In Argentina, one daughter of patriarch Madariaga is married to a Frenchman while the other is married to a German thus leading to a crisis when Nazi Germany occupies France and some Madariaga family members fight on opposite sides.
During WW2, Canadian Major Jamie Wilson suggests a commando raid against a German-occupied French port where a large dry-dock is used by the enemy to re-fit battleships. The well-defended French coast has been dubbed the Iron Coast by the Germans. The British command is reluctant to give the green-light to this operation, code-named Operation Mad Dog, mainly because of the high chance of failure. The Canadian officer is known to have botched a few previous operations under his command. The main opponent of the Mad Dog operation is a Royal Navy captain whose son died during a failed commando raid led by Major Jamie Wilson. However, after much debate and haggling, the operation is approved by the R.N. Admiral in charge. The training of the commandos is harsh, under real battle conditions featuring live explosions and machine-gun fire. During the training, several accidents occur, resulting in a few deaths and wounds. The operation's future hangs into balance but it finally receives the ...Written by
I avoided "Attack on the Iron Coast" when it was released, given the "B" cast, poor reviews and little promotion by United Artists. Having watched it, I discover a movie with superb performances by Lloyd Bridges and Andrew Keir (in fact, the entire cast)and better production values than "A" list war movies such as "In Harms Way," "Tobruk" and "Operation Crossbow".
This is the only movie Paul Wendkos directed that has impressed me. Using oblique camera angles and careful pacing, he manages to get the most out of his meager budget. Likewise, the producers managed a much more expensive looking movie, along the lines of "The Dirty Dozen," with many more sets to dress. The photography here is equally as good as "In Harm's Way". Too bad the script isn't better,with a rather trite subplot to explain Keir's conflict with Bridges. Keir's arguments against the raid did not require them. What I did like about the script is that what appeared to be obstacles Keir used to "sabotage" the raid actually contributed to its success.
I must disagree with another reviewer regarding the ship miniatures. They look realistic on my computer screen. However, I have seen other movies ("In Harms Way," "633 Squadron," "The Guns of Navarone") where the miniatures and flats looked perfectly fine on the big screen but not on TV. In fact, in both "War of the Worlds" (1953) and "Thunderball" (1965), the wires holding up the models can be clearly seen on television, but not the big screen and both of these films were nominated for Oscars ("War of the Worlds" winning).
I don't want to spoil your enjoyment of this film by overpraising it. So, please go into it with an open mind and judge it by 1968 technical standards. I believe you won't be disappointed.
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