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In war-torn Europe, a ragtag group of American soldiers are in the process of being shipped off to military prison for a variety of infractions, ranging from desertion to murder. While they're being transported, a German artillery attack hits them, enabling four of the prisoners to escape. Liberated, the group, led by Lt. Robert Yeager (Bo Svenson) and Pvt Fred Canfield (Fred Williamson), decides to head for neutral Switzerland; but their escape plans are dashed when they find themselves signed up for a deadly commando mission for a French Underground team led by Veronique (Michel Constantin). But things get even hairier when Col. Charles Buckner (Ian Bannen) arrives and realizes that a serious mistake has been made.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
What are 10 naked women frolicking in the streams of a river doing in a film like this? Having fun, like we all are, in the war escape adventure that attracted Quentin Tarantino's interest for a 2009 remake. Enzo G. Castellari has forged an entertaining 'old school' war drama in which enemy extras are shot with pinpoint accuracy, a slingshot can immobilise a German soldier and death only registers if it's one of the key characters. But the main objective of delivering escapist action and thrills - and the occasional moment of humour or fun (eg naked women) - is pursued with serious intent.

All the performances are solid, with special mention for Peter Hooten as Tony, the edgy actor with the memorable eyes, and the entertaining and amusing Michael Pergolani as Nick, the man with a gift for collecting useful gizmos.

Packed with adventure and derring do, this B film from the 70s is a great example of mass entertainment without the heavy weight of an overblown budget or overpaid stars, delivering the type of show that would make Saturday afternoons pass so painlessly in our local cinemas. Those were the days ....

In the extras, Quentin Tarantino has a chat with director Enzo G. Castellari. The fascinating thing about this chat is that it takes place right towards the end of Tarantino finishing the screenplay for his own version, gently re-titled Inglourious Basterds (In Australian cinemas August 20, 2009.) It's even before casting, and Tarantino sets up the real possibility that the original story might not be replicated in his version. He just started with the same idea - but may not finish with it. And it shows Tarantino's endless enthusiasm and his expansive style of conversation, not to mention interest in cinematic detail.

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(Italy, 1978)

Quel maledetto treno blindato

CAST: Bo Svenson, Peter Hooten, Fred Williamson, Michael Pergolani, Jackie Baseheart, Michel Constantin, Debra Berger, Raimund Harmstorf, Ian Bennan, Joshua Sinclair, Mike Morris

PRODUCER: Roberto Sbarigia

DIRECTOR: Enzo G. Castellari

SCRIPT: Sandro Continenz, Sergio Grieco, Franco Marotta, Romano Migliorini, Laura Toscano

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Giovanni Bergamini

EDITOR: Gianfranco Amicucci

MUSIC: Francesco De Masi

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Pier Luigi Basile, Aurelio Crugnola

OTHER: Rocco Lerro (stunt co-ordinator)

RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes

PRESENTATION: 16:9; mono

SPECIAL FEATURES: Conversation between Quentin Tarantino and Enzo G. Castellari; theatrical trailer; English subtitles


DVD RELEASE: August 5, 2009

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