances is truly remarkable: 8 Oscar nominations (he won Best Supporting Actor for Mister Roberts (1955) and Best Actor for Save the Tiger (1973), a Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute, 8 British Academy Award nominations, 4 Emmy Award nominations, numerous Golden Globe nominations, a two-time Best Actor winner at the Cannes Film Festival, the list goes on and on.
Lemmon entered the world in a completely novel fashion; he was born prematurely in an elevator in Boston in 1925. The son of a doughnut manufacturer, Lemmon later attended Harvard University but was bitten by the acting bug and left the prestigious college for Broadway. Between theatrical gigs, he played piano accompaniment to silent films shown at the Knickerbocker Music Hall in New York. Later, Lemmon claimed that he learned more about comic technique by watching these Chaplin, Keaton and Harold Lloyd two-reelers than acting school could have ever taught him.
From Broadway and early TV appearances to Hollywood, Lemmon moved West to make his screen debut in It Should Happen to You (1954), opposite Judy Holliday in a variation of her 'dumb blonde' persona that had won her an Oscar for Born Yesterday (1952). In It Should Happen to You, Holliday plays a struggling actress who soon wins fast fame as the product of promotion. Lemmon plays her levelheaded boyfriend but finds himself on the sidelines when the suave and sophisticated Peter Lawford appears on the scene. It Should Happen to You, directed by George Cukor, was a popular success and Lemmon and Holliday were quickly teamed again in Phffft! (1954), another lightweight romantic comedy. A year later, Lemmon hit the major leagues when he supported Hollywood heavyweights Henry Fonda, James Cagney and William Powell in Mister Roberts (1955). As Ensign Pulver, a deckhand who avoids work whenever possible, Lemmon won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar®.
Onscreen, Lemmon's characters often found that they were the wrong men for their jobs. In Cowboy (1958), Lemmon plays a city slicker venturing out on the wild frontier. His romantic visions of the West are soon changed by the hard-living, hard-drinking reality. Cowboy is based on the autobiography of Frank Harris, and, like the author, Lemmon found himself adapting to the rough and tumble lifestyle on the trail.
Lemmon brought a new comic persona to Hollywood films. He combined elements of screwball and slapstick comedy with his own self-deprecating humor to create satiric portraits of the contemporary American male. The sometimes cynical comic sense of director Billy Wilder provided Lemmon with the perfect complement. Together they made seven films, but it was their first, Some Like It Hot (1959), that captured the sheer comic genius of their collaborations together.
From sexual antics to social critique, Lemmon and Wilder sharpened their comic knives on the hypocrisies they saw in American culture. The Apartment (1960) focused on a working stiff who lends his home to his supervisors for their extramarital affairs. Problems arise when Lemmon falls for his boss's paramour - it gets even more complicated when she tries to kill herself in his pad! Though The Apartment was a comic success, with each passing year the film's serious side seems even more dark and derisive. Illicit love and the corruption of big business might not seem to be the stuff of hit comedies, but Wilder and Lemmon found humor in the most unlikeliest of places. Director and comic star went on to make five more films: Irma la Douce (1963), The Fortune Cookie (1966), Avanti! (1972), The Front Page (1974) and Buddy Buddy (1981).
Billy Wilder and Lemmon's lifelong comic foil Walter Matthau (nine collaborations with Lemmon in 32 years, including their most popular film, The Odd Couple, 1968) brought some of the comedian's finest funny moments to the screen. But there was a serious side too. Lemmon waived his salary to act in Save the Tiger (1973), the 'great American tragedy' of a businessman at the end of his rope. Lemmon won his second Academy Award for the film. In Missing (1982), directed by the uncompromising Costa-Gavras, Lemmon played a patriotic father searching for his kidnapped son in Latin America. The closer he gets to his goal, the clearer it becomes that a government conspiracy is behind his son's disappearance. Missing was inspired by a true story - the production was condemned by the Reagan administration and awarded the Golden Palm at the Cannes film festival.
Very few actors today can match Lemmon's range on the screen. He has acted in everything from lightweight sex farces (How to Murder Your Wife, 1965) to musicals (My Sister Eileen, 1955) to social dramas (Days of Wine and Roses, 1962) to political thrillers (The China Syndrome, 1979). Turner Classic Movies cherishes the memory of this remarkable talent.
By Cino Niles & Jeff Stafford
ANTHONY QUINN, 1915-2001
Not many actors can boast that they've inspired a Bob Dylan song but Anthony Quinn - who passed away June 3rd at the age of 86 - was one of the select few. But that's just one of many incidents in a life that can only be described as colorful. If a novelist had invented a character like Quinn, she would be accused of unbelievable invention. But in Quinn's case, it's all true.
