Title: DARK OF THE SUN airing on TCM next week
William S. Wilson - January 3, 2006 04:58 PM (GMT)
This came up in a recent thread about mercenaries flicks. I have never seen it so I can't wait. Even better, it is widescreen.
DARK OF THE SUN - Thursday, January 11th at 4pm
Jonathan Barnett - January 5, 2006 05:03 AM (GMT)
"I have never seen it so I can't wait."
Oh man you gotta see DARK OF THE SUN!
Thanks for the heads up. Its been about eight (!) years since I'v seen this. I hope its holds up. I'm telling you, this movies was made for YOU William Wilson. Yes you! (who me?). Yes you! TEARS OF THE SUN would not exist with out this movie....I forgot you didn't like TEARS.
DARK OF THE SUN ranks ups there with the likes of GOLD and THE WILD GEESE. They just don't makes these movies anymore. This is the one where the Mercinaries are trying to save some people and get some diamonds. Honestly thats all it is....sort of. There is CRAZY moment when one of the links of a train is dismantled. "Oh my God!" I said.
Bob Cashill - January 5, 2006 01:14 PM (GMT)
It seems to be popping up more frequently on TCM, which is welcome; it deserves to be in more active rotation, like THE GUNS OF NAVARONE. It's a favorite of mine, very dark indeed, with I think Rod Taylor's best performance (up there, at least, with THE TIME MACHINE). A DVD, with his participation along with director Jack Cardiff's, would be most welcome.
John Bernhard - January 11, 2006 02:04 PM (GMT)
For anyone interested in watching, don't be mislead by the opening post, which states Thursday Jan 11. It should say Wednesday Jan 11.
William S. Wilson - January 11, 2006 03:33 PM (GMT)
AHHHHH! You are absolutely right. My apologies.
William S. Wilson - January 12, 2006 03:16 AM (GMT)
Well, I just finished watching my copy of it and I gotta say it has nothing on a Bruce Willis movie. Yeah right! Seriously, this is one kick ass movie that really lives up to its hardnosed reputation. The entire cast is great especially Jim Brown and Peter Carsten. Looking at the IMDb, I am shocked to see that Rod Taylor was only 38 when they made this. He looks about 50. The only thing I found odd is how the original theatrical posters emphasized the chainsaw bit when it is so minor. Have a look:
Brian Camp - January 12, 2006 04:03 PM (GMT)
It may be a misleading poster, but I sure love the artwork. That's from back in the day when they actually painted posters for movies. I'm trying to recall what the poster looked like on the theater when I saw the film; it might have been this one. Unless there was another one that played up the stars more.
Chas Lindsay - January 13, 2006 02:35 PM (GMT)
Anyone know why Paul Fress looped part of Peter Carsten's dialogue, beginning at Msapa Junction? There's one scene later with Rod Taylor, Yvette Mimieux, and Carsten on the train where he speaks lines in both voices:
"You are stepping over the line" (Frees)
His next sentence in the conversation
"Don't cross swords with me, Curry" (original voice)
The only thing I really don't like about the movie is the ending. It just, to use a cliche, rings false. I just don't buy it.
Bob Cashill - January 13, 2006 03:25 PM (GMT)
There is some editorial weirdness to the film that sticks out. Cardiff and Taylor are still alive to sort it out--let's get crackin' on the SE: DVD. :)
What I most like about the film is the ending, as if Taylor, awakened from a nightmare of killing and bloodshed, realized his soul needed purging. I see that side to his character. It's one instance of a "moral to the story" that I actually find credible.
Chas Lindsay - January 13, 2006 03:47 PM (GMT)
I don't object to his having second thoughts about his life; he's obviously not the cold-blooded killer that loud-mouthed journalist early on thinks he is. I just don't buy the way he goes about redeeming himself. Here he is, a mercenary for hire, despite his rank of "Colonel", turning himself over to a corporal (Kataki) to voluntarily be court-martialed for killing a proud ex-Nazi, working for the Congolese army, who he clearly despised and who just killed his best friend. And that bit with Kataki saluting. For me, it all adds up to trying too hard to end this movie on a high moral note. But that's my take on it. If it works for everyone else, fine.
And I'll add I think this is Jim Brown's best performance, of all his movies that I've seen.
William S. Wilson - January 13, 2006 04:43 PM (GMT)
|There is some editorial weirdness to the film that sticks out.|
Yeah, I noticed some of that too. Like when Brown first suggest using Carsten to Taylor. They show a shot of Carsten and Taylor says, "Not that son of a..." You can tell a "bitch" was coming by the way he was talking but it is gone.
Chas Lindsay - January 13, 2006 05:05 PM (GMT)
Speaking of weirdness, Kenneth More's character is Doctor Wreid, two short steps away from being Doctor "Weird".
Todd Bowman - February 3, 2006 04:22 PM (GMT)
I finally got around to watching my TIVO'ed copy of DARK OF THE SUN last night and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks to everyone for the recommendation.
Watching this has got me hankering to see some other prime action/adventure films from the 60s or 70s (a genre that seems to have slipped under my radar for many, many years). Anyone want to offer some further recommendation for me to track down?
