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Attack on the Iron Coast (1968)

During World War II, a commando leader named Major Jamie Wilson leads a group of soldiers on a suicide mission to destroy a Nazi naval stronghold on the French coast.

Director:

Paul Wendkos

Writers:

Herman Hoffman (screenplay), John C. Champion (story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Lloyd Bridges ... Major Jamie Wilson
Andrew Keir ... Captain Franklin
Sue Lloyd ... Sue Wilson
Mark Eden ... Lieutenant Commander Donald Kimberly
Maurice Denham ... Rear Admiral Sir Frederick Grafton
Glyn Owen Glyn Owen ... Forrester
Howard Pays Howard Pays ... Lieutenant Graham
Walter Gotell ... Van Horst
John Welsh ... Admiral of the Fleet Lord William Cansley
George Mikell George Mikell ... Captain Strasser
Ernest Clark ... Air Vice Marshall Woodbridge
Dick Haydon Dick Haydon ... Pringle
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Storyline

During WW2, Canadian Major Jamie Wilson suggests a commando raid against a German-occupied French port where a large dry-dock is used by the enemy to re-fit battleships. The well-defended French coast has been dubbed the Iron Coast by the Germans. The British command is reluctant to give the green-light to this operation, code-named Operation Mad Dog, mainly because of the high chance of failure. The Canadian officer is known to have botched a few previous operations under his command. The main opponent of the Mad Dog operation is a Royal Navy captain whose son died during a failed commando raid led by Major Jamie Wilson. However, after much debate and haggling, the operation is approved by the R.N. Admiral in charge. The training of the commandos is harsh, under real battle conditions featuring live explosions and machine-gun fire. During the training, several accidents occur, resulting in a few deaths and wounds. The operation's future hangs into balance but it finally receives the ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They turned a dead ship into a live bomb and sailed it down the throat of the enemy!

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 July 1968 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Attaque sur le mur de l'Atlantique See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Unlike the movie where the German Commander seemed to sense that the ship could be a real problem; when the ship blew up several hours later there was a group of about 30 German officers touring the craft when it blew up. See more »

Goofs

In the opening scene Lloyd Bridges is watching newsreel footage of British troops attacking Germans but some of the shots are from the German point of view. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Easy Rider (1969) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fair Canadian commando flick with a good cast
4 November 2002 | by SgtSlaughterSee all my reviews

Paul Wendkos is an average director at best, but has the ability to turn a potentially terrible movie into a satisfying action flick. "Attack on the Iron Coast" is yet another low-budget entry in a series from Oakmont Production, and although it presents nothing new, but holds attention so well that the clichés are easy to overlook.

John C. Champion's script is a fictional takeoff on a real WWII event, much like his earlier and much worse "Submarine X-1". This time, the story is based on Mountbatten's raid on the dry dock at St. Nazaire, in which a ship laden with explosives crashed into the repair dock and destroyed important German repair facilities.

Lloyd Bridges ("A Walk in the Sun") plays Major Wilson (a takeoff on Lord Mountbatten), who's first commando mission in France turns into a shambles. But he is given a second chance when he plans an even riskier operation to destroy the German repair dock at LeClair (Ste-Nazaire). The only problem is that Captain Franklin (Andrew Keir, "Lion of the Desert") is opposed to the mission from the start, and the two must cooperate as the mission is a joint Army-Navy operation.

This film is really a mixed bag. What's good is really, really good and what's bad is really, really bad. Lloyd Bridges gives a sincere performance as Major Wilson, but his character isn't developed as much as I would have liked. We're treated two a two-dimensional hero who doesn't have any weaknesses; he brings to mind John Wayne's Colonel Kirby of "The Green Berets". His conflict with Franklin is the core of the movie and provides enough tension that the German enemies aren't needed until the final act.

The German characters are disappointing. We're treated to some very shallow characterizations which bring to mind the worst excesses of "Hogan's Heroes". The officers sit and watch dirty movies and become sated on fine wine and liquor while their subordinates bring in urgent reports of an approaching enemy ship. This is very unfortunate, because both George Mikell and Walter Gotell are very capable German actors who have had very good roles in the past - chiefly, "The Guns of Navarone", where they acted together in 1961. This really let me down. It would have been wiser to exclude German characters altogether and dwell on the commandos some more.

The action sequences are withheld until the final 20 minutes or so of the film and range from well-crafted to laughable. Scenes of British commandos dashing about in alleyways and dockyards are excellently staged and well-shot, even if they're very generic. The scenes of British minesweeper in the bay, however, feature some of the worst miniature work of the period. It's obvious that this feature had a low budget, because they aren't many extras or realistic explosions in the entire film.

Wendkos manages to keep things interesting by moving his camera fluidly and often shooting from high or low angles, giving the audience a unique perspective on the dialogue or action. The sets are all-top notch and the exteriors are very well-decorated. The German dockyard is expansive and really has a fresh, authentic feel to it and the various British war offices are equally believable.

"Attack on the Iron Coast" is nothing more than a routine, satisfying 90-minute film. There is nothing fresh and unique about it, but some fair acting and fast pace keep it engaging.


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