Play Dirty Reviews

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rubystevens
Super Reviewer
December 8, 2010
tougher, grittier and just better than 'the dirty dozen.' probably one of the best final films in any director's career
flixsterman
Super Reviewer
January 22, 2009
A politely edgy offering from director Andre De Toth, featuring the indomitable Mr. Michael Caine.
terris85017
Super Reviewer
½ May 13, 2010
Multiple Directors including Andre De Toth, Bernard Archard & Briget Espeet) This movie has an interesting twist ending. A pair (Michael Caine only along because of his petroleum interests) + a British Solider (Nigel Davenport) reluctantly accompanies Caine through the Sahara desert, changing identities (+ uniforms) to blend in. Guess I missed that this was set during WW II?! More review to follow
July 13, 2009
A loony colonel, who doesn't mind sending his men off to their deaths to prove a point, comes up with a plan to blow up Rommel's fuel supply in Northern Africa (based on centuries old warfare). His backstabbing superior sends the colone's team first, and then, without telling the colonel, sends a heavily armed and supplied unit a day behind them. Michael Caine plays the fish out of water captain who vies constantly for command of the colonel's group with his sergeant (Nigel Davenport). Ill-informed, ill-equipped, and in command of half a dozen criminals and misfits, Caine's group does all the hard work while the other outfit (that Caine's group is unaware of) receives all the credit, including the bombing of Rommel's fuel. Not a single man survives to tell the tale.
February 16, 2009
Another great, tragically over-looked and forgotten war film from the 60s. "Play Dirty" is aptly titled as it features the most unheroic heroes who have no qualms whatsoever about doing whatever they can to a) survive and b) make a little money in the process. The beginning and ending are truly memorable indictments on the stupidity of war and fallacy of the Second World War as being The Good War where only the righteous prevailed.
January 1, 2008
A much too rare movie with a fantastic cast. Certainly the best action movie about desert action during WWII. It is witty and thrilling, I loved it.
½ December 10, 2013
At the time of release this film must have been a new benchmark.
It is a gritty, critical and cynical look on the futility of war.
The story is told in a slow pace and really brings home the tedium and toil involved in the kind of warfare it portrays.
Great effort has been made to get the look and feel of the period correct and is any war buff's delight.
Acting is underplayed and must have been really chilling at the time and Sean Connery's Bond seems almost goofy in comparison.
The storyline, however, drops this film in the very dry african dust. Many of the characters and scenes are so superflous that large chunks of the film can simply be cut with no loss whatsoever to the final conclusion. It is almost as if the filmmaker tried to strech 20 minutes of film script into a full length feature. One scene, a failed rape attempt, underlines this problem. It carries no dialog, no music, almost no sound and contributes nothing to the story. One feels it has only been included for the shock value it carried at the time the film was released.
In the end one feels that this film is just as futile and worthless as the whole process of war it tries to criticize.

Today there are other films that comment on war a lot better. Watch if you are interested in Jeeps, Trucks and uniforms from WW2. (Very little else) Avoid if you want to see anything with any real content or commentary.
July 11, 2013
Cain, and the rest of the cast are great! They also pull off one heck of a finale
May 27, 2013
I generally like Michael Cain so when I saw that he was in this movie I became interested enough to watch it yesterday on Cine+ Classic. Well, Michael Cain was making a good performance in it but that was pretty much the only good thing about the movie. It starts of pretty promising but as soon as the actual mission starts it all goes downhill.

Both Michael Cain and Nigel Davenport make good performances in the roles they were given. The rest are mostly there to fill up the scenes. The movie blurb makes references to the Dirty Dozen and that is really an insult to that movie. Most of the team are simply incompetent. Leech, the so called expert starts of by screwing them into losing one of their trucks as well as a lot of equipment by pure spite and incompetence.

Colonel Masters is a snivelling wimp when confronted with his superiors who in turn are career-focused assholes.

The two Arabs that are supposed to portray homosexuals are just embarrassing. When everyone else is concentrated on defusing the booby trap these two just wander about stealing things until they trip another booby trap and one of them gets blown up. That was just stupid.

Also, why the bloody hell is everyone standing around sweating and why is Captain Douglas keeping his hand on the bloody jack when it is clear that it is a simple mechanical wire to an explosive device and you would have to actually pull at the jack and thus the wire to make it go off. That entire scene was so we-think-the-audience-are-too-stupid-to-notice-that-this-is-crap.

The film pretty much continues with such nonsense and then it comes to the end. I cannot say much without introducing a huge spoiler but...what a load of utter crap! After having watched through the entire movie you get this ending as a final insult.

