Quentin Tarantino spent much of the last few years working on a WWII script like Robert Aldrich’s The Dirty Dozen—fitting when you consider that Aldrich was sort of the Tarantino of the 50s and 60s, making action movies that were tougher and meaner than anyone else’s, yet also had a weird hipster humor to them that it took the critics years to really get. Here’s 5/12ths of a dirty dozen:

Kiss Me Deadly Before Dr. Strangelove, before The Manchurian Candidate, Aldrich was making black comedy out of the Cold War in this over-the-top hardboiled noir—which also had the distinction of destroying the most popular pulp fiction hero of the 50’s, Mike Hammer, by showing him as a thug who shouldn’t play with nukes.

Attack! It’s war between a battle-hardened lieutenant (Jack Palance) and a sniveling chicken C.O. (Eddie Albert) who’s tight with a politically ambitious colonel (Lee Marvin).

The Big Knife The lowdown on that dirty town Hollywood, an overripe noir sardine-packed with juicy performances by Jack Palance, Rod Steiger (doing Jack Warner), Shelley Winters and others.

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Mainstream America first discovered the notion of camp when it saw two legendary actresses going at it like TV wrestlers—one of them, Joan Crawford, still trying to maintain glamor, the other (Bette Davis) made up like a cackling Warhol drag queen.

Emperor of the North
Richly textured, manly Depression-era tale about a rail-riding hobo (Lee Marvin) trying to outwit a vicious train conductor (Ernest Borgnine), just to prove this land is his land.

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