Two that immediately spring to mind that I've never seen are ICE STATION ZEBRA (Alistair MacLean) and SHOUT AT THE DEVIL (another Wilbur Smith adaptation). Are either of these worth seeing?
Bob Cashill - February 3, 2006 04:44 PM (GMT)
They're certainly worth seeing, but I wouldn't put them in the same class as DARK OF THE SUN, THE GUNS OF NAVARONE, or WHERE EAGLES DARE, three of my favorites. TCM shows ICE...fairly frequently, and maybe SHOUT (a rather more meandering film as I recall), which used to turn up LTXed on AMC back when it was a good channel.
THE SEA WOLVES, just about the last gasp of this genre, is fun, with Gregory Peck, David Niven, and Trevor Howard giving action-adventure one last try in their senior years (supported by Roger Moore). I haven't seen THE WILD GEESE, which preceded it, in years and can't remember if it was all that great. THE DOGS OF WAR infused the mercenary adventure drama with new blood but RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, released later that same year, had future action filmmakers keeping up with the Indiana Joneses, as it were. The "mission" kind of actioner fell by the wayside; I mean, even the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE films pretty much focus on the one character.
All of which reminds me to locate my DVD of BLACK SUNDAY (77), which I try to watch every Super Bowl Sunday.
Brian Camp - February 3, 2006 06:09 PM (GMT)
WHERE EAGLES DARE is definitely the way to go. It's one I happily revisit every few years. And KELLY'S HEROES, by the same director and with one of the same stars, Eastwood, holds up beautifully as well, with a nice mix of straight-ahead WWII action and caper comedy. Interestingly, Eastwood is only the second lead, to Richard Burton, in EAGLES, and he's one of a very effective ensemble cast in KELLY'S, one that is dominated, if by anybody, by Telly Savalas, coming off his WWII roles in BATTLE OF THE BULGE and THE DIRTY DOZEN. I'm kind of nostalgic for second-banana Eastwood.
I haven't seen ICE STATION ZEBRA in years but I remember being a little put off by it on the big screen. I didn't like the way Jim Brown's character was treated (YOU figure it out) and when the characters all come out of the submarine near the end, they step out onto a giant studio set that's supposed to be the North Pole, yet everyone takes their hoods off and breathes normally (no icy breath vapors here), as if they're in Culver City, CA (which, of course, is exactly where they were). In 1969, when I saw it (on a double bill with Michael Winner's HANNIBAL BROOKS, a WWII comedy with Oliver Reed that I remember enjoying more), it just looked so...in the parlance of the times, "phony." I don't know that that would bother me today, when I actually ENJOY watching big studio sets. And I don't think it would be that big a problem on the small screen.
THE WILD GEESE was fun at the time, mainly 'cause you get to see Richard Burton, Richard Harris and Roger Moore, all pushing 50, playing action roles. But the politics of it took a rather casual attitude toward apartheid, as I recall, and it aroused organized protests at the time. I doubt that time has improved that aspect of this film.
DOGS OF WAR I remember enjoying, more as a political thriller than as an action film and with a great part for Christopher Walken.
I never liked BLACK SUNDAY. It was just too far-fetched for me, lacking the benefit of the distance of time that the WWII movies I cited above (both also quite far-fetched) offered. But it was better than the next year's AVALANCHE EXPRESS, Shaw's last film. (Of course, BLACK SUNDAY is now 29 years in the past, while WWII, when I saw EAGLES and KELLY'S, was only 25 years in the past.)
I used to see all these movies when they came out. But...they just don't come out anymore.
RE: GUNS OF NAVARONE. I find Anthony Quinn's bit, "I'm just a poor fisherman. They made me do it," a useful routine to quote around the office at times.
Todd Bowman - February 3, 2006 07:00 PM (GMT)
Thanks for all the further recommendations.
WHERE EAGLES DARE was always a favorite of mine when I was growing up. It's been ages since I've seen it so it probably the perfect time to revisit it. I have seen DOGS OF WAR and remember enjoying it but overall it didn't leave much of an impression. I've never seen SEA WOLVES, WILD GEESE, or KELLY'S HEROES so those will all go on the list.
While we're on the subject of Alistair Maclean . . . has anyone seen either the adaptation of PUPPET ON A CHAIN or FEAR IS THE KEY? I'm surprised more of these aren't on DVD. I have a friend who always boasts that PUPPET is his favorite Maclean film but I can never quite tell if he's being sincere or just figuring I'll never be able to track down a copy.
Bob Cashill - February 3, 2006 07:46 PM (GMT)
There's a FEAR IS THE KEY/MacLean thread going on around Mobius somewhere. I only vaguely remember FEAR from a late-night CBS telecast, and PUPPET I've never seen. I'd like to see them, too. SEAWITCH was the last MacLean novel I read (there was one about skullduggery around the San Andreas fault I remember around the same time; GOODBYE, CALIFORNIA, maybe?) and I lost touch with subsequent TV versions of his novels.
Another WWII adventure I recommend: OPERATION CROSSBOW, an all-star film with an unusually high mortality rate and lots of grand explosions.
