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  • The Eagle Has Landed
    • The Eagle Has Landed
    • Runtime:127 min
    • Release Date:2017-01-16 08:00:10
    • Director: John Sturges
    • Genres: Adventure, Drama, Thriller, War
    • Studio:
MOVIE REVIEW:The Eagle Has Landed


John Sturges' World War II adventure hit of the 1970s still works
somewhat decently within its genre. The story deals with a group of
German soldiers who are sent on a nearly impossible mission of
kidnapping Winston Churchill when he comes to visit a rural English
village. Compiled by a frustrated Colonel Radl (Robert Duvall), the
team consists of a Britain-hating Irish militant Liam Devlin (Donald
Sutherland) and the loyal men of a righteous hero soldier Kurt Steiner
(Michael Caine) who has been dishonoured and imprisoned for his lack of
respect for his superiors. Devlin is sent to infiltrate the coastal
village of Studley Constable and to contact a German sleeper agent
Joanna Grey (Jean Marsh) in advance, while Steiner prepares his troops
to pose as friendly Polish soldiers and arrives in Britain later.
Having reached the village, the team finds a settlement of American
soldiers nearby and as expected, things don't go neatly according to
the plans.

The movie doesn't go for an analytical meditation on the nature of war
and focuses on the personal level instead. The tone stays somewhat
light for the most part and especially Devlin's antics while getting to
know the English locals, such as Molly and Arthur (Jenny Agutter and
Terry Plummer), approach comedy at points. The pacing is very
leisurely: action scenes are only seen during the last third of the
runtime and while they are entertaining enough for what it's worth,
they are not spectacular enough to carry the whole story alone. Even
though we know from history if the team's mission will be successful or
not, there is a small twist at the end that adds a sense of sadness to
the mood – the message about the futility of war efforts from a grunt's
point of view culminate in Steiner's final scene somewhat effectively,
even if the big payoff doesn't ultimately feel quite worth the wait.

The emphasis being on the characters' on-screen chemistry, the
importance of the actors becomes even bigger than usual. Luckily, most
of the cast does a good job throughout. Particularly the always
creepy-looking Donald Sutherland suits his role formidably, conveying a
feel of joviality and menace at the same time. The quiet and mousy
Himmler is also portrayed with natural ease by Donald Pleasence and the
calm Robert Duvall is at home as the eyepatch-wearing Radl. Larry
Hagman's role as the American Colonel Pitts brings humour to the mix
while avoiding overly annoying bumbling. The only complaint I have is
that it is difficult to see Michael Caine as a German officer, even if
his character is explained to have studied in England – Caine is such
an archetype of Britishness that a German uniform is not enough to make
his legendary persona disappear.

In addition to the performances, some of the scenery of the windy
beaches and the surrounding areas look very nice and Lalo Schifrin's
score fits in with the mood well. However, tighter pacing and writing
would have been needed to raise The Eagle Has Landed to the master
class. As it is now, it is a watchable war flick but not among the best
of its ilk. Fans of the stars should find it enjoyable though.

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