The Heroes of Telemark (USA, 1965)

lryBJR71HFZjaFcvs4pTjDNTSGdDirected by: Anthony Mann. I was drawn to this one, like many films, by the names attached to it: Kirk Douglas, Richard Harris, and more importantly, Anthony Mann. The cover of the DVD indicated a typical 1960’s action movie, but being familiar with the gritty intensity of two of Mann’s famous westerns (both with James Stewart), I thought I’d give this one a chance. This definitely wasn’t a sock-knocker of a film by any means, but as I reflect on it, I think it has a bit more substance than I assumed it had going into it. The plot kind of hurries forward a bit—the crucial decision for Douglas’ character to drop his neutrality and help the resistance takes him all of about five seconds and one convincing line from Harris. The chemistry between Kirk Douglas (known to young people as Michael Douglas’ dad [and the model for every human male on Ren and Stimpy]) and Richard Harris (known to young people as the first Dumbledore and the father of Mad Men‘s Jared Harris) isn’t the most amazing chemistry I’ve seen. As happens in a lot of war movies (maybe especially WWII movies), it doesn’t seem necessary to spend time developing character and motivation, mainly because A) you don’t need to get to know the characters in order to sympathize with their struggle because they’re fighting the Nazis, and B) their motivation is already laid out for you by history and hindsight, same as A. Seeing as the film is from 1965, the main romance is obviously a bit less thoughtful than what we would hope to see today, however, leading lady Ulla Jacobson offers a pretty smart and well-rounded character, or at least more so than Kirk Douglas’ leading man. Overall, not bad, but I’m pretty sure better movies were being made in 1965.

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2 responses to “The Heroes of Telemark (USA, 1965)

  1. Pingback: The Battle of the Bulge (USA, 1965) | Offhand Reviews·

  2. Pingback: The Monuments Men (USA/Germany, 2014) | Offhand Reviews·

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