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|Directed by||Andrew V. McLaglen|
|Produced by||Wolf C. Hartwig|
|Written by||Peter Berneis / Tony Williamson|
|Starring|| Richard Burton |
|Music by||Peter Thomas|
|Distributed by|| Constantin Film |
Maverick Pictures International (US)
|111 minutes (German version)|
115 minutes (English version)
|Language||German / English|
Breakthrough, also released as Steiner - Das Eiserne Kreuz, 2 and Sergeant Steineris a 1979 war film set on the Western Front, specifically the Normandy coastline. The picture is an unofficial sequel to Sam Peckinpah's Cross of Iron , and includes several characters from that film.
The film starred several big names including Richard Burton, Robert Mitchum and Rod Steiger. Burton (Sergeant Steiner) and Helmut Griem (Major Stransky) assume the roles played by James Coburn and Maximilian Schell respectively in the original film. The supporting cast features Michael Parks and Curd Jürgens. Klaus Löwitsch is the only actor from Cross of Iron to reprise his role.
Starting in late May 1944, during the German retreat on the Eastern Front, Captain Stransky (Helmut Griem) orders Sergeant Steiner (Richard Burton) to blow up a railway tunnel to prevent Russian forces from using it. Steiner's platoon fails in its mission after coming up against a Russian tank. He then takes a furlough to Paris just as the Allies launch their invasion of Normandy.
Steiner's unit is transferred to France, occupying the village of St Bologne. General Hoffman (Curd Jürgens) orders Steiner to cross into nearby enemy territory and confer with American Colonel Rogers (Robert Mitchum) and General Webster (Rod Steiger), informing him that the High Command of the German Army (Wehrmacht) is plotting to assassinate Hitler and would like to surrender. The plan fails and American forces launch an attack on German forces in St Bologne where Stransky has planned an explosion to destroy both the Americans and the civilian inhabitants.
Breakthrough was mostly financed by West German producers when it was released in 1979, after several changes were made to the sequel: for instance,the action was relocated from Russia to the Western Front and Richard Burton replaced Coburn as Sgt Steiner. The film was panned by critics, who identified a confusing plot, poor dialogue, an aged cast and undistinguished acting.They further point out that it is not 100% faithful to Cross of Iron because it does not follow the correct timelines nor make any sense, since Stransky was already wounded and left for dead and Steiner goes missing in action in the previous film. Also, the film depicts the duties of officers being performed by enlisted men and the duties of enlisted men being performed by officers.
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