The Inside Man

At first blush, Slagskämpen recommends itself if only for two reasons: Hardy Kruger and Dennis Hopper. The former needs no introduction, anyway IMDb thinks so; as of this date, his biography there reads as follows: “It is rumored that the tall blond Kruger marched in Hitler’s Youth Corps as a teen before formulating a post-war career in Teutonic films. Ironically, he appeared largely in sympathetic roles and forged a strong career internationally in the 60s.”

Everyone knows what a wonderful actor Dennis Hopper is, and some few are also aware he’s one of the most brilliant directors in Hollywood.

It all depends on the complicated and impressive structure it gradually exposes being utterly and entirely deflated at the end, with just enough amusements along the way to prepare you for the great guffaw, which reaches back to the opening scene, and every detail a setup to the punchline.

To discuss any aspect of the plot would be to spoil it, but fans of The Rockford Files might consult the episode called “The Battle-Ax and the Exploding Cigar”.


My Uncle Silas II

Masterpiece Theatre had long overslept its welcome when this jolly omnibus rattled into the village square and got it out of bed, so to speak.

Silas is an upcountry factotum in an offhand sort of way. He contrives to set star-cross’d lovers on the path, challenges a boaster to a race and plays tortoise & hare with him, helps the constable with his husbandry, sorts out a young artiste, and saves an “old sojer” lost in his Kipling from a dire end.

It musters quite a bit of support from actors who are usually guarded nowadays, and Finney wins the laurels in a part that Russell Baker describes as “the man Tom Jones would have grown into,” but the director shares in them, too. At the end, when he has to produce the trooper’s incomparable Himalayan Rose, he not only does so convincingly, he sets the seal on it with a real fly.


Bravo Two Zero

A top British fighting force of eight men go on a botched mission against Scuds. Gen. Schwarzkopf later said getting intelligence from his senior officers was like pulling teeth, they complained.

The men hide in the desert, are spotted by a young goatherd and head off on foot across the sand by daylight, but they are forced to turn and fight by an armored patrol, which they repulse and charge.

Night brings double-time marches, the weather turns bad, rain and cold beset them, in one forced dusk-to-dawn march the distance of “two Marathons” has been covered they reckon, not without satisfaction of a weary sort.

At the border, they find considerable defenses and a swift river. The technical advisor of this film is captured two miles beyond, tortured for weeks and released at the end of hostilities along with the other survivors (one was not captured). Beatings, tooth-pulling and stripping to prove he is not an Israeli are the mainstay of his treatment.

The simple record of heroism as a function of good training and superior equipment at the very least, along with a picture of the enemy at his worst or best, and a tacit reflection on the botch. All filmed very straightforwardly in first-rate style, a capital film.