The Night of the Generals Reviews
after the killer...
I reckon I have browsed pass "The Night Of The Generals" but never seen it and what a treat it was to get to see it. The film is an excellent murder mystery full of intrigue and suspense set against the backdrop of World War II. And I love the fact that the story incorporates historical fact with fiction. The horrifying cleansing of the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto and the infamous bomb plot to kill Hitler are both part of the story which adds many strong layers to the film. 5 years after "Lawrence of Arabia" Omar Sharif and Peter O'Toole star against each other again and they are equally magnificent in "The Night Of The Generals". Peter O'Toole manages to own every scene he is in and in some scenes he doesn´t say anything but yet says so much with just his facial expression and movements. True method acting in action. A fine performance. Rest in peace Mr. O'Toole. Great title sequence and excellent production design with clothes, tanks, vehicles, weapons etc. And it´s been nicely shot both in Warzaw and Paris. I would say that this is one of the greater WWII movies from the 60´s in my book. Can´t really understand that "The Night Of The Generals" seems to be less known as other WWII classics from the same era as it belongs up there on the top shelf.
the whole cast is::
Peter O'Toole as General Tanz
Omar Sharif as Major (Lieutenant Colonel) Grau
Tom Courtenay as Lance Corporal Hartmann
Donald Pleasence as General Kahlenberge
Joanna Pettet as Ulrike von Seydlitz-Gabler
Philippe Noiret as Inspector Morand
Charles Gray as General von Seydlitz-Gabler
Coral Browne as Eleonore von Seydlitz-Gabler
John Gregson as Colonel Sandauer
Nigel Stock as Sergeant Otto Köpke
Christopher Plummer as Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
Juliette Gréco as Juliette
Yves Brainville as Liesowski
Sacha Pitoëff as Doctor
Charles Millot as Wionczek
Raymond Gerome as Colonel in War Room
Véronique Vendell as Monique
Pierre Mondy as Kopatski
Eléonore Hirt as Melanie
Nicole Courcel as Raymonde
Jenny Orleans as Otto's wife
Gérard Buhr as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg
Michael Goodliffe as Hauser
Gordon Jackson as Captain Engel
Patrick Allen as Colonel Mannheim
Harry Andrews as General Karl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel
The musical score was composed by Maurice Jarre. Much of the film was shot in Warsaw, which was exceptionally rare for a major Western film at the height of the Cold War
I think that this is such a thrilling enjoyable movie 2 watch, it is such a fantastically well written/acted/directed movie 2 watch, its got such a fantastic cast throughout this movie I think that this is such a fantastic classics movie 2 watch with a great cast throughout this movie.......
If it's not a mystery then what is it? A large part of the film seems to be a character study of General Tanz (O'Toole's character). It is complicated somewhat by the fact that Tanz is kinda a dick who never really talks about himself. Most scenes with him are just him being driven around Paris being antisocial. It's not very exciting. Omar Shariff's Major Grau is somewhat interesting as the man pursuing the murderer, but despite his importance to the plot he has little screen time at all. The film doesn't know what it wants to be so it's never really anything at all.
The film, which has a distressing habit of flicking forward to the 1960s for no obvious reason, then switches to July 1944, when Generals Henpecked and Nervous are in Paris and learn to their distress that Crazy Man Tanz is also about to arrive. Tanz, supposedly a teetotaller, drinks like a fish in the back seat of his car as he tours Paris and pays not one but two visits to an art gallery where he seems curiously obsessed by a Van Gogh self-portrait showing the painter in obviously deranged mood. Tanz is unable to control himself when he sees this work and has a mini-collapse each time. Later he looks at himself in the mirror, adopts the same crazed look as Van Gogh did, and then breaks the glass. So, are there any doubts who the killer is? In fact there aren't, because he picks up a French prostitute, butchers her, and pins the blame on his driver.
At this point you're wondering what on earth the point of the film is and where the mystery might be. But wait, there's more! General Nervous is a ring-leader of the plot to kill Hitler and presses General Henpecked to join the gang. At this moment the film loses all sense of direction or coherence and turns into a pastiche comedy like The Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines, an overlong big budget talent-studded farce that came out two years earlier in 1965. For no apparent reason we lurch deep into Operation Valkyrie, the plot to kill Hitler, and watch as a bomb fails to kill the dictator in his bunker. The plotters in Paris move to arrest various pro-Fuhrer elements and send off a column to apprehend Tanz. Sharif, who has been unwisely fraternising with the French resistance, knew of the plan to kill Hitler but did nothing. When he learns of Tanz's imminent arrest, though, he jumps in his jeep, easily overtakes the column (which for all the urgency it's showing might as well be a brass band out on its annual picnic), and confronts Tanz with the accusation that he is the killer.
Sadly, there is quite a bit more. The film continues and ends quite ridiculously. O'Toole gives one of his worst performances and must surely have been in it for the money, Sharif hasn't a hope with his part and accomplished actors such as Tom Courtenay and Donald Pleasance (and others) are totally wasted. This is a lazy film with a truly horrible script and utterly inept direction. I'm glad I had the flu when I watched it because otherwise I would rather have resented the two and a half hours it ate up.
Reading the cast list, I licked my lips. But none of the actors had anything to do in this movie. They all sleep-walk through it giving what must be the most unmemorable performances of their lives. What a waste of talented actors! Peter O'Toole plays 'mad' like a complete ham - I was embarrassed to watch him. Omar Sharif talks his lines instead of acting them. Donald Pleasence gives us his usual stuff which we have seen time and time again in all his movies. Tom Courtenay just looks bilious and bored whether he is supposed to be in love, framed for murder or engaged in office routine. I can't even recall the actresses they were so bad. Oh, and, Christopher Plummer has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene before being blown up.
The plot synopsis sounds like it could have been a fascinating psychological thriller but the reality is as dull as ditch-water - neither thrills nor psychological insight. All the characters are presented in the same two-dimensions, there is no reason to care about any of them, and I just spent my time wishing them to finish sleep-walking through each scene and get it over with. The war, the conspiracy, the murders, the family drama, the 'love interest' should have provided something to hook my attention but not one of these not-quite inter-woven strands of the movie was even competently presented. The script makes you wince. The camera work is leaden. The director has no finesse al all.
I only managed to stay awake through the apparently eternal duration of this film by making dinner and playing on the floor with my budgie while this movie droned on in the background. I gave it one star because I did not in the end gnaw off my own feet but believe me that was only because I had eaten dinner and couldn't face another bite. This is one of those movies that should have been drowned at birth and by the looks of it probably was. Avoid this water-sodden corpse and do yourself a favour.