Commandos - Sgt. Sullivan puts together a group of Italian-Americans into disguise as Italian soldiers in order to infiltrate a North African camp held by the Italians.
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Director: Armando Crispino
Writers: Menahem Golan (short story), Don Martin (story)
Stars: Lee Van Cleef, Jack Kelly, Giampiero Albertini
Runtime: 1h 38min
Genres: Action, Drama, War
Country: Italy, West Germany
Release Date: 8 August 1969 (West Germany)
Also Known As: Sullivan's Marauders
Filming Locations: Sardinia, Italy
"Sgt. Sullivan puts together a group of Italian-Americans into disguise as Italian soldiers in order to infiltrate a North African camp held by the Italians. After the soldiers have knifed the Italians in their beds, they find a h*oker living at the camp. Sullivan's commandos are to hold this camp and its weaponry until an American battalion arrives, all the while these Italian-Americans pretend to be Italian soldiers, often hosting the enemy. Lt. Valli is a young, "green," by-the-book officer who constantly argues with Sgt. Sullivan, who tells his superior that he has no idea what he is doing. One man on the base, probably a touch from Argento, is an entomologist who is needlessly killed. Things go terribly wrong after that." Written by Scott Hutchins.
"Another fantastic slice of w*r drama from the Italians, who were at their best filming on a tight budget in the middle of the African desert and blowing up shedloads of jeeps and tanks along the way. Following in the footsteps of dozens of similar offerings post-DIRTY DOZEN, the simplistic plot line tells of a small group of American soldiers who capture an Italian base in the middle of the desert (what for is never quite explained) and then who have to pretend to be Italians when the Germans show up looking for a good time. An excellent script with full-on characterisation, a few moral messages about the nature of w*r and comradeship, and heapings of suspense (realised through a monotonous but effective chordal note on the soundtrack) make for one heck of a film.
The film is based on a short story by notorious exploitation producer Menahem Golan, with the script co-written (with three others) by none other than Dario Argento, who later found fame as the "Italian Hitchcock". Argento brings his trademark touch of strong characters and violent situations into the story with the direction left in the more than capable hands of genre director Armando Crispino.
The cast is outstanding, with notable performances from all the major players. Lee Van Cleef handles the part of his tough sergeant as well as you would expect, and as a bonus gets extra psychological torment via some Filipino flashbacks. Jack Kelly is equally good as the determined captain who leads the group into disaster. Everyone else is perfect, especially the German actors, and there's a good turn from Giampiero Albertini (ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON) as a loyal fighter. The action sequences are mostly saved for the finale, but what a finale it is: packed with gunfire, explosions, destruction, mayhem and death, this easily rivals much more lavish productions and is the best battle I've seen in a long time. COMMANDOS is a hard film to fault which is why I award it full marks for effort and execution." Written By Leofwine_draca.
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