“Broadsword Calling Danny Boy: Watching ‘Where Eagles Dare’ ” by Geoff Dyer
When Geoff Dyer was 10, his favorite film was “Where Eagles Dare” (1968), in which Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood lead a mission to rescue a captured English general from a German prison in the Alps. His boyhood fascination softened through the years, to be replaced, at least partially, by Dyer’s adult recognition of how nonsensical “Eagles” is.
In “Broadsword,” Dyer offers a scene-by-scene critique of his beloved film, and the result is hilarious. He shares his bafflement at the switchback reversals of the plot, punctuated aplenty by fiery explosions. The acting, too, is weird. Burton, Dyer tells us, barks orders at all other characters as though he knows he’s getting the largest paycheck. Eastwood, meanwhile, exhibits his vast lexicon of meaningful squints (Clint can even squint in German!) that stand in for dialogue. We are also treated to many entertaining Dyer tangents, such as why Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden would have made bad cinema.
So, first rent “Eagles” (streaming on Amazon). Then laugh your way through a very funny piece of analysis, compounded of love and lunacy.
TOM ZELMAN, Duluth
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