Broadsword Calling Danny Boy

To British men of a certain age, the Second World War looms large in their consciousness, even though they were born a long time after it ended. Brought up on a diet of seventies comics like Warlord and Battle that replayed the conflict, every one of us was given the opportunity to revel in one of the very few British successes of the twentieth century.
Of course, one of the features of this obsession was the making of a whole host of war films that celebrated British derring-do, from Dambusters to The Battle of Britain.
Most of them had a patriotic tone that practically made your nipple stand to attention every time you watched, but occasionally there was a film in the genre that offered something a little more unexpected.
I’m talking about Where Eagles Dare, the strange and absurdly entertaining counter espionage classic starring Richard Burton and a stoic Clint Eastwood, that in the seventies seemed to be reissued continuously in cinemas up and down the country.


I think I must have seen it four times and countless more when it finally began to do the rounds on television, usually on a wet Wednesday afternoon in the school holidays.
It turns out I am not alone in my continued enjoyment of this film because critic and novelist Geoff Dyer is also a fan.
His new book ‘Broadsword Calling Danny Boy’ ( a title that all fans will instantly recognize) wittily takes us through the film scene by scene, and if it’s possible makes it seem even more enjoyable.
At just under one hundred pages it’s the perfect commute read, though given the cars most famous and defining scene, not something to be read on a cable car.
And if all this leaves you scratching your head my best advice is if you can’t be bothered to read the book watch the film on iTunes.

One thought

  1. I would love to know the ideal age for reading Geoff’s book. I am a 61 baby and it hit all the right notes. Geoff is a 58. I enjoyed it, but it felt like an extended riff done because he could 🙂

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