Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Martino Time! Connery! Quinn! 1989's CASABLANCA EXPRESS

Okay, so it's Jason (Connery) and Francesco (Quinn) but the latest dose of Martino Time is actually a lightweight but fun WWII thriller from Sergio Martino that's extremely reminiscent of Anthony Margheriti efforts like CODE NAME: WILD GEESE and COMMANDO LEOPARD.

It's November 1942 in North Africa and the allies need to get British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to Casablanca for a conference with FDR. Elderly allied commanders Glenn Ford (!) and Donald Pleasance (!) put their heads together with the French and come up with a plan to spirit Churchill out of Algiers and across the territory on "The Casablanca Express".

Naturally, spies tip the Nazis to the plan and the train is soon under attack by Otto Van Tiblis (Manfred Lehmann of the aforementioned CODE NAME: WILD GEESE and COMMANDO LEOPARD in the role a young Klaus Kinski might have played) and some German paratroopers. Cooper (Connery) is the Brit's top "Expert in Impossible Operations" but he's detained in Algiers after he sniffs out a French rat and uncovers the plot to take the train, killing some folks in the process.

Once the French spy is uncovered (guess what? it's the guy you immediately think it is!), Connery is sent to rescue or kill Churchill.

Predictable and lightweight, CASABLANCA EXPRESS is actually lots of fun, especially if you're watching it – like I did – while you're cleaning the kitchen and fixing a broken dishwasher. It plays like the kind of tv movie they don't make anymore, but with totally gratuitous boobs from co-star Jinny Steffan (as a fiesty Lieutenant who also happens to be sleeping with Cooper), a lot of bullet-riddled civilians (including a little girl who gets sewn up thanks to silk stockings), coffee torture, a pro-penicillin diatribe, and surprising lines like "Is it true Adolph Hitler fucks your whore of a mother?"!

Recommended as long as you don't plan on concentrating too hard.

CASABLANCA EXPRESS is available from Amazon.

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