Near the end of World War II, American Major Falconer (Burt Lancaster) leads his weary eight-man squadron to a perfectly preserved medieval castle in the Ardennes Forest. Castle Keep's owner, the aging Count of Maldorais (Jean-Pierre Aumont), shelters the servicemen in hopes they will defend his fortress and his priceless collection of art masterpieces from the advancing German troops. But the servicemen have plans of their own. Major Falconer begins an illicit affair with the Count's beautiful young wife, while Sgt. Rossi (Peter Falk) romances the wife of an absent baker. As the German soldiers push forward, a deadly game of possession ensues, leading to a spectacular ground battle for keeper of the castle. Shaded with off-beat comic moments - a soldier (In Cold Blood's Scott Wilson) falls in love with a battered Volkswagen and a religious fanatic (Bruce Dern) leads his shell-shocked troops through the bombed-out streets - Castle Keep features a top-notch cast hailed as "excellent" by Vincent Canby (New York Times).
Sydney Pollack directs this dramatic allegory about an American military squadron seeking refuge in a castle in the Ardennes Forest during the final days of World War II. When the soldiers get a little too comfortable in their new environment, they spark a conflict with its owner over the castle and its contents--a collection of priceless objets d'art and a beautiful young wife. The screenplay is adapted from William Eastlake's novel of the same name.
Description by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment:
It's 1944, a tired, one-eyed major, and his weary eight-man squad are lodged at CASTLE KEEP in the Ardennes Forest. Seemingly oblivious to the war that surrounds them, the nobleman who owns the castle, concerned only about his desire for a son and heir to inherit his castle and its possessions, arranges for the major to become his wife's lover. However, the major insists on preparing the castle and the village for an attack. When the German offensive arrives, the squad is able to heroically defend the village and castle.
Big Battles |
Theatrical Release |
World War II
Movie Lover: FilmFlops Critic from
Trumbull, CT US -- September, 26, 2006
"Castle Keep" succeeds in balancing a steady alteration between humor, battle, philosophy, poignancy, and the inevitability of life. It is, in essence, an anti-war film that is very quirky. What is most striking is the sense of detachment and/or uninvolvement...and this gives the film a surreal flavor, as the Battle of the Bulge intrudes upon an ancient castle filled with priceless objects d'art. A superb cast give marvelous performances.