PHOTOS: The Dirty Dozen
Director Robert Aldrich was a man who seemed to love different genres of cinema. Just look at his filmography and you can see he wasn’t afraid to take on a variety of subject matter. Not only that but each time out he made classics. From his 1955 film noir Kiss Me Deadly (1955) to the hagsploitation thriller Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1964) to the survival classic Flight of the Phoenix (1965) to his World War II Men on a Mission masterpiece The Dirty Dozen (1967). The story focuses on a group of army soldiers turned convicts who have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms or death by hanging. Enter Major Reisman (Lee Marvin) a man with a plan to take these misfits out of their confinement by turning them into an elite squad whose sole purpose is a suicide mission behind enemy lines to take out several of the German high command. Of course it’s not as simple as that and after the men agree to take part, they must re-learn what they forgot as order obeying soldiers. Each of them have their own troubles, some of are plain disorderly and misguided while others are seriously mental and dangerous. The excitement and thrills actually come mostly from seeing how the men get along during their training. The explosive finale of the adventure is still regarded as one of the greatest set pieces in action movie history. All in all, The Dirty Dozen remains a mad as hell war movie that countless others have tried to copy over the years but haven’t got to that apex. The cast of stars in it are a big reason why: Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Jim Brown, Ralph Meeker, Telly Savalas, John Cassavetes, George Kennedy and Donald Sutherland. They just don’t make dudes like them anymore.
Maj. Reisman (Lee Marvin) surprises Col. Breed (Robert Ryan) and his men as they try to intimidate The Dirty Dozen.