The Night of the Generals - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Night of the Generals Reviews

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January 11, 2017
Not quite as spectacular as it aims to be, especially with all these stars (O'Toole, Sharif, Pleasance, Courtenay), but this tale of the murder of a prostitute by a high-ranking Nazi general held my attention all the way through. Director Anatole Litvak (a refugee from earlier golden days) wants to counterpoint the murder of masses that generals oversee with the individual pathology that leads to brutal personal murders (and which might self-justify both) but it doesn't entirely hold together. O'Toole is chilly and rather bizarre as one of the suspected generals, Sharif has too little to do but is charismatic doing it, Pleasance brings his character actor skills, but Courtenay more than holds his own with a naturalness that seems a little jarring amidst all this star power. Philippe Noiret is solid in a bit part as an Interpol investigator who attempts to solve the murder decades later after Sharif has failed to do it (he plays a major in the "internal affairs" branch). Perhaps meant to compete or echo the David Lean epics of the era, Night of the Generals falls a bit short, feeling flatter despite its sweep across settings (Warsaw, Paris, Hamburg) and time. Perhaps it is a nagging sense of unreality, that the war and its grave consequences are being ignored (despite the focus on comparing large and small atrocities), that keeps this from hitting home? Or perhaps it is all too pat, with a "twist" at the end returning to tie up all of the loose ends that was much too easily spotted? At any rate, it is what it is - a not unpleasant time-waster that wants to be more.
½ January 13, 2016
The murder of a prostitute in German-occupied Warsaw in 1942 causes Abwehr Major Grau (Omar Sharif) to start an investigation, as she was also a German agent. His evidence soon points to the killer being one of three German general officers: General von Seydlitz-Gabler (Charles Gray); General Kahlenberg (Donald Pleasence), his chief of staff; and General Tanz (Peter O'Toole). Grau's investigation, however, is cut short by his summary transfer to Paris at the instigation of these officers. The case in Warsaw remains closed until all three officers meet in Paris in July 1944. Paris is then a hotbed of intrigue, with senior Wehrmacht officers plotting to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Kahlenberg is deeply involved in the plot, while von Seydlitz-Gabler is aware of its existence but is sitting on the fence, awaiting the outcome. Tanz is unaware of the plot and remains totally loyal to the Führer. Soon enough another prostitute is murdered and Major Grau establishes that once again all 3 generals - Tanz, Kahlenberg and von Seydlitz-Gabler are all in Paris on the night of the murder. Major Grau sees a new opportunity to continue his investigation
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.
November 1, 2015
WOW......WOW.....WOW.....WOW.....WOW.....STUNNING......FANTASTIC.....AMAZING......I HAVE JUST SEEN THIS MOVIE 4 THE 1ST TIME N THINK THAT THIS IS SUCH A STUNNING MOVIE 2 WATCH.....its got a great cast of actors/actresses throughout this movie.....I think that omar sharif (.R.I.P.), tom Courtenay, peter o toole (.R.I.P.), Donald Pleasence (.R.I.P.), play good roles/parts throughout this movie......I think that the director of this drama/mystery/suspense/classics movie had done a great job of directing this movie because you never know what 2 expect throughout this movie.....I think that this is such a stunningly beautifully directed movie 2 watch.......WARNING THIS MOVIE CONTAINS STROBE LIGHTNING EFFECTS THROUGHOUT THIS MOVIE.........its got such a brilliant cast throughout this movie......

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.......
½ August 7, 2015
An overstuffed turkey. A waste of 2 and a half hour despite some of the talent involved. Peter O'Toole not as his best.
July 24, 2015
Very much underrated as far as I'm concerned. Superb performances by Sharif, O'Toole, and Pleasence make it one of my all-time favorites.
January 4, 2015
There are a lot of good features in this film, but unfortunately in the end the question becomes 'what is the point?' The basic plot is that a prostitute was murdered by one of three German generals and the local Abwehr officer must determine which one. The mystery aspect is played out well until the answer is revealed to the audience quite blatantly, at which point a traditional film would end. Instead, the film takes about twenty or thirty minutes as certain characters trace out what we already know through sources we already understand. There are other mysteries as well. A great deal of the film is set around the July 20 plot to assassinate Hitler. But this too is a mystery that is quite openly explained to us along with who is involved. So where is the drama supposed to come from?

