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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Where Eagles Dare/Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden's 1983 album Piece of Mind features a song called Where Eagles Dare, based on the 1967 thriller by Alistair MacLean.  Or is it based on the 1968 film version?  Hard to tell--MacLean reportedly wrote the novel Where Eagles Dare at the same time he was writing the screenplay.  There are some differences between book and movie (most notably in the level of violence:  moderate in the novel, considerable in the film).  However, the characters and plot are essentially the same: During World War II, a group of commandos parachutes into Bavaria to rescue an American general who is being held by the Nazis in a seemingly unassailable castle, accessible only by cable car.  The song's lyrics reflect both the rising action of the story (They're closing in the fortress is near/It's standing high in the sky/The cable car's the only way in/It's really impossible to climb) and the thrilling climax as the heroes escape from the castle (The panicking cries the roaring of guns/Are echoing all around the valley/The mission complete they make to escape/Away from the Eagles Nest).  However, in MacLean's hands the straightforward rescue mission becomes complicated with multiple plot twists and surprises that the song couldn't hope to replicate.  On the other hand, the song features a vigorous performance by drummer Nicko McBrain that MacLean probably couldn't have pulled off.

1 comment:

  1. "The world is grown so bad, that wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch". And you have a blog...