Small Squad Strikes Back
By Charles Brickley
from Andover, Hampshire England
, 17 Oct 2007
Whilst this war film was very watchable and a pleasant way to spend 90 minutes it was not what I expected.
Yes, Steve McQueen was good as the sulky, experienced ex-senior Non-Com called 'Reese' who had been busted back to buck Private, but was still voted by his Sergeant (Harry Guardino) as the best man to have with you in a tight spot.
Yes the Squad had a fair mixture of characters ranging from ex Davy Crockett Fess Parker as Sgt Pike to James Coburn as the devious whizz kid Cpl Henshaw.
Bob Newhart, then a top comedian, provided some light relief as the misappropriated clerk from HQ, Private Driscoll trying to mislead the Germans with the help of a field telephone.
All they needed was the Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges as the Waffen SS and the Wehrmacht and the scene would have been set for the best military comedy since 'Beau Hunks' with Laurel and Hardy (1931).
Regretfully I do not believe that this was such a good film as 'War Lover' which McQueen also made in 1962. If 'Hell is for Heroes' has a real fault, I believe that it has tried to mix comedy with pathos which is very hard to do.
Don Siegel managed a much better job of achieving this in 'Dirty Harry' and 'Charley Varrick', ten years after this film had been made.
Interesting and well worth hiring but it will not make my top 100 list.
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