Killin' Generals: The Making of The Dirty Dozen, the Most Iconic WW II Movie of All Time (Hardcover)

Killin' Generals: The Making of The Dirty Dozen, the Most Iconic WW II Movie of All Time By Dwayne Epstein Cover Image
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An explosive inside look at The Dirty Dozen, the star-studded war film that broke the rules, shocked the critics, thrilled audiences, and became an all-time classic . . .

The year was 1967. A cinematic blockbuster exploded across American popular culture. The Dirty Dozen didn’t just reinvent the “men on a mission” war story, it blew the genre to pieces. Like its ragtag team of misfits, it defied authority, mocked the military, and still managed to deliver action, adventure, and no-holds-barred Nazi-killing. It also received four Oscar nominations, launched the careers of many Hollywood legends, and inspired generations of filmmakers like Sam Peckinpah, Quentin Tarantino, and James Gunn.

Based on exclusive interviews with the surviving cast and crew, friends and families of the stars, and other Hollywood insiders, Killing Generals is a riveting must-read for film buffs, military fans, and anyone who loves a down-and-dirty adventure tale. Detailed, insightful, and gossipy, Epstein’s homage spotlights the movie’s endless barrage of cinematic gold.

During a time when America was reeling from turmoil, Hollywood held an indelible mirror up to a changing society. Films like Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, Cool Hand Luke, and In the Heat of the Night would define the era. But it was a gritty, violent, darkly comic World War II movie called The Dirty Dozen that would really strike a chord with audiences—and become the year’s biggest box office success. Heading up the all-star cast were Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, John Cassavettes, Charles Bronson, Donald Sutherland, Jim Brown, Robert Ryan, Clint Walker, and at his most terrifying best, Telly Savalas, propelling many of them to stardom.

About the Author

Dwayne Epstein is the author of the New York Times bestseller Lee Marvin: Point Blank and other acclaimed biographies. Prior to writing biographies, Epstein contributed articles to Filmfax Magazine, Cahiers Du Cinema's “Serious Pleasures,” and film reviews for Hearst Community Newspapers. Epstein was born in New York’s Coney Island and moved west with his family at age eight, spending the rest of his childhood in Cerritos, California. Epstein currently resides in Long Beach, California. When he is not writing, he enjoys watching and reading about movies and collecting soundtracks.

Praise For…

Praise for KILLIN' GENERALS by Dwayne Epstein

“Rollicking…. Best-selling biographer and self-avowed The Dirty Dozen geek Epstein (Lee Marvin: Point Blank) offers an elaborately researched and detailed valentine to the 1967 film. The saga of shooting the film, including both pre- and post-production accounts, The Dirty Dozen’s reception, and its enduring legacy are all covered in exquisite detail. Generously infused throughout Epstein’s narrative are priceless anecdotes about the film’s cast (including Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, John Cassavetes, Telly Savalas, Clint Walker, Jim Brown, and Ernest Borgnine) and director Robert Aldrich. VERDICT For all cinematic history collections. War-movie buffs are going to love this.” Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“It's not surprising that film historian Dwayne Epstein has compiled the ultimate history of The Dirty Dozen. As the author of the definitive Lee Marvin biography, Lee Marvin: Point Blank, he's tackled Marvin's most popular role, and the result is an amazingly colorful book teeming with fascinating facts, observations and insights.  What a terrific film history book for the ages!” Steven Jay Rubin, Author Combat Films: American Realism 1945-2010

“Dwayne Epstein has recaptured the joy, the thrills, and the community of those who celebrate The Dirty Dozen. He infuses the incidents that led to the making of the film with a sense of drama and adds a fan’s knowledge.  Killin’ Generals rekindles not only the excitement of seeing The Dirty Dozen but explains why it is still one of the greatest audience pictures of all time.” —Nat Segaloff, The Exorcist Legacy: 50 years of Fear and Say Hello To My Little Friend: A Century of Scarface

“Action-flick fans with a passion for Lee Marvin and The Dirty Dozen will find a kindred spirit in author Dwayne Epstein. Epstein’s Killin’ Generals is an enthusiastic and deeply researched plunge into what is perhaps modern Hollywood’s most influential war movie.” —Beverly Gray, author of Seduced by Mrs. Robinson:  How The Graduate Became the Touchstone of a Generation

"I'm not saying I'd follow him on an actual suicide mission, but I'm happy to be led by Dwayne Epstein through the story of how an iconic film about a suicide mission was made.  A rich chronicle of big personalities, grand ambitions, and a way of making movies that we'll never see again." 
Shawn Levy, author of The Castle on Sunset, Paul Newman: A Life, and In on the Joke

“Killin’ Generals
is a remarkably engrossing dissection of Robert Aldrich's classic World War II drama, The Dirty Dozen. Author Dwayne Epstein does a superb job of laying it all out, from the wartime episodes (real and invented) that inspired E.M. Nathanson’s novel, to the creation of the script by legendary screenwriter Nunnally Johnson (though it was rewritten), to the actual production and release of the film - and beyond.  It’s filled with enormously entertaining and revealing reminiscences and anecdotes by the cast, crew, and their family members. A great read.” Steve Stoliar, author of Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho’s House and Salamis & Swastikas: Letters Home From A G.I. Jew

Praise for Dwayne Epstein:

"A well-paced, thoughtful examination of [Marvin's] work that influenced film portrayals of violence in subsequent decades.” Kirkus Reviews on Lee Marvin: Point Blank
"This is the kind of biography Lee Marvin deserves. It's a good Hollywood bio, focusing on its subject's public and private lives without descending into the sort of gossip and rumor that typify many celebrity life stories.” Booklist on Lee Marvin: Point Blank
"Unforgettable... a surprisingly intelligent and heroic figure springs from the page... Epstein looks at a complicated figure and presents him in a full-length, three-way mirror. And it is absolutely impossible to look away." —Stefan Kanfe, New York Times bestselling author of Tough Without A Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart on Lee Marvin: Point Blank
"Epstein masterfully lays out and puts together all the pieces of the Marvin puzzle without moralizing or salivating, the twin bad angels of movie biographers. All future writing about Lee Marvin will be measured against Point Blank, which gives us the man.” —Bill Krohn, author of Hitchcock at Work on Lee Marvin: Point Blank
Product Details
ISBN: 9780806542416
ISBN-10: 0806542411
Publisher: Citadel
Publication Date: April 25th, 2023
Pages: 256
Language: English