Saturday, June 8, 2013

FORGOTTEN GEM? Overlord (1975)

                 Sometimes someone you deeply respect recommends a war movie that had never heard of.  In gratitude and out of respect, you find and watch the film.  Unfortunately, you sometimes find out that your comrade and you have differing opinions on said film.  But that’s what makes the world go round, right?
                “Overlord” is an obscure film by director Stuart Cooper released in 1975.  It is about a young British soldier named Beddows (Brian Stirner).  He has a premonition that the war will not end well for him and the movie takes us on his journey from boot camp to bullet.  Supposedly the boot camp scenes influenced Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket”.  If so it must have motivated Kubrick to not be lame.  In Beddows boot camp, screw-ups are not severely punished.  Must have been nice to be in the British Army back then.  However, Beddows is put in a cell because he falls down a hill trying to catch up with his squad.  Seems inconsistent, no?
                Beddows goes through assault training.  He meets a girl and shockingly she bares her breasts.  This is the kind of movie where after watching a half hour of it you would bet your life there will be no nudity.  Unfortunately, there would need to be an orgy to make up for the rest of the film.  It has the requisite camp montage – mess call, playing cards, etc.  Finally, it’s off to D-Day in an amazingly stable landing craft.  His premonition comes true as does my early vibe that this movie sucks.
                Cooper has been patted on the back for his copious use of archival footage from the Imperial War Museum.  The footage is pretty well blended although it is obvious when we are watching it.  As the movie went on I began to realize that a large amount of the footage was unrelated to the story!  I guess it’s because I have seen so many WWII documentaries.  Perhaps this faux pas does not bother the average viewer, but I found it embarrassingly sloppy.  Some of the footage is of American soldiers and much of it is from aircraft (even some gun camera footage of shoot downs).  I can only guess that Stirner chose clips that had similar quality regardless of the content.
                It is possible to make a good low budget war movie.  “84 Charle Mopic” is a great example of this.  However, most of the time low budget equates to bad.  An example would be “Everyman’s War”.  Heck, “Overlord” was so low budget half of the movie was free footage from a museum and the actors should have worked for minimum wage.  “Overlord” won the Special Jury Prize at the 25th Berlin International Film Festival.  WTF.
grade =  F
For an alternative review, go to All About War Movies


  1. Yeah well.... I don't think I need to re-emphasise how much I liked it.
    I think it still makes my top 20.

  2. Top 20? You have to be kidding. We can not be talking about the same movie. By the way, that is of course you I am referring to in the first sentence. Well, we agree more often than not so its cool.

    Check the addition I made after the grade.

  3. Obviously it was me you wre referring to.
    I think you disregard an aspect I find importnat in war movie and that is emotional truth, or something along those lines. When a movie makes me experinece something or feel a certain way - no matter how accurate or historical - I can appreciate it.
    I don't think it got prizes for no reason. You focus too much on history/story/plot.

  4. I appreciate your perspective and there is merit to it.


Please fell free to comment. I would love to hear what you think and will respond.