Another sweeping war epic from my past, along with Waterloo and Zulu, this one introduced me to the “stiff upper lip” Brit. Unlike those films, this picture just doesn’t hold up at all. Directed by Guy Hamilton (who had a much better time of it with four Bond films), the film is overly reliant on air battles that perhaps seemed impressive at the time, but now, are flat, difficult to comprehend (you rarely know which character is in which plane) and without drama. Worse, what happens on the ground is remarkably staid and uninvolving.
It is, however, loaded with the cream of British actors (Michael Caine, Michael Redgrave, Ralph Richardson, Trevor Howard, Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer, Edward Fox and Robert Shaw, to name a few), and of particular note, it features a strikingly handsome Ian McShane, who aged into the craggy, rough Al Swearengen of Deadwood. You can see what Emmanuelle’s Sylvia Kristal saw in him.