The Night Of The Generals (1966) [VHS]
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In Warsaw, 1942, a prostitute is brutally murdered and it is rumoured that a German General is the man responsible. A special investigator (Omar Sharif) is called in to clear up the controversy, and narrows the suspects down to three high-ranking Nazi officers: Tanz (Peter O'Toole), Kahlenberge (Donald Pleasence), and Von Seidlitz-Gabler (Charles Gray). However, it will take many years, and the occurrence of another murder, before the killer is unmasked.
Top Customer Reviews
A truly star-studded cast seemingly stolen from the best of David Lean movies (Peter O'Toole, Omar Sharif, Tom Courtenay) complemented by Maurice Jarre's music, make this look like it should be more epic. Truth be told the story is rather more intimate. Sharif is Major Grau in Intelligence, who investigates the murder of a Polish prostitute, killed in a savage manner. The sole witness saw only that it was a German general. Only 3 generals did not have alibis, and Major Grau tries to flush the guilty one out, intent on justice. The story goes on to Paris some years later, where another murder occurs when all 3 generals are in town, and finishes in an overlong coda at the end when the murderer is finally brought to justice. The Generals are equally convincingly played by Charles Gray (Blofeld from `Diamonds are Forever'), Donald Pleasance and of course Peter O'Toole when he was a mesmerising presence on screen.
The theme is evident in Major Grau's ironic observation that `..what is admirable on the large scale is monstrous on the small.' Just because a man kills many as a soldier, does this give him a right to kill one innocent and get away with it? Grau's conviction is that the general is confident his title protects him, and is determined (at risk of his career and in fact life) not just to bring justice, but to show him he is not God.Read more ›
Clumsily ripped off by the Vietnam movie Saigon/Off Limits, it's big-budget WW2 murder-mystery that goes off in all directions and frequently completely forgets its nominal main character, Omar Sharif's wildly miscast Nazi military policeman on the trail of the German general who brutally killed a Polish prostitute. In truth his part is little more than a cameo: he never does any detecting, merely occasionally getting information and a nice dinner from Philippe Noiret's French detective while the plot flashes forward to 1967 or off on a tangent with the plot to assassinate Hitler. The fact that so much screen time is devoted to unlikely Lothario Tom Courtney chauffeuring psychotic General Peter O'Toole around Paris doesn't exactly help the whodunit element, especially with his tendency to come over all epileptic every time he sees Vincent Van Gogh's self-portrait in the 'degenerate art' section of the Louvre.
Sharif isn't the only curious casting: it appears that the Wehrmacht did their recruiting almost exclusively at RADA, with their ranks swelled by cockney character players and their general staff by the better spoken staples of the British film industry. Somehow it just doesn't seem right to see John Gregson playing a Nazi...
The film is either too long or too short. As a mystery it needs to be tighter and more focused on the original investigation; as an epic exploration of Nazi opportunism, both during and after the war, it needs to be longer.Read more ›
"Then let us say," Grau replies, "what is admirable on the large scale is monstrous on the small. Since we must give medals to mass murderers, why not give justice to the small entrepreneur."
The Night of the Generals is a mess. It sprawls all over the place, from Poland to Paris to Germany; from 1942 to 1944 to 1963. We have everything from warfare in cities to the 1944 attempt on Hitler's life to the fiction of Rommel's part in the Fuhrer plot, to the rise of neo-Nazism in post-war Germany, to definitions of decadent art. We see the tenderness of young love and the sexual sleaze of frozen-faced sadism. What on earth makes this two-hour-and-twenty-eight-minute movie...if you use the fast-forward button often enough...so much fun?
For me, it's two things. First, it's the schadenfreude-like satisfaction of watching so many members of the elite about to get theirs, all in the context of the rancid Nazi stew of ambitious senior military officers and the morally corrupt German high society that fed on each other. When you combine that with all those strutting uniforms with red collar tabs and red stripes down the pants, black batons, leather coats, boots up to the knees, it's hard to remember you're watching the leaders of a brutally effective army and not members of a Ruritanian farce.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was very prompt delivery, given a timeline between the 30th July and 25th August, told it was expected on the 11th, it arrived today the 2nd. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Christie B
Excellent war thriller with an all star cast and thoroughly recommended.Published 4 months ago by colinc
Surely never have so many well known miscast actors featured in such in such a hopeless film.
As an example - who would cast Tom Courtenay as the lance corporal love... Read more
Great cast, but sadly a fairly ludicrous plot with some abysmal performances, particularly Peter O'Toole,whose over acting throughout would almost be funny if it wasn't so tragic,... Read morePublished 6 months ago by ririd69
Great picture, Only problem, I could only put in on English for hard of hearing, no just "English". Read morePublished 6 months ago by MRS M D PECK
Excellent performance from various screen legends. Dark, cynical, with a very believable murder plot that commences during World WWII. Buy it.Published 8 months ago by Laurence Paul
Quick delivery,many thanks. Have tried to watch this movie about 4 times and finally I know who submit!!Published 8 months ago by Maureen