It would be possible to devote a very long criticism to this film, highlighting the complete lack of respect to both history and Forester's fine book, the awful characterisations and accents, the unrelenting flood of moronic national stereotypes and, especially, the spectacular switch of the plot to replace one of the guerrilla leaders with Sophia Loren; I shall rise above all this, and I merely offer a couple of glimpses, for those who have not seen this epic and for those who, like me, have seen it but may not be able to believe how bad it was.
Behind the impressive branding this was, as you will observe, a joint production by the Reader's Digest and Miss Bentham's class at Beaconsfield Primary School, but it cannot be faulted on expense or dedication to tasteless excess. Here is the assault on Avila, which is stirring stuff, though you may feel that the French could have been a bit more businesslike about the defence. I recall that my cousin and I, after we had seen it, were not surprised that poor old Sophia was wounded in the chest, since, if only from the point of view of proportional surface area, that seemed a very high probability. Shame, though.
Whatever else the French could have done better, I certainly hope they executed the uniform consultant - and you've seen nothing - wait till you see the cavalry. I was tempted to see how cheaply I could get a DVD of this film, but I haven't found one cheap enough yet. I shall continue to keep an eye open. In the meantime, perhaps you would join me in a quiet salute to the real CS Forester.