Hannibal Brooks (1969) Ollie The Elephant Goes On World War 2 Road Trip

Hannibal Brooks (1969) oliver reed michael winner lucy the elephant michael j pollard

I love the way Oliver Reed can go from the pure brute force anger filled badboy roles to lighthearted comedic sweet roles, Hannibal Brooks is by far the latter. Ollie plays reluctant soldier, Stephen ‘Hannibal’ Brooks, a captured prisoner of war,  imprisoned at the Stalag VII-A camp near Munich. Brooks gets the chance to help out at the local zoo, feeding and shuffling poo, giant poo at that. The bringer of said big poo is Lucy the Elephant (Aida). Brooks is shocked by the sight of Lucy but it’s not long before the two become great friends. Lucy quickly warms to Brook’s sweet, calming nature and obeys every word he says. It’s not long before these two friends will be spending a lot of quality time together.

Hannibal Brooks (1969) oliver reed the elephant world war 2

With allied bombing raids raining down across Germany, a few devastating bombs hit the Zoo, pushing the need to evacuate all the animals to Austria. Just before Lucy is to be packed on a train a moody SS Colonel Von Haller (Wolfgang Preiss) commandeers the train. Leaving Brooks and Lucy to endeavor a dodgy road trip across the mountain ranges to the safe haven of Austria. They are not alone in their mission, being escorted by hard nosed, pissed up German soldier Kurt (Peter Carsten) a benevolent Austrian soldier Willi (Helmuth Lohner) and a sweet Polish girl called Vronia (Karin Baal). Now the arduous journey can begin.

Hannibal Brooks (1969) oliver reed the elephant world war 2 road trip film

There is another character to add to the mix, an annoying and cheeky American soldier with nothing but escape on his mind. What Packy (Michael J. Pollard) might lack in size he certainly makes up with in pure brazen determination and luck. With a habit of turning up all over the place with comedic timing, he starts to gather a little army of resistance fighters hell bent on sabotage against the Nazi war machine.

Hannibal Brooks (1969) oliver reed Packy (Michael J. Pollard) train ww2

Can Hannibal Brooks and his lady friend Lucy get to freedom before the Nazi’s catch up with them? Could the lure of neutral Switzerland make a better destination path? It’s well worth looking out for this little movie if you haven’t seen it. With landscapes and sceneries looking like perfect postcard pictures of beauty, it makes the perfect weekend matinee film. Light hearted in nature but you still get a sense of foreboding dread of a war movie.  Directed by Michael Winner so he still seems to find time to imply there could be a little rape in there somewhere! Not involving the elephant you will be pleased to know!

Hannibal Brooks (1969) oliver reed michael winner lucy the elephant Willi Helmuth Lohner

Whereas Ollies keeps it all smiles and caring heart on the screen, we all know he’s a force of nature when it’s time to unwind. Reading some of the tales on set, it sounded like his boisterous manner must of completely terrorised the locals! And what with Michael J Pollard getting on the sauce and Michael Winner’s bad temper, it could of been only a horrifying time for the local residences. I bet they still sit around the table to this day, sipping schnapps and eating strudel reminiscing that fateful few months of filming. You can read a few of the on set stories here on IMDB Trivia.

I had vague memories of seeing this as a young boy sometime in the 70’s but didn’t have a clue what it was apart from a war film with an elephant. It was a real pleasure to have stumbled upon it and what joy it was watching Oliver Reed in such a sweet role. But wait on watching this I recalled another Ollie I couldn’t remember, a film involving the crown jewels. Low and behold it’s another Winner film called The Jokers. The wonder of films and their connections. Can’t wait to watch that this weekend.

As always have fun at the movies. Thanks for popping on by the wolf den and if you wanna, say hello below. Keep watching the screens…. Mikey


9 thoughts on “Hannibal Brooks (1969) Ollie The Elephant Goes On World War 2 Road Trip

  1. This seemed to be on all the time when I was a kid but has disappeared from TV. I wouldn’t mind seeing it again (although I do remember Pollard as being annoying). The Jokers is fun, the ultimate swinging London film, maybe Michael Winner’s best (not saying much I know, but still.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I watched “The Jokers” Saturday night. Certain scenes flashed back to me but mostly I couldn’t remember it. It was so much fun and hehe loved all the swinging sixties bits and you can’t help but love the antics of Reed and Crawford. Very enjoyable.
      I’m sure you will enjoy Hannibal Brooks, it’s heart is good. It’s on YT if you wanted to see it. And yes Polland is super annoying.
      I really enjoyed Winners “Scorpio” and can’t help but love the Bronson years. The other Reed one I really want to see but can’t find it yet is “I’ll Never Forget What’s’isname (1967)” That looks fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Haven’t seen this one in a long time. As you know I’m a huge Ollie fan and yes the off set antics are in many cases better than the movies turn out themselves. Even the good ones. Never quite caught on to the Pollard aura. Seemed like a guy who was just to weird to peak my interest. Jokers another good one and if I recall Ollie put some fear into Crawford on their films together. As much as I live my wild life through reading up on Ollie, I’m not sure I’d really have wanted to go on a bender with him though my Dad sure would have.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It funny as I’ve seen all the infamous drunk videos of him but hadn’t seen the “sober” one he did on Aspel 1990 sat next to Dickie. He comes across so well and honest but you can see the drink demons are ready bubbling up for the next big session. I like a good drink with the best of them and the wonder of what it would of been like having a brew with him. But you know deep down it would of been terrifying. I think my old man would of been up for it like yours. The guys certainly a legend.
      PS poor Crawford was such a slight man back then compaired to hulk like Reed. Hope he didn’t terrorise him too much. 🙂

      PSS strange that on all the publicity Pollard gets his face plastered all over the posters. I guess he was riding high on the Bonnie and Clyde fame and made him the bigger name?!?


      • Yes Pollard was coming off of the Oscar nomination so he was relevant I guess but pretty much faded after the 70’s arrived. Ollie went on to his greatest years I suppose before his own destructive nature killed his career overall. Thankfully Scott presented him with a great role to go out on.


    • I haven’t but I know of it and have seen images, it’s look spectacular, especially the nuns set pieces. It’s been added to mount kilimanjaro AKA the “to watch list”. Thanks for nudge, I intend to work my way through all of the better Ollie performances I have missed. Cheers John.

      Liked by 1 person

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