Production Company: Metro Goldwyn Mayer/ Winkast Film Productions
Studio: MGM/ Warner Brothers
Cast: Richard Burton as Maj. Jonathan Smith, MC, Clint Eastwood as Lt. Morris Schaffer, Mary Ure as Mary Elison, Patrick Wymark as Col. Wyatt Turner, DSO MC, Michael Hordern as Adm. Rolland, Donald Houston as Capt. James Christiansen, Peter Barkworth as Edward Berkeley, William Squire as Capt. Philip Thomas, Robert Beatty as Gen. George Carnaby, Brook Williams as Sgt. Harrod, Neil McCarthy as Sgt. Jock MacPherson, Vincent Ball as Carpenter, Anton Diffring as SS-Standartenführer Kramer, Ferdy Mayne as Gen. Rosemeyer and Derren Nesbitt as SS-Sturmbandführer Von Hapen
Crew: Brian G. Hutton (director); Alistair MacLean (story and writer); Dennis Holt (associate producer); Elliott Kastner (producer); Jerrry Gershwin (executive producer)
In 1944, during World War 2, a British aircraft is shot down and crashes in Nazi held territory. The Germans capture the only survivor, an American General, and take him to the nearest SS headquarters. Unknown to the Germans, survivor has full knowledge of the impending D-Day operation.
The British decide that the General must not be allowed to divulge any details of the Normandy landing at all cost and order Major John Smith to lead a crack commando team to rescue him. Amongst the team is an American Ranger, Lieutenant Schaffer (Eastwood), who is puzzled by his inclusion in an all British operation. When one of the team dies after the parachute drop, Schaffer suspects that Smith’s mission has a much more secret objective.
At that point the action takes off and the real British operation is revealed in layers.
Film Fetish trivia:
The driving force behind the film was Richard Burton’s son, who wanted to see his father in a good old-fashioned adventure movie.
The scenes where Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood climb the fortress walls, Burton moves with ease, while Eastwood is clearly working hard physically. Burton, who was a hard-drinker and out-of-shape by then, chose to ride a crane up the wall, which was made invisible by special effects. However, the young, healthy Eastwood was actually climbing the wall.
An accident during one of the action scenes left producer Elliott Kastner and director Brian G. Hutton badly burnt.
Clint Eastwood relunctantly received second billing to Burton, and this was his first major role.
Eastwood was paid $800,000 for the role.
The "Schloss Adler" is actually the Schloss Hohenwerfen in Austria. There are no cable cars at Schloss Hohenwerfen. The cable car shooting is done at another location.
The thriller, diller of action movies.
One weekend Major Smith, Lieutenant Schaffer and a beautiful blonde named Mary decided to win World War II.
They dare to climb a terrifying new peak in suspense… all the way up to hell!
These people work for the military. First they’re going to get the enemy… then they’re going after the brass that sent them.
Websites: Turner Classic Movies page
Trailers: Various Trailers and clips
Release Dates: MARCH 12, 1969
Genre: WAR / ACTION / ADVENTURE