After hearing for years about Quentin Tarantino‘s affection for Enzo G. Castellari‘s The Inglorious Bastards (1978) and how it led to QT’s writing his own version, I was naturally into catching the just-out DVD of the 1978 original. I was presuming that something strange or kinky would pop out — some facsimile of that battlefield Sam Fuller vitality, strange freewheeling dialogue, servings of left-field perversity…something.
So I popped it into the player last night, and in less than 90 seconds I was faced with the inescapable fact that Quentin Tarantino‘s affection for ’60s and ’70s exploitation fare is essentially a con as far as people with actual taste in movies is concerned, and that The Inglorious Bastards was and is a waste of time, celluloid and general expenditure.
I want the minutes I spent watching this DVD last night back. I felt rooked, polluted, flim-flammed. It’s not one of those so-bad-it’s-kinda-good B pics that you can sort of get off on if you’re in a loose and joshing mood. It’s just third-rate crap in every way imaginable way. I’m talking lazy and sometimes ludicrously bad performances, unconvincing violence, way-too-bright lighting, dubbed dialogue, absurd haircuts, zero character involvement, careless plotting, and rifle fire that sounds like amplified cap guns.
Even the skinny-dipping scene with the SS girls in the country stream, which I was looking forward to, is ruined by being too hasty and over-before-you-blink. Why didn’t Castellari decide to have the “bastards” somehow melt the hearts and turn the allegiances of the SS women and have them all team up in a common effort? Why not? It’s just a stupid B movie anyway.
I was thinking that the two stars, Bo Svenson and Fred Williamson, might at least deliver a little warmth and comfort with their natural charisma, but they haven’t a chance against Castellari’s clunky story and fourth-rate Sgt. Rock dialogue.