T O'Brien | Chicago, Il United States | 02/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Play Dirty is an excellent WWII movie set in Africa that is in the mold of Tobruk and The Rat Patrol. British Colonel Masters is head of a less than elite group of commandos who has come under the wrath of his superiors. With one last chance to save his skin, Masters organizes a raid deep behind German lines to blow up a crucial German fuel depot. But part of the agreement of the mission is that a British officer or engineer with some knowledge on the subject lead Masters' commandos. Cue Captain Douglas, who immediately clashes with his second in command, Capt. Cyril Leech. Along with six convict-commandos (think Dirty Dozen), Douglas and Leech set across the African desert to blow up the fuel depot. They go up against murdering gypsies, horrific conditions, patrolling Germans, each other, and even their commanders back at headquarters. The movie builds slowly, but still entertaining, to a climax that has to be one of the biggest surprise/shocks ever made. You won't be disappointed. As well, plenty of tense, exciting action scenes, beautiful cinematography, and that fantastic ending make for a great WWII adventure.
In a subdued but still very strong performance, Michael Caine plays Capt. Douglas, the unwilling leader of the group of convict commandos trying to blow up the crucial German fuel depot. He clashes with Capt. Cyril Leech(a great part for Nigel Davenport) the possible double agent who may be working for the Germans as well. The tension over command and strategy between Caine and Davenport drives the movie's plot and is what makes the movie all hold together. Nigel Green, Harry Andrews and Patrick Jordan are good in small parts as the different level of commanders who have control over the mission. Green is especially good as Col. Masters. The rest of the convict-commandos, who don't have much to do in the way of lines, include Aly Ben Ayed as Sadok, Enrique Avila as Kafkarides, Mohsen Ben Abdallah and Mohammed Kouka as Hassan and Assine, the two homosexual desert guides, Takis Emmanuel as Kostos Manou, and Scott Miller as Boudesh. The special features, if there are any, for the upcoming dvd release, April 27th, haven't been released, but I'd be happy to just get widescreen presentation and a trailer. Of course, I'd love to see some interviews with Caine, but that's probably wishful thinking. So for a relatively little known WWII action movie with great performances from Caine and Davenport along with one of the best shocker endings ever, check out Play Dirty!"
The Dirty Half Dozen
Dr. Robert B. Lynch | Palominas, Arizona, USA | 06/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film was released in 1968. Michael Caine is an oil company executive in civvy street who has been commisioned only to handle fuel deliveries at ports in N. Africa in WWII. If you liked the Dirty Dozen you will love this film. This film is real. The "officers" are great character actors you have seen in many British films. The uniforms, weapons and equipment are correct. Scenes of the desert are so real you feel the heat. The mission is real. The ending is a stunner. This film was made in Panavision, see it in that mode."
Great Late-60's WWII Film...
John McKinna | Key Largo, Florida United States | 04/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was always one of my favorites when I was a boy in the 1960s. PLAY DIRTY had the anti-hero grittiness that is so much more realistic--as I found out during my own military service--than the highly stylized war films that came out just after (and glorifying) WWII. There are notable exceptions, of course, that show combat pressure and human faults for what they are: Halls of Montezuma, featuring the late, great Richard Widmark as a stress-crippled Marine officer; Decision Before Dawn, with Oscar Werner and Richard Basehart...and various excellent so-called "B" movies that are really "A"s in in my book such as Hell Is For Heroes and Pork Chop Hill. PLAY DIRTY is a real man show, with cold and hard heroes who aren't really all that likeable, but are essentially human. It's much like Tobruk with Rock Hudson, and the [...] Raid On Rommel with Richard Burton (going thru the motions skillfully for the money), but with a much more sophisticated subtext of antagonism and tension between the main characters. Michael Caine and Nigel Davenport are superb. This is guy-oriented war storytelling at its dark, tough-guy best. The shocking and very sudden ending is right in line with the nihilistic--and all too realistic--Vietnam-era ethos of which this film is a part."
My favorite war movie
Scott Kennedy | Chicago, IL | 12/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first came to love this movie as a child, watching it late at night, cropped and in black and white, on an old Zenith. I was curious to see it after 30 years, and finally resorted to getting an import copy from Japan a few months before this re-release. I'm happy to say the movie holds up wonderfully, and seeing it in the proper aspect ratio is real pleasure.
This has to be one of the most cynical war movies ever made, and those who devalue this movie as a knock-off of The Dirty Dozen overlook the way that movie still romanticizes heroism while Play Dirty will have none of it. From the opening scene of Play Dirty, where an officer's corpse is returned likely shot by the man returning it, there's no sentimentality here, no acts of stunning bravery, just a bunch of schmoes who don't even much like one another trying to stay alive. This movie presents war as a sort of lazy grand incompetence that occasionally awakens to explosion, warfare, murder, and rape. While the supporting cast of outlaws seem very B-movie (like those guys who talk in dub in a Sergio Leone western), Caine and Davenport more than make up for it. The desert photography and scenery is outstanding -- not Lawrence of Arabia pretty but rather the third enemy that threatens to sandblast them right off the screen throughout the film. Some find desert scenes slow; I find them the mesmerizing. And Play Dirty remains my favorite war film of all time. It's the only war movie I know that never lies even once. "
Old Classic, Finally on DVD
NO NAME | 06/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie by the way, was filmed in Panavision, incorrectly described on Amazon as having a full screen 1:33:1 ratio, when in reality has been released in it's original widescreen 1:85:1 ratio. It's a classic WWII British Long Range Patrol action movie set in the North African Lybian dessert, where the Italian and German Afrika Corp troops are the bad guys. Excellent color with crisp clean restored print. RECOMMEND HIGHLY for serious WWII movie fans!!!!!!!"