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Castle Keep

Burt Lancaster , Patrick O'Neal , Sydney Pollack    DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An incredible piece of ... July 16 2004
Format:DVD
Yes it's true, Columbia has released this excellent movie in pan & scan! And to make it worse, contrary to what was said by an earlier reviewer, the original aspect ratio was not 1,85:1 but the full Panavision 2,40:1 framing (that's easy to check out, because the opening credits actually are shown in widescreen on the DVD). Well, that's it, folks, what we have here is another useless disc which all movie lovers should stay away from until Columbia finally understands what customers want.
1 star because I don't have any other choice (please Amazon, make it possible to give a 'Zero star' rating!)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Massive amounts of shame on Columbia July 22 2004
Format:DVD
No need to buy this DVD, a Panavision title released in pan & scan? Yep, we're back in the stone age.
Columbia pictures should be ashamed, heaping this crap on the public,the movie is no classic, but it's worth a look, but this transfer is awful. At least you get the opening credits in letterbox ;)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A lousy Pan & Scan transfer and a waste of money! July 11 2004
Format:DVD
"Castle Keep" is an interesting early film by Sydney Pollack that, I'm sorry to say, is absolutely ruined by Columbia's foolish decision to release it pan & scan rather than in the correct aspect ratio. The film's beautiful widescreen cinematography is one of its greatest assets, but on the DVD parts of the film are actually hard to make sense of because half of the image is cut off. (...). With so many other great films out there to see, I recommend that you don't waste your time with this one until Columbia releases a better version. Too bad.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pity no one wants it on DVD.... It's a masterpiece! March 25 2004
Format:VHS Tape
I review this movie, basing myself on a VHS copy I recorded from Cinemax some years ago. The only copy I own and which I cherish jealously.
I can only compare it to such other masterpieces as "When Trumpets Fade" and "On a Midnight Clear", to which it should be rightfully added, if one is a true movie "connaisseur".
Burt Lancaster's hour of excellence without a doubt, although let's never forget his performances in other movies such as "Sweet Smell of Success", "The Swimmer", "The Gypsy Moths", "Go Tell the Spartans" or "From Here to Eternity".
But let's not forget the strong performances delivered by Peter Falk (as a private who prefers to bake fresh bread, rather than fight a dirty war) and Bruce Dern (as a sort of conscience objector of the times).
The landscape, the scenery, are magic to say the least.
Filmed in plain winter in a fairytale-like village and countryside, it contrasts with the harsh reality of World War II.
In fact, most of the film is about peace, not about war.
These soldiers, all want a spot in which to be at peace, and thought they have found it, are then suddenly, brought back to reality through the German counteroffensive in the Ardennes.
Most of the movie, is a consideration on what a folly war is in the face of so simple realities of everyday life, such as indeed, baking bread, early in the morning and smelling its fresh and "clean" scent.
This is why it is so more shocking when the German counteroffensive hits home, waking everybody up, including us, the audience to this beautiful account.
It is so strident and so brutal, that everything that was so beautiful and peaceful turns to living hell.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Multiple Realities of War March 22 2004
By Robert Morris HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:VHS Tape
As I saw this film and Midnight Clear again recently, I thought about Stanley Weintraub's book Silent Night in which he discusses a brief period prior to Christmas in 1914, on the battlefields of Flanders, when German and British soldiers spontaneously agreed to declare a truce and suspend fighting, thereby defying their commanding officers. Centuries ago, knights and their attendants would work with their enemies to clear a field for combat the next day. Such cooperation had an obvious practical value. That's not what interests Weintraub as he examines a temporary truce during one of the bloodiest wars ever fought. It had little (if any) practical or tactical value but it did (and does) suggest a human need which transcends military obligations. However, war is war. After a brief respite, the carnage inevitably resumes.
Directed by Sydney Pollack and based on William Eastlake's novel, it stars Burt Lancaster (Major Abraham Falconer), Patrick O'Neal (as Captain Lionel Beckman), and Peter Falk (as Sergeant Orlando Rossi). They and their five associates are in Belgium during the winter of 1944 when they seek some R&R in the 10th century castle of Count Henri Tixier and his wife, Countess Therese. The Count is impotent and desperate for his wife to produce a male heir. Falconer is an obvious candidate to help the Count achieve his objective. Meanwhile, the war in Europe continues, of course, but the castle keeps them safe from its dangers and deprivations.
While seeing this film the first time and then again recently, I felt as if I were dreaming that I had returned to the 1940s in a time machine, to Belgium near the end of World War Two.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Underrated war movie May 3 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Castle Keep is a very good war movie with an excellent storyline that is a little different from other war movies. The story takes place in the Ardennes during WWII in the Battle of the Bulge. Eight walking wounded misfit Americans discover a castle whose count offers to let them stay there. The Americans must decide whether to stay and delay the Germans at the risk of destroying the beauty of the castle or just turning around and running for their own lines.
This movie boasts an excellent cast that includes Burt Lancaster, Peter Falk, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Tony Bill, Patrick O'Neal, and Bruce Dern. Lancaster gives another great performance as Major Falconer, the leader of the group. O'Neal is also very good as Captain Beckman, an art historian who wants to abandon the castle so it won't be destroyed by the advancing Germans. Another interesting performance is by Peter Falk as Sergeant Rossi, who disappears into the nearby town and becomes their baker. This movie has some anti-war messages, but at other times it is very funny. I hadn't heard of this movie before I saw it on TV, but it is very good. Well developed characters, good action, some humor, and an interesting if sometime out of place musical score. Either way this is a movie that is well worth watching.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately...
... Columbia-Tristar had an opportunity (really, an obligation to its movie-going and disc-buying audience) to remedy 30+ years of pan&scan broadcast/tape versions of CASTLE KEEP... Read more
Published on July 14 2004 by panjandrum
5.0 out of 5 stars THE PAINS OF WAR
War and a few misfits. They don't have to fight any longer. They have to protect art. There is a castle full of rare art. Read more
Published on May 15 2003 by Boris Zubry
3.0 out of 5 stars An Artsy Take on War?
It's tough to tell whether "Castle Keep" is groundbreaking or just plain pretentious--it's one of those films that features an explosion of ideas that on first glance seem to dart... Read more
Published on April 30 2003 by Stephen Kaczmarek
4.0 out of 5 stars Patton at the Alamo
Like "Moby Dick", an allegorical tale suffers when it is translated to a visual medium; yet this film DOES capture the surrealism of war that author William Eastlake must have... Read more
Published on April 17 2003 by Thomas H Ross
5.0 out of 5 stars Where's the DVD?
How existential do you want to get in describing this story? Passions during war? Lancaster gives one his best performances -- but then again, when was he bad? Read more
Published on Aug. 30 2002 by Ross
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece
Burt Lancaster gives a brilliant, measured performance in this anti-war film that features a top notch director ( Sydney Pollack), first rate cast ( Patrick O'Neal, Peter Falk,... Read more
Published on April 17 2002 by M. Sermon
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Bad the Battle Sequence is at the Conclusion
Another of the bizarre World War Two movies to have been filmed in Yugoslavia. The film hosts quite an impressive cast attached to a very strange story. Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2002 by Kevin R. Austra
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