Quinn was born April 21, 1915 in Mexico. His parents were involved in Pancho Villa's revolutionary struggle and must have made a striking couple since the father was half Irish and mother Mexican Indian. The couple were married on a train of rebel soldiers. After Quinn's birth, the family soon moved to East Los Angeles (after a quick Texas detour) where Quinn grew up in the shadow of Hollywood. (A branch of the Los Angeles County Public Library now occupies the site of Quinn's childhood home; in 1981 it was renamed in his honor.) At the age of 11 he won a sculpture award and shortly after began studying architecture under Frank Lloyd Wright. It was Wright in fact who suggested the possibility of acting to Quinn and even paid for an operation to cure a speech impediment. Along the way, Quinn also dabbled in professional boxing (he quit after his 17th match, the first he lost) and street-corner preaching. He continued to sculpt and paint for the rest of his life while also becoming a noted art collector.
Quinn's acting debut was in 1936 initially in a handful of barely noticable spots as an extra until he landed a speaking role in Cecil B. DeMille's The Plainsman, supposedly on the recommendation of the film's star, Gary Cooper. One unanticipated result was that Quinn married DeMille's daughter the following year; they appeared together in Phil Karlson's Black Gold (1947) and had five children. Quinn also appeared on stage in 1936 playing opposite Mae West. Quinn continued in film parts that gathered acclaim: Crazy Horse in They Died With Their Boots On (1941), a gambler in The Ox-Bow Incident (1943), a soldier in Guadalcanal Diary (1943).
But it was the 1950s when Quinn broke out. Viva Zapata!(1952) provided him a wonderful role which he used to win a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. Oddly enough, in Viva Zapata! Quinn worked with Marlon Brando who he had replaced in the original Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire. (Director Elia Kazan tried to start a rivalry between the two actors but they were great admirers of each other.) Quinn again won Best Supporting Actor playing painter Paul Gauguin Lust for Life (1956) which at the time was the shortest on-screen time to win an acting Oscar. The following year came was a Best Actor nomination for George Cukor's Wild Is the Wind (1957). As he did throughout his career, Quinn rarely hesitated to take work whereever he found it, which resulted in dozens of potboilers like Seven Cities of Gold (1955) but also a few cult favorites like Budd Boetticher's The Magnificent Matador (1955). It was a trip to Italy that brought Quinn one of his most acclaimed roles: a simple-minded circus strongman in Federico Fellini's La Strada (1954). Quinn directed his only film in 1958, The Buccaneer, a commercial failure he later attributed to producer Cecil DeMille's interference. Towards the end of that decade he appeared in Nicholas Ray's The Savage Innocents (1959) as an Eskimo, inspiring Bob Dylan to write "Quinn the Eskimo" (a Top Ten hit for Manfred Mann in 1968). In 1965, his relationship with an Italian costumer created a minor scandal when it was revealed that the couple had two children. Quinn divorced DeMille's daughter and married the costumer.
He continued the same mix of classics and best-forgotten quickies throughout the 1960s and '70s. A key role in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) only confirmed his talents while he again earned a Best Actor nomination for the unforgettable lead role in Zorba the Greek (1964). The gritty crime drama Across 110th Street (1972) is one of the best American movies of its decade, enhanced by Quinn's turn as an embattled police captain. Quinn was a pope in The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968), an Islamic leader in The Message (1976), a thinly disguised Aristotle Onassis in The Greek Tycoon (1978) and an assortment of gangsters, con men, military leaders and what have you. The rest of his career might be summed up by the year 1991 when he gathered critical acclaim for his appearance in Spike Lee's Jungle Fever, was nominated for a Razzie as Worst Actor in Mobsters, co-starred with Bo Derek in Ghosts Can't Do It, worked beside John Candy and Macaulay Culkin in Chris Columbus' Only the Lonely and made a film so obscure it appears to have never appeared on video. Quinn married his third wife in 1997; they had one son. He had just completed the title role in Avenging Angelo (with Sylvester Stallone) at the time of his death.
By Lang Thompson
TCM Remembers - Carroll O'Connor
Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?- Oddball
Crazy! I mean like so many positive waves maybe we can't lose! You're on!- Oddball
To a New Yorker like you, a hero is some sort of weird sandwich, not some nut that takes on three tigers.- Oddball
If I hear any more threats against the Captain's life, or any more rumors about going down to headquarters and assassinating the General, or raping the nurses at the field hospital, I'm going to strangle the guy with my bare hands! Got it?- Big Joe
A Sherman tank can give you an... edge.- Oddball
Director Brian G. Hutton was forced to make a number of cuts to suit the then MGM boss James Aubrey.
'Sutherland, Donald' became seriously ill during filming on location in Yugoslavia.
John Landis was a production assistant on this film. He appears as an extra. (He was one of the three nuns.)
Mike Curb, who wrote the lyrics to the "Kelly's Heroes" theme song "Burning Bridges," served as lieutenant governor of California between 1978 and 1982.
The movie was mainly filmed in Yugoslavia, because the Yugoslavian army had still a large quantity of Sherman tanks in 1970
Location scenes filmed in Yugoslavia. The working title of this film is The Warriors.
Released in United States Winter January 1, 1970
Released in United States June 1970
Released in USA on video.
Released in United States Winter January 1, 1970
Released in United States June 1970