Night of the Generals (1967)

January 20th, 2024
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Anatole Litvak | Cast: Peter O’Toole, Albert Finney, Tom Courtney | US Action Drama

When Sam Spiegel engaged Peter O’Toole for the title role in Lawrence of Arabia it came with strings attached in the form of a long-term contract (which is the reason first choice Albert Finney had declined the part).

Thus is the presence herein of O’Toole explained (not that his choice of films ever displayed much discernment and in The Night of the Generals he gives a performance that’s eccentric even for him), while from Spiegel’s point of view the appeal of a film reuniting both stars of Lawrence of Arabia was only too apparent.

The money was always up there on the screen on a Spiegel production, it has a score by Maurice Jarre that lingers pleasantly in the memory and a particularly good performance in a supporting role by Tom Courtney (who has a memorable scene discussing the merits of modern art with O’Toole).

While for students of the period it contains possibly the only screen representation of the incident when Rommel’s car was strafed by a Spitfire (which provides the opportunity for Spiegel to include Christopher Plummer in a guest role). @RichardChatten


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