Aug 20th 2009 By Nicholas Nadel
Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds
" is here, and you know what that means -- tons of obscure film-geek references. Even the title itself is a play on a 1978 war film, the properly spelled Italian actioner "The Inglorious Bastards.
We noticed this pastiche of influences includes everything from sadistic Nazi beauties to Clint Eastwood comedies. So, like any good group of fan boys, we put together a guide to the films Tarantino stole, er, borrowed from for his latest action epic. You might just find a hidden gem. (And impress your pretentious film-geek friends.)
Check out the five flicks
, after the jump.
"Cross of Iron
"Basterds" has been compared to both "The Dirty Dozen" (an obvious inspiration) and Sam Peckinpah's brutal (and underrated) 1977 masterwork, "Cross of Iron." The Nazis take center stage here (played by greats like James Coburn and Maximilian Schell), while Peckinpah's signature slow-mo action sequences are on fine display. Needless to say, Tarantino's taste for the garishly violent owes a huge debt to Peckinpah.
"The Inglorious Bastards
With a tagline proclaiming that "whatever the Dirty Dozen did, they do it dirtier," Enzo G. Castellari's Quel maledetto treno blindato
(translated as "that damned armored train") features a ragtag group of disgraced soldiers banding together to steal Nazi tech. Fred Williamson's ("Black Caesar") popularity in the blaxploitation genre led the film to be re-edited to boost his role and released in U.S. under the unfortunate title "G.I. Bro." Like Tarantino's film, "Bastards" features tough-guy actors (Bo Svenson of "Walking Tall") generally being badasses in Nazi-occupied France. Look for the recent three-disc DVD set featuring Tarantino chatting (no doubt at rapid speed) with Castellari.
Brad Pitt's Nazi-scalp-craving Aldo Raine is a play on Aldo Ray, the tough-guy actor of war films like "Battle Cry" and "The Green Berets." In 1955's "Cry," about a group of marines in WWII, Ray gives one of his most acclaimed turns as a soldier.
"Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS
Diane Kruger's sexy Bridget von Hammersmark has nothing on busty Ilsa, chief torturer of the SS. The film is not for the faint of heart, and shares Tarantino's love for the ol' ultra-violence and sudden shock moments. It also kick-started the "Nazisploitation" genre, a tradition proudly carried on by "Basterds."
"Inglourious"'s comic tone was clearly inspired by this fun Clint Eastwood-fronted caper. (Its "soldiers seeking treasure" plot will also appeal to fans of "Three Kings.") Sure, some might balk at a war film starring Don Rickles, Gavin McLeod and Carroll O'Connor. But it's not all that different from Tarantino casting "The Office" drone B.J. Novak, "Freaks and Geeks" alum Samm Levine, and "I Love You Beth Cooper" cut-up Paul Rust. With his eye for up-and-coming comedic talent, perhaps Quentin should consider remaking "M*A*S*H." Of course, we hope he refrains from casting Dane Cook as Hawkeye.
Click here to see Moviefone's countdown of the best Tarantino kill scenes.