Castle Keep

Overview

This decidedly different war movie follows Maj. Abraham Falconer (Burt Lancaster), a tired, one-eyed Army officer, as he leads eight men into Belgium where they hope to take a much-needed rest at a 10th century castle. The master of the house, Henri Tixier (Jean-Pierre Aumont), welcomes them with a surprising degree of enthusiasm. Tixier is married to his young niece, Therese (Astrid Heeren), and the couple would like to have a child, but since Tixier is impotent, he has been unable to father one. He encourages ...
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Overview

This decidedly different war movie follows Maj. Abraham Falconer (Burt Lancaster), a tired, one-eyed Army officer, as he leads eight men into Belgium where they hope to take a much-needed rest at a 10th century castle. The master of the house, Henri Tixier (Jean-Pierre Aumont), welcomes them with a surprising degree of enthusiasm. Tixier is married to his young niece, Therese (Astrid Heeren), and the couple would like to have a child, but since Tixier is impotent, he has been unable to father one. He encourages Falconer to see if he can have better luck with Therese. The men under Falconer's command have more than a few escapades of their own, as Sgt. Rossi (Peter Falk) seduces the wife of a local baker, an art historian among them tries to protect the treasures of the castle, and a car buff becomes fascinated by his first encounter with a Volkswagen. Amidst the surreal fun and games at the castle, the soldiers make the most of their well-deserved vacation until an invasion of German troops puts them back on the firing line. Directed by Sydney Pollack, Castle Keep was based on a novel by William Eastlake.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; [None specified]
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
Directed by Sydney Pollack, who was tapped to helm the project by friend and star Burt Lancaster, Castle Keep is a confusing, pretentious mess. The premise, of a half-mad one-eyed WWII major (Lancaster) who holes up with his men in a treasure-laden fortress and prepares to take on the Nazis, sounds enticing. And Pollack and producers Martin Ransohoff and John Calley assembled a game cast, including not only Lancaster but also Peter Falk, a pre-Hill Street Blues Michael Conrad, Jean-Pierre Aumont and Patrick O'Neal. Certainly, everything looks decadent, too, shot as it was in the Yugoslavian countryside by master cinematographer Henri Decae (Les Amants). So what went wrong? Well, to begin with, this adventure operates on the strange, alien landscape of cerebral allegory, yet doesn't define any of the symbolism adequately enough to stay coherent. Back in 1969, many fans of William Eastlake's source novel - a blackly comedic, Catch-22 like tale of military insanity - swore by the genius of this screen adaptation, lauding the literary faithfulness of Pollack and master scribes David Rayfiel and Daniel Taradash. The remainder of viewers were likely bewildered by the impenetrability of what plays out onscreen, and stayed away in droves. There are a few diverting scenes, such as Falk's opportunistic (and humorous) affair with a baker's wife; otherwise, the film is a dud. Castle Keep predictably bombed, but merely a few months later, Pollack's searing drama They Shoot Horses, Don't They? hit theaters, swept up Oscar nominations, and cinched the director's reputation.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/2/2004
  • UPC: 043396095205
  • Original Release: 1969
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:47:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Burt Lancaster Maj. Abraham Falconer
Patrick O'Neal Capt. Lionel Beckman
Jean-Pierre Aumont Henri Tixier, Comte de Maldorais
Peter Falk Sgt. Orlando Rossi
Scott Wilson Cpl. Ralph Clearboy
Bruce Dern Lt. Billy Byron Bix
Tony Bill Lieutenant Amberiack
Al Freeman Jr. Pfc. Alistair Benjamin
James Patterson Pvt. Henry Three Ears of an Elk
Michael Conrad Sgt de Vaca
Caterina Boratto The Red Queen
Astrid Heeren Therese, Contesse de Maldorais
Harry Baird Dancing Soldier
Ernest Clark British Colonel
Elizabeth Tessier The Red Queen's girl
Karen Blanguernon The Red Queen's girl
Technical Credits
Sydney Pollack Director
John Calley Producer
Malcolm Cooke Editor
Henri Decaƫ Cinematographer
Max Douy Art Director
Marc Maurette Asst. Director
Charles Merangel Set Decoration/Design
Michel Legrand Score Composer
Mort Rabinowitz Art Director
Martin Ransohoff Producer
David Rayfiel Screenwriter
Edward L. Rissien Producer
Dick Sanders Choreography
Daniel Taradash Screenwriter
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Start [:15]
2. Reconnaissance [9:42]
3. Young Wild Animals [8:50]
4. Art and History Lessons [10:11]
5. What We Do for a Living [11:28]
6. Germans Break Through [8:14]
7. Retreat Through Town [9:27]
8. Red Queen Cocktails [10:55]
9. Tank Trap [9:35]
10. First Wave [6:35]
11. "We're Screwed." [4:46]
12. Last Stand [10:10]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Play Previews
   English Subtitles
   Japanese Subtitles
   Korean Subtitles
   Subtitles Off
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2003

    stunning allegry : best film ever

    A film I still hanker after. I believe it is over the heads of many as it is nothing like a typical war film. The clue is in the title. Unfortunately it is not released in the UK. Can any one help with a UK video or DVD? Chris Nicholls 71, Fore St. BODMIN PL31 2JB England.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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