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Colonel Dankhopf

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Colonel Dankhopf is a minor villain from the 1970 Clint Eastwood WWII action comedy Kelly's Heroes. He was played by David Hurst.

Biography

An officer in the Abwehr (German Intelligence), Dankhopf plays a small but vital role in the story. When a group of American soldiers led by Master Sgt. "Big Joe" and former lieutenant Kelly intend to take a German-held town in France, Kelly kidnaps Dankhopf from the town in the hopes that he can tell the Americans where there are nice hotels, restaurants and other places where the soldiers can have fun after the town is in Allied hands. Dankhopf was apparently selected for this at random.

After a brazen nighttime escape from the town with the Colonel in their Jeep, Kelly drives Dankhopf to the barn where the Americans are currently holed up during the battle. Dankhopf fulfills the role his captors intended for him to the best of his ability, but he hasn't been in town long and so he doesn't know his way around quite as well as Big Joe and Kelly had hoped. What does prove interesting to Kelly are the metal bars inside the attache case handcuffed to Dankhopf's wrist. When pressed, Dankhopf insists they're lead bars intended to weight the case down in case of capture, so the files won't fall into enemy hands.

Kelly, however, notices some gold color glinting under the silver outer coating, and quickly deduces that they're actually gold bars painted to look like lead. Dankhopf refuses to tell them anything, but quickly loosens his inhibitions after being given a lot of brandy by Kelly. Drunk, Dankhopf tells him about a shipment of sixteen-thousand gold bars currently held in a bank in the Nazi-held town of Clairmont. Before Kelly can get much else out of him, a German counterattack routes the Americans. Big Joe advises that they should shoot Dankhopf, but Kelly insists on bringing the German officer with them. He and Joe both grab one of Dankhopf's sleeves and walk him from the barn. Seconds later it explodes, flinging all three men to the ground.

Big Joe grabs Kelly and drags him along, forcing him to abandon Dankhopf. Thoroughly drunk, he staggers to his feet and wanders off across the battlefield, just as a Tiger tank bursts through a building. Its crew, mistaking him for an enemy soldier in the darkness and rain and confusion of battle, immediately mows him down with the tank's front machine gun.

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