THE DIRTY DOZEN
DIRECTED BY ROBERT ALDRICH
Information From IMDb
An Army Major who likes to butt heads with his superiors, is being "given" a new assignment, to train 12 men who are either sentenced to death or life imprisonment, to go behind enemy lines raid a chateau that the Germans are using as an R&R center and kill as enemy officers as they can and disrupt the German chain of command. Now he not only has to train them; he has to get them to start acting like a unit. And when a Colonel whom the Major has been having the most trouble with reports to the Generals that his unit is not working out, the Major asks the General to try them out by having them participate in a war game. If they don't succeed they will be sent back to prison to face their sentences.
Written by rcs0411
Lee Marvin ... Major Reisman
Ernest Borgnine ... General Worden
Charles Bronson ... Joseph Wladislaw
Jim Brown ... Robert Jefferson
John Cassavetes ... Victor Franko
Richard Jaeckel ... Sergeant Bowren
George Kennedy ... Major Max Armbruster
Trini López ... Pedro Jiminez (as Trini Lopez)
Ralph Meeker ... Captain Stuart Kinder
Robert Ryan ... Col. Everett Dasher Breed
Telly Savalas ... Archer Maggott
Donald Sutherland ... Vernon Pinkley
Clint Walker ... Samson Posey
Robert Webber ... General Denton
Tom Busby ... Milo Vladek
Ben Carruthers ... Glenn Gilpin
Stuart Cooper ... Roscoe Lever
Robert Phillips ... Corporal Morgan
Colin Maitland ... Seth Sawyer
Al Mancini ... Tassos Bravos
George Roubicek ... Pvt. Arthur James Gardner
Thick Wilson ... General Worden's Aide
Dora Reisser ... German Officer's Girl
Gerard Heinz ... Cardplaying german officer (uncredited)
John Hollis ... German porter at chateu (uncredited)
Hildegard Knef ... (uncredited)
Richard Marner ... German sentry at chateau (uncredited)
Dick Miller ... MP At Hanging (uncredited)
Suzanne Owens ... Prostitute (uncredited)
Frederick Schiller ... Drunken German General (uncredited)
E.M. Nathanson (novel)
Nunnally Johnson (screenplay) and
Lukas Heller (screenplay)
Raymond Anzarut .... associate producer
Kenneth Hyman .... producer
Frank De Vol (as De Vol)
* Although Robert Aldrich had tried to purchase the rights to E.M. Nathanson's novel "The Dirty Dozen" while it was still in outline form, it was MGM that successfully acquired the property in May 1963. The book became a best-seller upon its publication in 1965.
* The French chateau that appears in the film was constructed especially for the production by art director William Hutchinson and his crew of 85. One of the largest sets ever built, it stood 240 feet across and 50 feet high. Gardeners surrounded the building with 5400 square yards of heather, 400 ferns, 450 shrubs, 30 spruce trees and 6 full-grown weeping willows.
* Construction of the faux chateau proved *too* good. The script called for it to be blown up, but the construction was so solid that 70 tons of explosives would have been needed to achieve the effect! Instead, a section was rebuilt from cork and plastic.
* John Wayne was first offered the part of Maj. John Reisman, but he declined and went on to star in and direct another war film (The Green Berets (1968)). The part was then offered to Lee Marvin, who took it.
* Originally Jiminez, the Trini López character, was supposed to be one of the heroes. He was to be the one to ignite all of the dynamite that would destroy the entire chateau.
* The operation count-off is as follows: - One: down to the road block we've just begun - Two: the guards are through - Three: the Major's men are on a spree - Four: Major and Wladislaw go through the door - Five: Pinkley stays out in the drive - Six: the Major gives the rope a fix - Seven: Wladislaw throws the hook to heaven - Eight: Jiminez has got a date - Nine: the other guys go up the line - Ten: Sawyer and Gilpin are in the pen - Eleven: Posey guards points Five and Seven - Twelve: Wladislaw and the Major go down to delve - Thirteen: Franko goes up without being seen - Fourteen: Zero hour, Jiminez cuts the cable Franko cuts the phone - Fifteen: Franko goes in where the others have been - Sixteen: we all come out like it's Halloween
* Lee Marvin (Marines), Telly Savalas and Charles Bronson (Army), Ernest Borgnine (Navy) and Clint Walker (Merchant Marine) all served in World War II.
* Donald Sutherland was a late casting decision, replacing an actor who dropped out because he thought the role was beneath him.
* Robert Aldrich was told that he could be in line for an Oscar as Best Director for the film if he cut out the scene of Jim Brown dropping hand grenades into the bomb shelter. The scene was considered controversial because the Germans (including women) were locked inside the bunker and had no chance to survive. Aldrich considered it but elected to leave the scene in to show that "war is hell".
* Jack Palance turned down the Telly Savalas role.
* The character of Reisman (Lee Marvin) was based on John Miara of Malden, Massachusetts, who was a close personal friend of Marvin's while both were serving in the Marine Corps during WW II.
* Jim Brown's character is credited as 'Napoleon Jefferson' in the original US trailer.
* The scene where one of the dozen pretends to be a general inspecting Robert Ryan’s troops was initially written for Clint Walker’s character. However, Walker was uncomfortable with this scene, so Robert Aldrich decided to use Donald Sutherland instead. The scene was directly responsible for Sutherland being cast in MASH (1970), which made him an international star.
