Italian war movies aka Macaroni Combat

[quote=“Yodlaf Peterson, post:49, topic:622”]I recently got the wild-east double bill of CHURCHILL’S LEOPARDS and SALT IN THE WOUND.

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I have both of these in my Kinski collection, Salt In The Wound (The Dirty Two) is the better one of the two though.

For anyone interested in Commandos:

Try to get the St. Clair US dvd release

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It’s a good widescreen print, all regions disc. Don’t know about the other versions, they might be all from the same source.

Do you perhaps have the double feature dvd of Battle of el alamein with Go for broke? I'm thinking of buying it, but I would like to know about the quality first.

I seem to remember reading somewhere that the double feature with Go for Broke was a good print, the best available in English.

Also, I can recommend:

From Hell to Victory

German dvd, uncut, ws, english audio.

starring George Peppard, directed by Umberto Lenzi.

avoid the Dutch or US dvds, they’re of piss-poor quality.

of course there’s many more great /good/not so good spaghetti war movies, made in the same golden era of Italian cinema where those westerns came from, but most of them are not available on dvd, and definitely not in English.

I’m trying to add as much of all of that as possible:

http://www.grindhousedatabase.com/index.php/Category:Macaroni_Combat

“the battle of the last panzer”( 1969) is a little seen italian- spanish film in the short lived italian world war 2 genre of the late 60’s/ early 70’s. this one starts slowly, but is not too bad and holds the attention most of the way, but is letdown a little by a rather inconclusive finale. film is helped by the performance of " stan cooper" who proberly gives the performance of his career. an intresting example of the italian war film but too undecided about it’s intentions.

funny you mention that movie, I did prepare a review a few weeks ago but I didn’t post it because it got rather long and detailed and a little subjective here and there, but anyway, here it is.

The blending of genres that Spanish director J.L. Merino attempted (to great effect) with his Requiem para el Gringo in 1968 (western/gothic horror) was repeated a year later in his Battaglia dell’ultimo Panzer, this time mixing the war genre with the western. The story involves a German tank crew cut off behind their lines, trying to reach their battle lines in their lone panzer.

Once again Merino adds several unconventional touches. For starters, the protagonists are a German tank crew. The French resistance look and act like a mean bunch of cutthroats. There’s one scene with really offbeat color filtering (mostly red) and strange angles, with lots of killing and death when the Germans battle it out with the resistance. Plus there’s the spaghetti western music and imagery that more than once pop up. The dusty town resembles a wild west town, and several longer scenes take place in a saloon type bar. The movie was shot in the same location (Colmenar Viejo, Madrid) as Django and a few other westerns. Notice also the inclusion of a few PoV shots from the barrel of a gun, something seen ever so often in Italian westerns as well.

Especially the duel at the end deserves mentioning, with two tanks taking shots at each other from point blank range. Totally unrealistic, and confusing as hell since both tanks look the same, but it’s exciting nevertheless. Also, in the best Spanish/Italian fashion of the period, there are some real sultry scenes between the beautiful leading leady, the lovely Erna Schürer, and the male cast. And what a magnificient sight of her standing upright in the turret of that big tank, dressed in a summer skirt: a blending of female sexuality and male phallic symbolism?

That being said, the movie has plenty of shortcomings and cliches. For war movie buffs focused on authenticity it is a real horror since the uniforms and equipment are way off (post WW2 tanks and American uniforms and rifles that don’t even come close). For me personnally, it does cost a war movies some points but it doesn’t disqualify it by default, as plot, acting, cinematography, action, atmosphere etc should also carry weight. And critics always seem to forget the shoestring budgets the directors usually had to work with, plus these were simply shot in a different era with a less demanding audience with regard to authenticity. Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers changed a lot in this respect, setting a whole new standard, but it would be wholly unfair to hold these sixties movies to the same standard. Another problem for action-oriented viewers might be that the action scenes are sparse and low-key. It starts with a tank platoon being caught in an American ambush, but this scene is rather lacking because the German tanks are knocked out too fast, too easily, and the low budget shines through with the Americans only a platoon-sized squad with a single anti-tank gun.

As of now, there’s no good (remastered) English language DVD available, but for those willing to give it a try it might be interesting to know that the low budget VHS quality German DVD has an English sound track (if I remember correctly!), although it is not mentioned on the box. It is released under the title ‘Monte Cassino’, which is really dumb since the movie is supposed to take place in France while Monte Cassino was a famous battle in the Italian mountains, slugged out by infantry with no significant role for armor.

