Monday, April 26, 2010

Inglorious Bastards, The (1978) - 3.5/5

Most people today see the title "Inglorious Bastards" and instantly think of Quentin Tarantino's recent World War II epic "Inglourious Basterds". People fail to realize that Tarantino was inspired by and barrowed the title of a little seen 1978 Macaroni Combat film.

So what's a "Macaroni Combat" film your asking? Well it's an Italian made war film that either takes place during World War II or the Vietnam War. Out of this interesting subgenre the best known and perhaps archetypal film is arguably The Inglorious Bastards.

The Inglorious Bastards...what a title! I can see easily by Tarantino loved it. That title even makes the "Dirty Dozen" walk away with their tails between their legs. Speaking of the "The Dirty Dozen", the tagline of the film proudly proclaims "whatever the Dirty Dozen did, they do it dirtier." With that tagline alone I know I am in for a grand ol' time.

However don't let the tagline fool you, this is not an A grade film like the American film "The Dirty Dozen." This is an Italian B-movie rip-off. This is what erks me about people who see the new Tarantino version and seek this original version out. These people think the original sucks and fail to have fun with it for what it is, an Italian B-movie rip-off.

Like "The Dirty Dozen", we have a bunch of Allied death row prisoners who manage to escape their prisoner transport after it gets attacked by Germans. They start to head for the Swiss border only to find themselves "volunteering" for a suicidal mission deep inside Nazi occupied France.

The cast for this film is top-notch and full of exploitation legends, most notably Fred Williams on and Bo Svenson. These guys are a hoot to watch and they keep your eyes glued to the screen. Not to mention the direction. What more can I say about the direction! Enzo G. Castellari is the action king over in Italian and he loads the film with incredible action sequences and stunts. Any time I see Castellari's name in the credits I know I'm in for a great action ride and he delivers the goods. He also inserts many moments of comedy. One of my favorite bits is when one soldier's motorcycle gets a bullet in the gas tank. Without stopping he takes some gum out of his mouth, sticks it over the hole, and keeps going. Great stuff!

The score is also great! It's like an inspirational war them with spaghetti western flavor. The score just makes the film that much more fun. The DVD edition I have even comes with the score on a bonus CD and I actually find myself listening to it quit often.

My complaints with the film are typical with Italian rip-offs. First off is the dubbing. But then again some bad dubbing can just add to the fun of the film. Another is the bad model effects. The train wreck sequence at the end just looks cheap. Again though, like the dubbing, bad model effects can also work in the films favor for entertainment value. The production values are a little laxed too and fans of American World War II cinema may find this film just looking cheap.

Overall I had a great time with The Inglorious Bastards. This film is a must for fans of Euro Cult. Fans of Tarantino's film may not like the B-movie qualities here but other than the title, it's impossible to compare them as they are COMPLETELY different. If you go into this film knowing what it is, you're probably going to have a fun time. I sure did.

Written by: Eric Reifschneider

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