Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Movie review - "Ten Tall Men" (1951) **

As producer, Burt Lancaster dabbled in all sorts of adventure genres: Westerns, swashbucklers, pirate movies, South Sea films. This was his foreign legion tale, and despite the colour photograph and some bright moments the result is disappointingly flat. The circumstances of filmmaking couldn't have helped - the director was sacked during production (a not un-common thing for Lancaster movies) - nor do the lousy locations (I don't mind foreign legion films shot in Hollywood but not when they're so obviously shot in Hollywood) or uninspired story (they set up a villain and female in the first act and don't do anything with it; the central idea of ten convicts going on a mission is kind of thrown away). The action is surprisingly flabby; Lancaster is so-so, but better than the guys who play his mates. Michael Pate pops up as one of the convicts who go on the mission. Robert Aldrich was a production manager on this.

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