The Devil's Brigade (1968)

130 mins | Drama | 15 May 1968

Director:

Andrew V. McLaglen

Writer:

William Roberts

Producer:

David L. Wolper

Cinematographer:

William H. Clothier

Production Designer:

Alfred Sweeney

Production Company:

Wolper Pictures, Ltd.
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HISTORY

The 6 Apr 1966 Var announced that producer David L. Wolper would film a screen adaptation of The Devil’s Brigade, Robert H. Adleman and George Walton’s yet-to-be-published novel. The project was set up at United Artists (UA), and William Roberts was said to have recently completed the screenplay. In summer 1966, Wolper traveled to Washington, D.C., seeking Pentagon cooperation on the picture, according to a 21 Jul 1966 DV item. Andrew V. McLaglen was brought on to direct, the 23 Nov 1966 DV reported, and location shooting was scheduled to begin in Salt Lake City, UT, in Apr 1967. Production was still underway in Italy on 3 Jul 1967, according to that day’s DV.
       Items in the 9 Dec 1966 and 13 Jan 1967 DV stated that David Niven and Dan Blocker were offered roles. The 19 Jan 1967 DV announced that Aldo Ray had been cast. The following actors were listed as cast members in the 4 Apr 1967 and 19 Jun 1967 DV: Gina Grant; Rita Rogers; Maggie Threet; Patrick Waltz.
       A behind-the-scenes documentary of the film was set to be produced and directed by William Kronick, according to a 23 Mar 1967 DV brief, which stated that filming of pre-production activities would begin that day. The documentary special was being made for television.
       Principal photography began on 10 Apr 1967, and was scheduled to end on 3 Jul 1967 in London, England, items in the 13 Apr 1967 and 14 Apr 1967 DV noted. The 29 May 1967 DV announced that cast and ... More Less

The 6 Apr 1966 Var announced that producer David L. Wolper would film a screen adaptation of The Devil’s Brigade, Robert H. Adleman and George Walton’s yet-to-be-published novel. The project was set up at United Artists (UA), and William Roberts was said to have recently completed the screenplay. In summer 1966, Wolper traveled to Washington, D.C., seeking Pentagon cooperation on the picture, according to a 21 Jul 1966 DV item. Andrew V. McLaglen was brought on to direct, the 23 Nov 1966 DV reported, and location shooting was scheduled to begin in Salt Lake City, UT, in Apr 1967. Production was still underway in Italy on 3 Jul 1967, according to that day’s DV.
       Items in the 9 Dec 1966 and 13 Jan 1967 DV stated that David Niven and Dan Blocker were offered roles. The 19 Jan 1967 DV announced that Aldo Ray had been cast. The following actors were listed as cast members in the 4 Apr 1967 and 19 Jun 1967 DV: Gina Grant; Rita Rogers; Maggie Threet; Patrick Waltz.
       A behind-the-scenes documentary of the film was set to be produced and directed by William Kronick, according to a 23 Mar 1967 DV brief, which stated that filming of pre-production activities would begin that day. The documentary special was being made for television.
       Principal photography began on 10 Apr 1967, and was scheduled to end on 3 Jul 1967 in London, England, items in the 13 Apr 1967 and 14 Apr 1967 DV noted. The 29 May 1967 DV announced that cast and crew would move to Los Angeles, CA, the following day, and to Italy on 10 Jun 1967. Location shooting also took place in Salt Lake City, UT, where some scenes were shot on the Jordan River.
       The 4 Jan 1968 DV announced that the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of National Defense in Canada had viewed the film and approved it “for release under official credits of both countries.” The item also noted that the U.S. National Guard Bureau, members of which from the Utah National Guardhad participated as background actors, had also okayed the film.
       Dual world premieres were scheduled to take place on 14 May 1968 at the Michigan Theatre in Detroit, MI, and at the Vanity Theatre in Windsor, Ontario. Theatrical release took place the following day in Detroit, and on 22 May 1968 in Los Angeles, CA, and New York City. Critical reception was tepid. A box-office chart in the 8 Jan 1969 Var listed film rentals for the year 1968 as $4.2 million.
       David Wolper planned to write a book titled The Making of a Film – The Devil’s Brigade, for which he had written 900 pages of manuscript to be reduced, the 9 Aug 1967 DV reported.
       Gretchen Wyler and professional football player Paul Hornung made their feature film acting debuts in the picture, as noted in the 17 Mar 1967 LAT and 26 Apr 1967 Var. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
3 Jun 1966
p. 18.
Daily Variety
21 Jul 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
23 Nov 1966
p. 1.
Daily Variety
9 Dec 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
13 Jan 1967
p. 2.
Daily Variety
19 Jan 1967
p. 3.
Daily Variety
23 Mar 1967
p. 10.
Daily Variety
24 Mar 1967
p. 4.
Daily Variety
4 Apr 1967
p. 4.
Daily Variety
13 Apr 1967
p. 2.
Daily Variety
14 Apr 1967
p. 12.
Daily Variety
19 Jun 1967
p. 4.
Daily Variety
30 Jun 1967
p. 2.
Daily Variety
3 Jul 1967
p. 2.
Daily Variety
9 Aug 1967
p. 4.
Daily Variety
4 Jan 1968
p. 10.
Daily Variety
21 Mar 1968
p. 6.
Los Angeles Times
11 Oct 1966
Section C, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
17 Mar 1967
Section D, p. 17.
Los Angeles Times
8 Jun 1967
Section E, p. 18.
Los Angeles Times
7 May 1968
Section D, p. 21.
Los Angeles Times
22 May 1968
Section C, p. 15.
New York Times
23 May 1968
p. 56.
Variety
6 Apr 1966
p. 46.
Variety
26 Apr 1967
p. 28.
Variety
29 May 1967
p. 2.
Variety
10 Jan 1968
p. 7.
Variety
27 Mar 1968
p. 88.
Variety
1 May 1968
p. 6.
Variety
8 Jan 1969
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
MUSIC
Mus comp & cond
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Sp eff supv
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Prod mgr
Stunt supv
Main titles
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Devil's Brigade by Robert H. Adleman, George Walton (Philadelphia, 1966).
DETAILS
Release Date:
15 May 1968
Premiere Information:
World premieres in Detroit and Windsor, Canada: 14 May 1968
Detroit opening: 15 May 1968
Los Angeles and New York openings: 22 May 1968
Production Date:
10 April--3 July 1967
Copyright Claimant:
Wolper Pictures, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
14 May 1968
Copyright Number:
LP36811
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
130
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

