‘Castle Keep’ is a strange satirical movie

I’m drawn to strange movies such as this 1969 Sidney Pollack satirical film that ends up being simultaneously pro- and anti-war. The reviews were not outstanding, but that doesn’t bother me. William Eastlake, who wrote the novel, was wounded in the  Battle of the Bulge and was probably best known for his Checkerboard Trilogy.

Castle Keep poster.jpgIn “Castle Keep,” a rag-tag group of American soldiers is assigned to a remote Belgium castle during World War II ostensibly to protect the artwork there.  With little to do, the soldiers develop their own hobbies and relationships with townspeople as though they’re all on extended leave. According to Wikipedia, “The American soldiers are happy to enjoy a respite from combat while being surrounded by unimaginable antique luxury, however, their days of leisure and peace almost undermine the very reality and the ugliness of the war itself. There is also a recurring theme of eternal recurrence, as one soldier drunkenly ponders out loud that maybe he’s “been here before”. And, although the men are eager to sit out the war that they feel will soon end, there is a sense of foreboding, a feeling of inevitability of what will eventually transpire.”

The New York Times summed up its review by saying, “‘Castle Keep,’ however, is never as impressive as its various, very expensive parts, including its extraordinarily handsome castle, built to order, I’m told, in Yugoslavia. Like the castle itself, the film’s occasionally provocative thoughts are wiped out, destroyed, in the orgy of the climactic battle, the kind of complicated, realistic moviemaking that reduces all problems to confrontations between pieces of mechanical equipment, tanks, mortars, grenades and machine guns. The movie, which has aspired to higher station is, after all, very conventional.”

I know, I know, but I still liked the movie with its character studies (so to speak) of the individual soldiers as they react to the madness of their situation.


My novel Conjure Woman’s Cat is on sale today on Kindle for only 99¢. This is the first book in my Florida Folk Magic Series set in the Florida Panhandle in the 1950s when Jim Crow and the Klan defined the state. 


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