The Night of the Generals, the 1967 film directed by Anatole Litvak, stars Peter O’Toole, Omar Sharif, Donald Pleasance, Tom Courtenay, Joanna Pettet, and Philippe Noiret. This film in my opinion is not only the best war movie ever made, but also one of the top ten movies of all time, and it’s a murder mystery! Today as promised I have a guest on board who actually agrees with me. He is a WWII veteran, so I suppose he should know what he’s talking about. For reasons of privacy, the town he comes from will be kept under wraps as well as his last name.
“Charley, the town you come from boasts a higher percentage of nonagenarians than any other municipality in this country. To what do you attribute such amazing longevity?”
“We take care of one another, Deary, that’s what a town is supposed to do, so we damn well do it.”
“What do you like about The Night of the Generals? Is it a question of accuracy? Or something else?”
“I don’t go to the movies for accuracy; I went to war for accuracy. When I came home, I wasn’t interested in watching a bunch of goddamn movies about what we just had to put up with for four years. Maybe you don’t know Deary, most of them movies about WWII were part of the war effort. We did out effort, so we didn’t need to watch them movies.”
“Then what’s so different about this film? It is after all, a war movie.”
“Didn’t I tell you, Deary, that I was the D.A. for 50 years? And you know what that means; it means I spent a lot of time observin’ human nature. All those laws, I had to learn ’em sure enough, but it always comes down to human nature, no matter what. The Night of the Generals is about justice in a world that is burning. And when the world is burning, the only thing that can save it is justice. It’s all about a man, just one man and how he made a difference. Now you listen here, Deary, you heard me say one man, but I didn’t say goin’ it alone, did I? He had help, but if you took him out of the equation, then there would have been no story. Just like in my town, we are a town of individuals who help one another. We need more of that in this country, sure enough we do. You can put that in your bonnet and wear it, Deary.”