Blu-ray Review: PLAY DIRTY

PLAY DIRTY was directed by Andre De Toth from a screenplay by Melvyn Bragg & Lotte Colin and stars Michael Caine, Nigel Davenport, Nigel Green, Harry Andrews, Patrick Jordan and Daniel Pilon. The score is by Michel Legrand.

A superb cast topped by Michael Caine, Nigel Green, and Harry Andrews highlights classic director André De Toth’s last film, Play Dirty (1968), a combat film set in North Africa during World War II. The “heroes” here are vile, unsympathetic loners operating outside the mainstream military, in a narrative that plays both ends against the middle. Shot by Edward Scaife (The Dirty Dozen), and featuring a score from the sensational Michel Legrand.

This 1968 war adventure follows Capt. Douglas (Michael Caine), an out of place oil executive who is sent out on a special mission with Capt. Leech (Nigel Davenport) and his small group of soldiers to destroy a Nazi fuel depot in North Africa during World War II. Douglas is a “by the book” soldier but he’s a little reckless when it comes to his clumsy orders at times. Leech is more like a convict than a soldier but he knows how to survive and he comes in handy in more ways than one. He also likes to undermine Douglas whenever an opportunity presents itself. The two don’t get along at all and the soldiers have a hard time following Douglas’ lead as they stick closer to what Leech wants out of them. The small team has to battle through the harsh elements as well as countless attacks and booby traps by the enemy but they do ultimately reach their destination and complete their mission. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come without sacrifice.

Okay, I always enjoy a good war movie and this World War II adventure was an entertaining first time watch for me. The story shows the Brits up against the Nazis and it all takes place in North Africa. The acting was good and the two leads were really fun to follow. Michael Caine and Nigel Davenport did a fantastic job with these two characters they play that are exact opposites from one another. Caine is this gentleman soldier and he’s coutered by Davenport who is the antihero of the story. These two men don’t get along but they both possess certain tricks and talents that come in useful during their mission. The setting and location of the movie plays an important part of the story because it’s just as deadly as the enemy and these men find that out first hand. Director Andre De Toth captured all of the grittiness and violence that you’d expect from a war movie and it all shows on screen.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, an image, a few quotes, and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some promotional artwork. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inside is a booklet from Twilight Time that includes more images from the movie, some nice words about Play Dirty by Julie Kirgo and more original artwork on the front and back. You can see the front cover of the booklet down below. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio. This nearly fifty year old movie looks and sounds amazing.

Bottom line is, Play Dirty was another first time watch for me that stars a young Michael Caine who was in his prime. The movie has a touch of slow burn to it but it’s still an interesting watch because it shows a much dirtier side to the game of war from the good guys. While Michael Caine’s character is this strict “by the book” gentleman soldier, he’s countered by Nigel Davenport’s war savy “tricks of the trade” soldier who simply knows how to stay alive and it’s not always by following the rules by his commanding officers. The two of them don’t get along very well but each man brings something valuable to the table and by the end of this doomed suicide mission, the friction between them has all but diminished. The men do complete this dangerous mission but the movie does have one of those messed up endings and I’ll just leave it at that. This 1968 war adventure is now available on Blu-ray and has a limited run of only 3.000 units so be sure you pick this one up and add it to your Twilight Time collection before it’s too late.

Distributor: Twilight Time:

Run Time: 118 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1) / Color / Region Free

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The extras include an isolated music and effects track and the original theatrical trailer.

  • Isolated Music & Effects Track
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (02:57)


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