* The sub-machine guns being used by most of the Dirty Dozen are M3, .45 ACP Cal., sub-machine guns know as the "Grease Gun". It came into use late in the war replacing Thompson sub-machine guns. It was not a general issue weapon to infantryman, normally it was the crew weapon on a tank. Many "found" their way to the frontline troops. This earlier model weapon had a charging lever on the side. Later models (M3A1) were charged by simply pulling back on the bolt by inserting your finger into a recess in the bolt. The M3A1 wire stock included a tab to help load magazines, the ends threaded to accept a cleaning brush to clean the barrel and was used as a wrench to unscrew the barrel for disassembly. The weapon, only manufactured during WWII by General Motors Headlight division, at a cost about $20 vs. the Thompsons at a few $100 each.
* During the "Last Supper" scene, Maggot (Telly Savalas) is in the Judas position of the Da Vinci painting, before betraying the team during its mission.
* Trini López's character was killed off early after his agent unwisely demanded more money. Instead of conceding to his demands, Robert Aldrich swiftly had an off-screen death scene for Lopez written into the script.
* Continuity: During the "war games" sequence, some of the "Dozen" are shown to exchange their Blue Army armbands for the red ones worn by the opposing forces. But for the next few minutes of the film, they are still wearing their blue ones.
* Anachronisms: In the beginning when Major Reisman is being given his mission, one of the officers speaking to him wears the ribbon for the Army Commendation medal (green with white stripes). The scene is set in 1944, yet Congress did not institute this medal until 1945.
* Anachronisms: The C-47 Dakota aircraft used in the jump scenes at parachute school is marked with the American white star in a blue roundel. This national insignia was replaced on American aircraft by the more familiar white star and bars on 30 June 1943.
* Continuity: As Reisman, Bowren, Franko and Wladislaw retreat in the half-track, their weapons change from M3s to MP40s several times. Wladislaw picked up several MP40s but this doesn't explain why the guns change from shot to shot.
* Factual errors: The German soldier that shoots Franko is carrying an M3 submachine gun, which is an American weapon. Also, when he fires it, the sound effect matches that of the German MP40s not the American M3s.
* Revealing mistakes: As the armored car is shown falling into the water at the end of the mission, some of the masonry falls away revealing the timber framing used to construct the bridge.
* Continuity: As the German guard walks away after having lit his cigarette off Pinkley's, Pinkley can be seen in the background coolly blowing smoke in the air and dropping the cigarette to his side. In the next shot, however, Pinkley is still staring dumbfounded at the guard with the cigarette held at chest height.
* Factual errors: After Sgt. Bowren dubs the "Dirty Dozen" with their titular nickname, he orders, "Dress right, dress." The men space off with left hand on belt and elbow extended to the side, which is "close interval dress". At the sergeant's order, they should have spaced off with the left arm extended at shoulder level.
* Continuity: When Kinder and Reisman sit down at the table to discuss the 12, a canteen appears which was not in the previous shot
* Factual errors: The 25-pounder howitzers used during the war games do not appear to recoil. They should in fact recoil the full length of the barrel.
* Continuity: Towards the end of the film, the Major is shot in the shoulder as he drives across the bridge. He immediately grabs the shoulder with his left hand in the wide shot. In the next close-up, that hand and forearm are covered in blood, but when the shot widens again there is no blood.
* Factual errors: Several times the characters fire their M3 Grease Guns with the dust cover closed. The dust cover doubled as the safety on those weapons and it would never fire with it closed.
* Anachronisms: The truck they are riding in while in town during the war games is an M-37 Dodge. This truck wasn't made until 1953, well after WWII.
* Continuity: As Wladislaw exits the room with the rope and hook, he drops the rope at his feet. In the next far shot, Wladislaw is holding the rope and again drops it at his feet before throwing the hook.
* Factual errors: Although US military personnel were executed on British soil during WW2, the hanging sequence in "The Dirty Dozen" shows US Military Policemen carrying out the execution. In reality, they were not legally allowed to do this. Instead, the hangings were carried out by British hangmen such as Albert Pierrepoint, with American personnel acting only as official witnesses.
* Factual errors: General Worden's barracks cap has gold braid on the visor, incorrect for the World War II period. Douglas MacArthur was the only U.S. Army general who wore a cap (of his own design) with unauthorized gold-braid on the visor during WWII.
* Factual errors: Although Major Reisman correctly wears an officer's overseas cap with the mixed black-and-gold braided trim on it in scenes in which he wears a dress uniform, he (incorrectly) wears an enlisted man's plain overseas cap in scenes in which he wears a fatigue, or field, uniform.
* Anachronisms: The hairstyles worn by the women in the film are 1967 hairstyles. The film is set in 1944.
* Continuity: In one scene, an alcohol bottle Major Reisman is drinking from appears to be near-empty during the two-shots. However, during the cutaway shot of Reisman in the same scene, the same bottle is completely full.
Aldbury, Hertfordshire, England, UK
(Devon village - Red Force Division 1 HQ)
Ashridge Management College, Little Gaddesden, Hertfordshire, England, UK
(Marston-Tyne Military Prison - recruitment of the dirty dozen)
Ashridge Park, Little Gaddesden, Hertfordshire, England, UK
Beachwood Park School, Markyate, Hertfordshire, England, UK
Chenies, Buckinghamshire, England, UK
Hendon Aerodrome, Hendon, London, England, UK
Little Gaddesden, Hertfordshire, England, UK
MGM British Studios, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, England, UK
(Borehamwood, England) (studio)
Markyate, Hertfordshire, England, UK
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