While awaiting the massing of United States power during the bleakest phase of World War II, England begins preparing for commando raids against Nazi-occupied Europe. As part of the desperate operation, the Allies create the 1st Special Service Force to plan and carry out an attack on Norway in hopes of tying up large numbers of German troops. The force of efficiently trained Canadian soldiers and rebellious American G.I. misfits is trained in Montana under the leadership of Lt. Col. Robert T. Frederick, a desk-bound army intellectual who has never before held a field command. Antagonism between the Canadians and the Americans, as well as between their respective leaders, Maj. Alan Crown and Maj. Cliff Bricker, at first threatens to disrupt the guerrilla training. But Frederick uses the men's mutual enmity as the basis for a rivalry that eventually welds them together as one highly disciplined fighting force. Shortly before they are scheduled for embarkation to Europe, the Canadians and Americans engage in a tavern brawl with some local lumberjacks, and, as a result of the free-for-all, the two groups of soldiers discover a camaraderie that had not heretofore existed on the surface. Then, when Frederick feels his outfit is ready for combat, he receives word that the Norway operation has been cancelled and the unit is to be disbanded. Appealing to Washington, he is granted a different assignment for his men--patrolling near the German lines in southern Italy. After capturing an enemy-held village, the unit is given the seemingly impossible task of taking Mt. La Difensa. Although the men accomplish their mission by scaling the precipitous mountainside, their losses are far greater than anticipated. Nonetheless, it is a ... +


While awaiting the massing of United States power during the bleakest phase of World War II, England begins preparing for commando raids against Nazi-occupied Europe. As part of the desperate operation, the Allies create the 1st Special Service Force to plan and carry out an attack on Norway in hopes of tying up large numbers of German troops. The force of efficiently trained Canadian soldiers and rebellious American G.I. misfits is trained in Montana under the leadership of Lt. Col. Robert T. Frederick, a desk-bound army intellectual who has never before held a field command. Antagonism between the Canadians and the Americans, as well as between their respective leaders, Maj. Alan Crown and Maj. Cliff Bricker, at first threatens to disrupt the guerrilla training. But Frederick uses the men's mutual enmity as the basis for a rivalry that eventually welds them together as one highly disciplined fighting force. Shortly before they are scheduled for embarkation to Europe, the Canadians and Americans engage in a tavern brawl with some local lumberjacks, and, as a result of the free-for-all, the two groups of soldiers discover a camaraderie that had not heretofore existed on the surface. Then, when Frederick feels his outfit is ready for combat, he receives word that the Norway operation has been cancelled and the unit is to be disbanded. Appealing to Washington, he is granted a different assignment for his men--patrolling near the German lines in southern Italy. After capturing an enemy-held village, the unit is given the seemingly impossible task of taking Mt. La Difensa. Although the men accomplish their mission by scaling the precipitous mountainside, their losses are far greater than anticipated. Nonetheless, it is a telling victory--and one which earns for the 1st Special Service Force the grudging admiration of the Germans and the title "The Devil's Brigade." +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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