The Battle of the Damned (1969)

The Battle of the Damned (1969) starring Dale Cummings

Destruction of the Dump

A small bunch of American commandos under the leadership of Captain Bruce Clay (Dale Cummings) are assigned a mission to trek across North Africa to find and destroy a large German fuel depot. But not only is their journey littered with dangerous encounters such as a German plane but also some animosity towards Clay who has a reputation for risking men's lives.

The minute I read a synopsis for "The Battle of the Damned" which was originally called "Quella dannata pattuglia" I knew what to expect. Here was one of those war time mission movies where a group of soldiers have to battle constant danger to destroy a target, in this case fuel dumps which for those who know their war movies will most likely remind them of "Tobruk". But what "The Battle of the Damned" is is an Italian made war movie from 1969 and as such has the potential to be different to the Hollywood movies which preceded it.

Unfortunately whilst "The Battle of the Damned" might have had the potential to be a fresh take on a familiar concept it just ends up an inferior take on that familiar concept. Everything about it is typical from the conflicts between the men such as the dislike of Captain Clay to the dangers they find themselves in such as being spotted by a German fighter plane which opens fire on them. But with it being a lesser budgeted Italian movie the action isn't spectacular and director Bianchi Montero often prefers to focus on the men arguing with each other which doesn't work as it has that unnatural look of Italian actors mouthing the words but we hear voices which often feel detached.

Eventually "The Battle of the Damned" does become half decent when it reaches its climax and Montero goes all out to deliver atmosphere and action. It is the best the movie gets although even then it still lacks something you get from big budget Hollywood movies.

What this all boils down to is that "The Battle of the Damned" is some ways typical of an Italian made war movie from the 60s but it is also quite disappointing because all it does is work through ideas already covered in earlier war movies.