The Dirty Dozen (1967)
Further to the mention of Ernest Borgnine in RED, who recalls him as the General in The Dirty Dozen? When I first saw this flick at the movies (my kids laugh at the terminology “the movies”, although I am unaware as to what terms they use), I was bothered by the final scenes. The movie tells the story of 12 WW2 military prisoners, most condemned to death, who are given the hope of a pardon by completing a suicide mission: to go to a Nazi officers’ R & R establishment and kill as many high ranking Nazi officers as possible. This is accomplished by creating a fuss and having the officers take shelter in the underground shelters, then pouring in petrol through the vents and sending down grenades. What caused the discomfort is that the female wives and partners of the officers also took refuge in the underground rooms. Had the situation been reversed, that is, that the persons pouring the petrol were Nazis doing so on American officers and their partners, we would have been quite hostile. And even irrespective of which party was doing it, is it right to deliberately kill civilian non-combatants? Does it not breach the Geneva Convention? Anyone have any views on this?
[Kinder has just finished a psychiatric evaluation of Reisman's troops]
Major John Reisman: So what does that give you?
Capt. Stuart Kinder: Doesn't give me anything. But along with these other results, it gives YOU just about the most twisted, anti-social bunch of psychopathic deformities I have ever run into! And the worst, the most dangerous of the bunch, is Maggott. You've got one religious maniac, one malignant dwarf, two near-idiots... and the rest I don't even wanna think about!
Major John Reisman: Well, I can't think of a better way to fight a war.
Capt. Stuart Kinder: These people don't know their enemy is the Germans. They think the enemy is their own United States Army!
Major John Reisman: Maybe that's because the Germans haven't done anything to them yet.
Pinkley becomes a General:
The movie is based on a real action unit known as The Filthy Thirteen, an airborne demolition unit. Their story was told in a book by the same name. About 30% of the movie is based on fact, although the unit was not made up of murderers and rapists. The Filthy Thirteen were men prone to fighting and drinking who therefore often spent time in the stockade.