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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Books, Film and Media > Film, DVD, and TV

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Film, DVD, and TV Discuss the latest movies at the theatre and on DVD, as well as what is on TV. ACG film reviews will also be found here.

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Old 17 Jan 18, 11:45
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Dirty Dozen DEEP DIVE

This is the first in a series of threads where I present trivia about famous movies. It may contain spoilers, but it is meant for people who have seen the movie already. Hope you enjoy.

1. “The Dirty Dozen” created the template for an entire genre of motley crew, suicide mission movies. It’s influence has been substantial. The movie was released in 1967 and was part of the wave of more realistically gritty war movies like “Patton”. Director Robert Aldrich adapted it from the novel by E.M. Nathanson, but made substantial changes. The film was made in England and took seven months to complete. That was three months over schedule and it cost 60% than its budget. Production included the construction of a chateau that was 240 ft wide and 50 ft high, surrounded with 5,400 sq. yds. of heather, 400 ferns, 450 shrubs, 30 spruce trees and 6 weeping willows. It took 250 workers four months to construct. It turned out to be so substantially built that it could not be easily blown up so they had to construct a flimsier section for the climactic scene.

2. The movie was a huge hit with audiences and with some critics. It was nominated for four Oscars; Best Supporting Actor (John Cassavetes), Editing, Sound, and Sound Effects (won).

3. Aldrich wanted to film the book independently, but he found that MGM had purchased the rights two years before it was published. When MGM hired him, they already had a script by Nunnally Johnson (“The Grapes of Wrath”). Aldrich thought the script was good – for a 1945 war movie. He wanted something that fit the 1967 vibe. He got Lukas Heller to rewrite and make it more anti-authoritarian and anti-military. Johnson and Heller shared screenwriting credit, but the movie is more Heller’s. Aldrich did not push the idea that it was an anti-war movie. He felt he had checked that off with “Attack!” (1956) The studio wanted John Wayne for the Reisman role, but Aldrich didn’t and luckily Wayne was already committed to “The Green Berets”.

4. Supposedly Aldrich lost out on a nomination for Best Director because he refused to tone down the gasoline and grenades finale.

5. In the Last Supper scene (when they go over the plan), Maggott is seated where Judas was in the Da Vinci painting.

6. The movie “Small Soldiers” reunited Borgnine, Brown, Kennedy, and Walker.

7. Actor back-stories:
- Borgnine was starring in “McHale’s Navy”, but was between seasons. His character is similar to Aldrich’s personality and directing style.
- Cassavetes did not want to make the movie. He wanted to concentrate on directing.
- Sutherland was originally hired as an extra. Originally his only line was “Number 2, sir!” His huge break came when Walker bowed out of the inspection scene due to his being a big star and he felt the humor was demeaning. Aldrich pointed at Sutherland and told him to do the scene. Sutherland got his role in “MASH” due to this scene.
- Marvin and Bronson did not get along and once almost came to blows because Marvin’s alcoholic binges slowed the production.
- Marvin won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for “Cat Ballou” during production and placed the Oscar on the table in front of him for a table read. At one point in rehearsal, Marvin referred to Brown as “the n*****”. Aldrich called him aside and after that Marvin behaved himself.
- Trini Lopez was hired because he was a popular singer. He was coming off a huge hit with “Lemon Tree”. He left the production midway through after a conversation with Frank Sinatra. Sinatra pointed out that his singing career was on hold right when it was about to take off. Since Lopez had signed for four months and it was long past that, he left. Aldrich wrote him out by having his character die on the parachute drop. Lopez had a hit with the song from the film – “Bramble Bush”.
- Brown was still playing football, but had started his acting career with “Rio Conchos” in 1964. When the production went over schedule, Browns owner Art Modell gave him an ultimatum and Brown surprised him by announcing his retirement on set. Modell regretted his move.
- The Maggott role was originally offered to Jack Palance, but he declined because he felt the part did not emphasize the characters racism enough.
- Aldrich cast the first six mainly using actors he had worked with before. He cast Brown because he was a big football fan. The “Back Six” were actors working in Great Britain who were found by the casting director.
- Many of the cast were WWII veterans: Marvin (Marines – wounded on Saipan), Savalas (Army), Bronson (Army), Borgnine (Navy), and Walker (Merchant Marine). Marvin’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery simply reads “PFC – Marines”.

8. Accuracy problems:
- Our “heroes” use the M3A1 Grease Gun almost exclusively. It is cool looking, but notoriously inaccurate. Several of the shots in the movie, starting with Reisman shooting the rope, would have been highly unlikely.
- Non-engineers would not have been able to build the camp.
- Grenades do not create the kind of explosions that occur when Gilpin throws two on the roof.
- Posey is using a German MG-42.

9. Scenes that were cut:
- Posey, who was a Native American, did a rain dance.
- Reisman has a romance.

10. The two funniest moments:
- watch the look on the face of the soldier when Pinkley tells him “never heard of it” at the close of the inspection scene
- when they hijack the ambulance, the officer with the Red Force complains that they are wearing Red Force insignias. Jefferson: “That’s right. We’re traitors.”

11. Here is the plan they recite at the Last Supper:
Down to the road block, we've just begun
The guards are through
The Major's men are on a spree
Major and Wladislaw go through the door
Pinkley stays out in the drive
The Major gives the rope a fix
Wladislaw throws the hook to heaven
Jimenez has got a date
The other guys go up the line
Sawyer and Lever are in the pen
Posey guards points five and seven
Wladislaw and the Major go down to delve
Franko goes up without being seen
Zero-hour - Jimenez cuts the cable, Franko cuts the phone
Franko goes in where the others have been
We all come out like it's Halloween
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  #2  
Old 18 Jan 18, 10:53
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Interesting post, Kevin.

As an aside, who's the moron who gave your thread a "terrible" rating?
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Old 18 Jan 18, 12:19
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Interesting post, Kevin.

As an aside, who's the moron who gave your thread a "terrible" rating?
That would be Col. Breed.
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Old 19 Jan 18, 20:37
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That would be Col. Breed.
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Old 20 Jan 18, 03:22
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The M3A1 was accurate for the day, certainly for what they were using them for: close in assault. However, like so many 'war' movies they fired them from the hip, and never reload or show muzzle climb.

Building the compound would have been no problem; entire prisons were built with convict labor.

It was about par for war movies of the period: silly and inaccurate; but it did have a heavy-weight cast.
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Old 20 Jan 18, 05:52
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Some DD scenes were filmed in Aldbury village, 30 miles northwest of central London..





The pond is overgrown now. I've circled where Marvin was..

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Old 20 Jan 18, 23:50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poor Old Spike View Post
Some DD scenes were filmed in Aldbury village, 30 miles northwest of central London..





The pond is overgrown now. I've circled where Marvin was..

Please go pour a fifth of whiskey on that spot in honor of Marvin.
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Old 21 Jan 18, 00:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
The M3A1 was accurate for the day, certainly for what they were using them for: close in assault. However, like so many 'war' movies they fired them from the hip, and never reload or show muzzle climb.

Building the compound would have been no problem; entire prisons were built with convict labor.

It was about par for war movies of the period: silly and inaccurate; but it did have a heavy-weight cast.
I'll tell you what. You get up on a rope and I'll try to cut the rope under your feet with a Grease Gun. Don't worry, I'm aware of its tendency to move upward and to the right. I'll try to compensate for that.
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