Toward the end of World War II, a small company of American GI's occupy an ancient castle. Their commander has an affair with the countess in resident. One guy falls in love with a Volkswagon. A baker among them moves in with another baker's wife. A group of shell shocked holy rollers wander the bombed out streets. A GI art historian tries vainly to protect the castle and its masterpieces.
During the Battle of the Bulge, an anachronistic count shelters a ragtag squad of Americans in his isolated castle hoping they will defend it against the advancing Germans.
Castle Keep, directed by Sydney Pollack and adapted to screenplay by Daniel Taradash and David Rayfiel from the novel written by William Eastlake. Starring Burt Lancaster, Bruce Dern, Patrick O'Neal, Jean-Pierre Aumont and Peter Falk. Music is by Michel Legrand and cinematography by Henri Decae.
Ambitious for sure, intriguing even, but ultimately a misfiring piece of pretentious tosh! An endgame allegory that finds Lancaster in WWII leading the defence of a medieval castle and its art collection against the German hordes. The action when it comes is savage and colourful, and Lancaster's one eyed Major is good fun, it's just everything else is masquerading as a near hallucinogenic anti-war movie mixed with euro pontifications. There's some war is hell messages in the mix desperately trying to get out, either as satire or serious (it's really hard to tell), but this is ultimately faux-art and painful to sit through until the explosions mercifully grace the last quarter of picture. 3/10 kellyadmirer of Colorado Springs/NYC has the best review for this film. I wanted to say what this person has so eloquently written, but I couldn't find the words to describe the concepts and feelings this film was trying to get across.
I like this film. I think the craving for non conflict on the part of the characters is appropiate, meaningful, and moving. For myself this is a quintessential anti-war film. Even so, as kellyadmirer has pointed out, there's a point to be driven home about conflict, and Lancaster's character does a superb job of conveying that.
My only criticism of this film is the mid 1960-ish pop flute music. I could never abide that stuff :-) And I still can't. I would've preferred a classical score for, what feels to me, like a classical film. And on the note of sound the track is monaural, so there's certainly a dated feel to the film when listening to the dialogue and music. Hopefully that can be cleaned up in a DVD rerelease, and presumably a letterbox presentation.
The film examines all political positions on conflict from an emotional point of view. It tabulates the sum, and presents the results with no apology, as is appropiate.
The film drags every so often, but not too much. I think some of this is due to some of the popular film making techniques used at the time. Those added to some traditional shots make for a unique viewing experience, but the novelty wears off after the first viewing.
The action sequences are good, the actors do well, and the overall blend of talent works in this film. Whether you're pro or anti war, or just don't know, or just don't care, do yourself a favor and see this film at least one time. a5c7b9f00b
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