Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 4th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, September 20th, 1969
Director: Enzo G. Castellari
Writers: Tito Carpi, Vincenzo Flamini, José Luis Martínez Mollá, Guilles Morris Dumoulin, Enzo G. Castellari
Cast: Frederick Stafford, Van Johnson, Francisco Rabal, Ida Galli, Luigi Pistilli, Renzo Palmer, Luis Dávila, Christian Hay, Jacques Berthier, Teresa Gimpera, George Rigaud, Eduardo Fajardo
BluRay released: October 13th, 2009
Approximate running time: 112 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
BluRay Release: Severin Films
Region Coding: Region 0
Retail Price: $34.95
Synopsis: German spies looking to disarm Britain’s radar capabilities disguise themselves as British soldiers in hopes of gaining access into England.
Eagles over London was director Enzo G. Castellari’s first foray into the Italian film genre often referred to as Macaroni Combat (World War 2 based films). Even though Eagles over London is not as celebrated and as well known as The Inglorious Bastards, his only other foray into this genre. It is certainly the more polished of the two films. Also Eagles over London approaches the war it is depicting with a more serious tone, then the more exploitative The Inglorious Bastards. Since its release Eagles over London has went under a variety of alternate titles including Battle Command, Battle Squadron and its Italian language title is “La battaglia d’Inghilterra” which roughly translates to The Battle of Britain.
The plot quickly jumps into action as the British soldiers get ready to blow up a bridge. Unfortunately before they can execute their goal, they are unknowingly infiltrated by Nazi spies. From there the rest of the film unfolds like a cat and mouse game where the British slowly, but surely put the pieces together and try to track down the Nazi spies.
Outside of the a battle between the German’s and the British over London the bulk of the action is spent flushing out the Nazi spies who are hell bent on not causing havoc as they leave a large body count of victims who have crossed their paths. One of Eagles over London’s more surprisingly aspects of this film is how well the action sequences come together. Sure there are some obvious uses of scale models and stock war time footage (both of which add more than they ever take away from the overall enjoyment of this film). In the middle of the all the chaos that is unfolding is one of the more unusual love scenes ever filmed. During one of the German bombing of London the films main character Captain Paul Stevens and his girlfriend Meg make love with the explosions in the night which look like fireworks for the pent up passion they have just unleashed.
Another area in which Eagles over London excels is its well rounded cast who are all very good and convincing in their respective roles. The cast features many recognizable names Frederick Stafford (Topaz), Van Johnson (The Caine Mutiny), Ida Galli (Case of the Scorpion’s Tail), Luigi Pistilli (For a Few Dollars More), Eduardo Fajardo (Django) and Francisco Rabal (L’eclisse). The score for Eagles over London was composed by Francesco De Masi (Any Gun Can Play, Fistful of Lead, The Inglorious Bastards, The New York Ripper). Despite its flaws and lofty ambitions, Eagles over London is an engaging enough film that somehow manages to overcome most of these obstacles.
Eagles over London, comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. Colors look nicely saturated and accurate, flesh tones look healthy and black levels and contrast fare well throughout. Details generally look crisp throughout, grain looks intact and there are no problems with edge enhancement or DNR. Even the actual war footage that is integrated from other sources looks pretty good considering the condition of some of sources. Outside of a few minor blemishes the source used for this transfer is in great shape.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital stereo surround mix in English. The audio is also in good shape as dialog is always clear, everything sounds balanced and there are no problems with distortion or any other audio defects. The audio is at its best during the battle / bombing sequences.
Extras for this release include English language trailers for Eagles over London (4 Minutes 38 seconds – Anamorphic Widescreen) and The Inglorious Bastards (3 Minutes 52 seconds – Anamorphic Widescreen), a deleted scenes (32 seconds – Anamorphic Widescreen – in Italian with English subtitles), a Q & A segment titled “Eagles over Los Angeles” (16 Minutes 34 seconds – Anamorphic Widescreen) and part two of Quentin Tarantino’s conversation with director Enzo G. Castellari (14 Minutes 15 seconds – Anamorphic Widescreen). Over the two segments Enzo G. Castellari and Quentin Tarantino discuss American actors working in Italy, split screen and other film techniques, how Enzio became involved with Eagles over London and how he replaced Alberto De Martino who was originally hired to direct Eagles over London and Tarantino inquires about the connection between Eagles over London with two films other Italian made war films, Dirty Heroes (directed by Alberto De Martino) and From Hell to Victory (directed by Umberto Lenzi), which actually borrows a lot of footage from Eagles over London. Overall this is another solid BluRay release from Severin films.