The only reason this movie got any stars at all is because of Michael Cain.
½ September 4, 2012
Play Dirty is a victim of its own plot. There aren't many films that benefit from a sudden change in direction two thirds of the way through, and this is not one of them. What starts as a straight forward mission of war, with some interesting sub plots, becomes more a comment on the nature of war itself, and as a result the film loses its hold and becomes tedious.
There's some great performances from Davenport and Caine, whose characters' ambiguous natures add an initial spark of intrigue and unpredictability to the first hour. Once the film changes direction though, all interest in said characters is lost, as this rudderless ship runs, or should I say heaves itself, onto the rocks of apathy.
It is a real shame to see such promise go to waste, especially after investing, and even enjoying, an hour of unconventional, gripping and very well shot action. As an editor, I was very impressed with the cut of the film, specifically the action scenes.

If the final cut reflects what was originally scripted, the question has to be asked as to why the writers waited so long to inject the social commentary? Was there interference from the studio, was it a sign of the times, did the writers get bored or suddenly adopt a moral stand? Whatever the reason for the film's failure, it's worth noting that rather than simply label it as a bad film, I focus on what it could have been.
½ September 4, 2012
Play Dirty is a victim of its own plot. There aren't many films that benefit from a sudden change in direction two thirds of the way through, and this is not one of them. What starts as a straight forward mission of war, with some interesting sub plots, becomes more a comment on the nature of war itself, and as a result the film loses its hold and becomes tedious.
There's some great performances from Davenport and Caine, whose characters' ambiguous natures add an initial spark of intrigue and unpredictability to the first hour. Once the film changes direction though, all interest in said characters is lost, as this rudderless ship runs, or should I say heaves itself, onto the rocks of apathy.
It is a real shame to see such promise go to waste, especially after investing, and even enjoying, an hour of unconventional, gripping and very well shot action. As an editor, I was very impressed with the cut of the film, specifically the action scenes.

If the final cut reflects what was originally scripted, the question has to be asked as to why the writers waited so long to inject the social commentary? Was there interference from the studio, was it a sign of the times, did the writers get bored or suddenly adopt a moral stand? Whatever the reason for the film's failure, it's worth noting that rather than simply label it as a bad film, I focus on what it could have been.
½ August 2, 2012
In the end they were expendable, just like THE DIRTY DOZEN. I'm a sucker for downer adventure war films.
½ February 20, 2012
A very realistic but grim take on the North African theater of WW2. Its a solid all around war picture that i think has been overlooked but it is not without flaws. Outside of the 2 leads, little is known about the other characters in the film. The pacing can be slow at times and the lack of action may be a turn off to sum. This is more of a social statement type of war film that is attempting to show the futility of war. Still I enjoyed the film but I would only recommend it to fans of the genre.
½ November 6, 2011
Do to the ending, I was forced to subtract half a star. I mean, what the heck! "I didn't see the white flag"
"Well... don't do it again!"
I understand that this type of stuff happened, but that's no way to off the great Michael Caine!
November 6, 2011
Terrible! This was THE WORST movie I have ever seen! The acting was poor and the plot was even worse.
½ November 6, 2011
The superb Michael Caine returns in a World War II movie that doesn't seem overplayed.
August 6, 2011
Michael Cain Rules !!
January 25, 2011
A grim, spare men-on-a-mission WW2 adventure that sugarcoats nothing. The comic relief is even uncomfortably dark. Highly recommended.
½ January 14, 2011
A war-behind-the-war movie that was ahead of it's time, and modern war films seem to borrow liberally from Play Dirty. Michael Caine and Nigel Green had some tense on-screen chemistry.
½ December 8, 2010
Dramatic and at times exciting World War II tale of action in North Africa. (see my photo blog of the film) German legend Rommel is over extended and needing fuel, Michael Caine is sent with a band of losers who play dirty (hence the title). He is put in charge of a rag tag group of British and local soldiers to blow up a German fuel depot miles away and in rough terrain.

Along the way, the group has encounters with the enemy, bad sand storms, enormous physical terrain obsticals and bad relations between Caine and the group. Still, a seemingly crazy mission benefits from Caine's leadership.

The time it takes for the mission to travel to their target plus obsticals along the way causes a plot twist at the end which in reality probably happened often due to poor communication at the time.

Pretty well filmed, the soundtrack curiously and annoyingly uses the group's radio to play British, American, Italian and German hits of the day.

A decent watch for modern war film buffs and fans of Michael Caine in particular, a fine performance early in his career. Famous composer Michel LaGrand does the soundtrack.

For some good studio still photos, go to my blog about the film.



Cast
Harry Andrews
Michael Caine
Nigel Green


Crew
Screenplay: Melvyn Bragg
Director: Andre De Toth
Screenplay: Lotte Colin
Composer: Michel Legrand
Art Director: Thomas N. Morahan
Story by: George Marton
Producer: Harry Saltzman
Art Director: Maurice Pelling
Cinematographer: Edward Scaife
Editor: Jack Slade
Art Director: Elven Webb
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