The Secret Invasion
Time Out saysThis Dirty Dozen predates Aldrich's by three years, with Granger leading five convicts, against the promise of free pardons, in a suicidal World War II bid to kidnap an influential Italian general from a Nazi fortress in Dubrovnik. Corman delivers the action all right, making particularly suspenseful use of a device - lacking watches, each member of the team keeps time by rhythmically snapping his fingers so that stages of the kidnap plan can be coordinated - which springs several ingenious surprises on both Nazis and audience. But the real fascination of the film is the extent to which it is cloaked in characteristic Corman/Gothic motifs: Silva's role as the killer with 'dead eyes', inevitably fated to kill his own love; the disguise as hooded monks adopted for the final showdown; Granger's death in an idyllic forest glade after using his own blood to lead a pack of tracker dogs astray. Unexpectedly, the overall tone is strangely elegiac.