Them There Bastards, They're Inglorious

Quentin Tarantino has made some of the greatest films this Bug has ever seen. Reservoir Dogs is a modern classic, Pulp Fiction changed cinema forever, Jackie Brown (my personal fave) brought back Pam Grier and was the best interpretation of Elmore Lenoard's work, From Dusk til Dawn was a great vampire thrill ride, and the Kill Bill movies paid homage to martial arts flicks and revenge movies in a whole new way. At this point he's earned his wings to do whatever he wants to do, and what he wants to do is go back to the homage barrel and pull out today's film. It'll probably be great, and the Bug will be flying down from the moon as fast as I can to see it. Sometimes though (often really if you look at the track record on remakes.) its better to leave well enough alone and let the original stand on its own.

Inglorious Bastards (1977) starring Bo Stevenson, Fred Williamson, Peter Hooten, Jackie Basehart, and Michael Pergolani. Directed by Enzo G. Castellari.

The movie opens in 1944 with a group of military prisoner being loaded up to be tried and sentenced, but on its way its attacked and the prisoners escape from both the German air strike and the guards who are shooting at them. We meet Tony (Hooten) a formally mobbed up Chicagoan, Nick (Pergolani) a klepto and forger, Burl (Basehart) a deserter, Fred (Fred Williamson of Black Cesar fame), and Lt. Yeager (Bo Stevenson, best known at the time for being in the Walking Tall sequels). They team up and escape with a plan to make for the Swiss border and get out of the war and away from their fates.

They find shelter in a barn, and while there find a German deserter, Adolf, in the hayloft. Seems he's tired of the war as well and all the Germans getting killed, and he agrees with a little convincing from Fred and his machine gun, Baby, to be their guide. So naturally what happens, they immediately get captured by a German convoy which they only manage to escape because the Allies start bombing it. They steal a German truck and get on their way. The next scene is a nice distraction as it features naked chicks with machine guns, but then they finally find some safety in a cave. All is well until a group of Germans come to check out their truck. They send Adolf out to talk to them and smooth things over, and when he turns around and cries "Americans, Americans" they think they've been ratted out. They don't seem to notice the Germans gunning him down. The Bastards mow down the Germans only to get surrounded by members of the French resistance. Seems the troops they just killed were a American strike force who were traveling incognito as Germans to hook up with the French for a mission. The French assume the Bastards are the team and take them back to their base.

The guys get some time to relax in camp as they away the arrival of Corneal Buckner who is in charge of the mission. There's a couple of good scenes here with Tony and Fred, and one where Nick tries to sell some merchandise to the French, but finds the only English they speak is the dirty words. Funny that's the only French I speak. Eventually, Buckner arrives and finds his team is not there, but the Bastards instead. Yeager tries to make a deal with him to do the mission in trade for their freedom, but he refuses so they take him captive and leave the camp. Once they leave, they decide they need some wheels and go to a German SS base to try and get a car. The Germans say they will give them a car, but they take their prisoners, Buckner and Fred. The Bastards leap into action and spring their two friends in a very entertaining action sequence. Buckner is so grateful he offers the Bastards the mission which is to board a train and disarm a new kind of missile that the Germans have been developing.

All the train action scenes as Yeager and Buckner pose as German rocket scientists are great. The other Bastards all have their own jobs and their scenes are great as well. I have to especially point out Nick who is kind of played like a Italian Harpo Marx as having the best part of the climactic part of the flick. It's a great end with tons of gun battles, explosions, and fistfights that all leads to a satisfying and awesome climax.

Inglorious Bastards plays to the best in the vein of The Dirty Dozen and Von Ryan's Express mixed with some of the humor evident in the lighter moments of Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name movies. Its evident throughout why Quentin loved and was influenced by this film. From the snappy dialog to the action goodness, it's right up his alley. However, its such a great film in the genre that its hard for me to think a remake would be better. From what I understand QT's version is not going to be a direct remake but taking bit and pieces from it and all the other war films bouncing around in his head. Personally, I can't recommend this movie enough, and I urge anyone who thinks they'll be going to see the new version to check this out in advance. It has recently been released in a shiny new 2 disk version that includes a conversation between QT and Bastard's director Castellari. Watching QT talk about movies always makes me tired though and even thinking about it is making me tired right now. So check it out moonies tell them the Bug sent you.

1 comment:

  1. i`ve never seen "the inglorious bastards" so i cant comment on it, however i would just like to say that quentin tarantino is a load of old rubbish and so are his films, he is such a ludicrously out-moded film maker, he would have been much better off back in the thirtys making films with jimmy cagney and edward g. robinson, and since when did it mean a film was good just because the f-word is used 200 times during its 90 minute running time, as far as i`m concerned that is pathetic and laughable.


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