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intresting review of “battle of the last panzer” but like you said the title of " monte cassino" is very odd

Watched recently two examples of Maccaroni Combat: Desert Battle and Probability Zero.

Probability Zero (1969/ Dir: Maurizio Lucidi) is a fun action packed Men on Mission Movie. An american Commander (Henry Silva as Duke) helps the norwegian Resistance in WW 2. The story takes place in Norway but it’s obviously not filmed there. Interstingly Dario Argento wrote the script.

Desert Battle (1969/Dir: Mino Loy) has a fine Cast (for SW Fans!): George Hilton, Frank Wolff, Robert Hossein, Rik Battaglia. After a tank battle in north africa some british and german Soldiers are trying to survive in the desert. Frank Wolff has a good role as former safecracker who gets slightly mad a their way. The wonderful music score is from Bruno Nicolai.

Unfortunately the DVD was one of the cheap 4 Movies on 2 DVD’s buy. So picture and sound quality were pretty bad. :(On the second DVD there are two movies I haven’t watched so far: Thunder from the West with Gianni Garko and Partizani with Rod Taylor.

What DVD (?) did you watch, Paco? I remember discusing this film with the Reverend, we both liked it and were looking for a good copy. The rev had only an incomplete old tape, if I’m not mistaken.

Those Italian war movies are hard to get; I could only find an inferior and cut German disc of The Battle of Al Alamein (Ferroni)
Commandos, with Van Cleef and mentioned a few times here, was scheduled on ZDF last week, but it was suspended due to the election debate between MC Averick and O’ Bahamas

It’s a german DVD (maybe cut) with no subtitels and only German Audio. The Quality on the first DVD with Desert Battle and Probability Zero has a better picture quality (16:9) but the sound is between good and bad (on both movies!). The second DVD with Partizani and Thunder from the West has poor picture quality (4:3) but better audio. The quality was so bad I couldn’t finish to watch both Movies. I’m not sure if I would buy the DVD again. It’s a shame cause IMO Probality Zero and Desert Battle are good entertaining Movies.

Here is the amazon.de link (but I bought it for a much lower price at a shop).

[quote=“Paco Roman, post:59, topic:622”]It’s a german DVD (maybe cut) with no subtitels and only German Audio. The Quality on the first DVD with Desert Battle and Probability Zero has a better picture quality (16:9) but the sound is between good and bad (on both movies!). The second DVD with Partizani and Thunder from the West has poor picture quality (4:3) but better audio. The quality was so bad I couldn’t finish to watch both Movies. I’m not sure if I would buy the DVD again. It’s a shame cause IMO Probality Zero and Desert Battle are good entertaining Movies.

Here is the amazon.de link (but I bought it for a much lower price at a shop).

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Thanks

German audio is no problem for me
Awful video&audio quality of course is
I’ll probably buy only the first, with Desert Battle, but I think I’ll wait till I’m in Germany and look in shops

Before buying check the lenghth of the DVDs at OFDB.de. They are probably heavily cut.

And you can only buy all 4 together as it’s a double DVD package.

According to OFDB Probability Zero is uncut. And there are Italian and English Audio Option for Probability Zero on the DVD. Sorry I oversaw that. All the other Movies have only German and the others are cut. Desert Battle has the german Cinema Version (about 81 minutes). Partizani must be heavily cut.

I have recently gotten into this sub-genre and I love it. I love that a lot of movies borrow from such great movies as Where Eagles Dare and Dirty Dozen. I love Five For Hell a lot and I cannot wait to check out others. I plan on getting the two Castellari movies (Eagles over London and Inglorious Bastards) soon. And thanks for posting on the St. Clair release of Commandos as I plan on getting that one as well.

It looks like a very difficult genre to acquire dvds in for the most part and without Tarantino’s movie there probably would not be the two I just mentioned out as well.

my favourite was:
five for hell

Commandos - Armando Crispino, 1968

Quite good war actioner. One of only 8 films directed by the John the Bastard director, and made immediately after that one. 6/10

But the German version is heavily cut with about 26 min missing.

[quote=“Stanton, post:65, topic:622”]Commandos - Armando Crispino, 1968

Quite good war actioner. One of only 8 films directed by the John the Bastard director, and made immediately after that one. 6/10

But the German version is heavily cut with about 26 min missing.[/quote]

I don’t know what they cut exactly, I have a version that’s supposed to be uncut

Quite a good Italian war movie yes, good cast too.

Probably mostly talk as there were tons of battle scenes.

Shame the additional scenes do not have english subtitles.

I watched it some time ago, but I think the action is concentrated in the last quarter.
It’s quite talky, yes, but it doesn’t hurt the film.