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.
½ December 26, 2014
Astounding interpretations and a very well developed intrigue
March 9, 2014
Large, Complicated Scenes Play Out On True-To Real Events Polish Locations. Along With Big Name Actors You'd Think This Would Be A Hit..Nah-uh! ..The Story Is Long & Excessive At Times, The German 'Accents' Non-Existant & The Overall Direction Of The Film Just Gets Lost In Places..It Held Potential..But Fails.
December 22, 2013
O'Toole and Sharif utter lines like these with absolutely straight faces in what is ostensibly about the generals' plot to assassinate Hitler.
December 9, 2013
i have heard it is a great show , all time fame
September 22, 2013
A forgotten film of little interest to most people. Anatole Litvak made many effective films in the WWII era, one of them being Confessions of a Nazi Spy, but dare I say, that Litvak's strong suit was never structure. This film meanders across Nazi-occupied Europe for the first half, then bare-repenant West Germany in the second half. What probably wreck the film is that Omar Sharif's Maj. Grau is killed before he gets started. Peter O'Toole's performance easily overwhelms all others in this film, another example of how his performance in Lawrence of Arabia cast him adrift into the dying world of epic films (c.f. Lord Jim). Some striking scenes of Nazi atrocities with O'Toole in command.
July 6, 2013
Set in Nazi occupied Poland and France, a Nazi military investogator looks for the murderer of a prostitute, his prime suspects being three Nazi generals. The perspective of Nazis during the Second World War is unorthodox, the storyline intriguing though sometimes confusing and the cast is top notch. Peter O'Tool, with his portrayal of a decadent maniacal Nazi general is nothing short of haunting.
½ February 3, 2013
Rarely is the gap between a good idea and the finished movie so enormous as it is with Night of the Generals, which is pretty much a shambles from start to finish. The film opens in Nazi-occupied Warsaw, in December 1942, when an anonymous general is accidentally spotted after he's foully murdered a prostitute. Omar Sharif is hopelessly miscast as a truth-seeking German colonel on the trail of the killer. There are three suspects: a general with a hectoring wife, a quiet nervous general, and Peter O'Toole as General Tanz, a psychotic neat freak whose idea of fun is to set fire to a city block with flamethrowers and then have heavy tanks blow up the remaining buildings (historical note: there were in fact no Tiger tanks in Warsaw in December 1942). Now remember, this is supposed to be a mystery. So who might the guilty man be: General Henpecked, General Nervous, or General Completely Freaking Insane? I know who my money is on, even at this early stage. Just as Sharif is getting somewhere he is mysteriously transferred to Paris and oddly accepts the posting, rather than sticking it out and tracking down the murderer.

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.
½ January 6, 2013
Sharif and O Toole together 5 years after Lawrence
December 16, 2012
A nice crime caper that centers around the Valkyrie conspiracy during WWII def see this before you go and see the Tom Cruise movie that is being filmed at the moment, if not just to see Peter O Toole and Omar Sharif in their prime
November 14, 2012
This movie was available to see on BBC iPlayer so, as usual, I checked other viewers' reviews to see if it was worth watching. The reviews were wildly enthusiastic so I watched it but it was so bad I wonder what movie those other people were raving about.

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.
October 22, 2012
Peter O'Toole's character in this movie was by far the most evil I've ever seen in my life.
October 9, 2012
'The Night of the Generals' features an array of good performances, but halfway through it gets somewhat dragged out and over-long.
September 20, 2012
Natseja, Varsova, Peter O'Toole, mitä muuta voi enää elokuvalta toivoa?
½ March 20, 2012
A remarkable film with a remarkable set of performances by a stellar cast. The scenes where General Tanz "connects" with Van Gogh's final self portrait explain eloquently the purpose of art.
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