Brian Camp - February 3, 2006 08:14 PM (GMT)
Man, you guys are bringing back all the stuff I used to see on double bills. I saw it but I don't remember anything about FEAR IS THE KEY. But I do remember a motorboat chase in PUPPET ON A CHAIN in the canals of...Amsterdam? Other than that I recall thinking it was pretty dull.
OPERATION CROSSBOW, yeah. That one was pretty awesome on the big screen. I was surprised that Sophia Loren had such a small part, but then Lilli Palmer has a big part, so it's okay. But when I saw it, at the age of 11 or 12, I seem to recall being surprised that London got bombed during the war and those scenes were pretty harrowing. It might have been the first time I'd heard of V-2 rockets and such. So the movie was educational as well as being an exciting war/spy movie. (Don't forget, this was decades before The History Channel and such.) And George Peppard was pretty damn good in it amidst a classy Euro cast, as far as I can recall.
Thinking of OPERATION CROSSBOW leads, in my stream-of-consciousness way, to some really fine non-action WWII suspense dramas from the '60s, THE COUNTERFEIT TRAITOR, about a Swedish oilman-turned-allied spy played by William Holden, and THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS, about a homicide investigation among Nazi officers, starring Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif.
Robert Richardson - February 3, 2006 10:27 PM (GMT)
I'd second THE COUNTERFEIT TRAITOR as being an excellent film. William Holden's work is superb in the film (there is one scene that sticks in my mind, where he must witness an execution from his cell and goes beserk) and I believe Paramount has a nice DVD out of the film.
FEAR IS THE KEY will give you an opportunity to see Ben Kinglsey in what I think was his first screen role, as John Vernon's villainous henchman. It's funny, but until I caught up with the film on Scream Television my only prior exposure to it was via that CBS Friday Late Movie too. It's entertaining but not particularly memorable. Suzy Kendall never really seems to have much to do but be "the girl", and the film's car-chase set piece (which is pretty nifty, granted) has zip to do with MacLean and everything to do with the fact Barry Newman had just done VANSHING POINT. I did like Roy Budd's score for the film.
PUPPET ON A CHAIN - again, you can watch it but it just doesn't seem to inspire me to want to revisit it. It's merely okay. The canal chase (directed by Don Sharp) is the best thing about the movie.
Marty McKee - February 3, 2006 11:23 PM (GMT)
|QUOTE (Robert Richardson @ Feb 3 2006, 04:27 PM)|
| FEAR IS THE KEY will give you an opportunity to see Ben Kinglsey in what I think was his first screen role, as John Vernon's villainous henchman. It's funny, but until I caught up with the film on Scream Television my only prior exposure to it was via that CBS Friday Late Movie too. It's entertaining but not particularly memorable. Suzy Kendall never really seems to have much to do but be "the girl", and the film's car-chase set piece (which is pretty nifty, granted) has zip to do with MacLean and everything to do with the fact Barry Newman had just done VANSHING POINT. I did like Roy Budd's score for the film |
I just happened to see FEAR IS THE KEY this week, and I'll agree with Robert up to a point, including the fact that the incredible car chase was added just because Newman happened to be the lead. The story is pretty illogical, and if you're one of those types who likes to pick away at story holes, beware that this one has some doozies. I haven't read MacLean's novel yet, so I don't know how much of the screenplay is taken from there. I think it's a fun movie with a great chase, a very good score, solid villainy by John Vernon, Ben Kingsley with hair, and an unusually low-key but effective finale.
Marc Edward Heuck - February 4, 2006 12:55 AM (GMT)
|QUOTE (Chas Lindsay @ Jan 13 2006, 11:05 AM)|
| Speaking of weirdness, Kenneth More's character is Doctor Wreid, two short steps away from being Doctor "Weird". |
Does he ever use the phrase, "Gentlemen, behold!" in the movie?
I remember FEAR IS THE KEY getting a prime-time airing on CBS as well as a late-night airing. They even took an ad in TV Guide for the broadcast. I didn't know a single thing about the stars, so I think I watched maybe five minutes then looked for a sitcom. I was a stupid child, what can I say.
I think CBS must have bought a Paramount package that season, because I also recall them airing MAN ON A SWING with Joel Grey a few weeks later.
William S. Wilson - February 4, 2006 01:41 AM (GMT)
Wow, this thread has exploded. I also recommend FEAR IS THE KEY, which I also saw within the last month for the first time. In addition, here is a thread about 60s/70s mercenary flicks:http://s8.invisionfree.com/MHVF/index.php?showtopic=3963&hl=
Mark Tinta - January 28, 2012 07:03 PM (GMT)
TCM aired DARK OF THE SUN again a couple nights ago and I DVR'd it and finally got to see it. Wow. What a great movie! The print they used was in pretty bad shape and couldn't have been the remastered one for Warner Archive. Just a terrific action movie, perfectly-paced, gritty performances (Rod Taylor has never been better). Definitely picking up that Archive DVD.
Bob Cashill - January 28, 2012 11:16 PM (GMT)
The DARK OF THE SUN DVD-R is in solid shape.
MAN ON A SWING is on Olive Films' slate. FEAR IS THE KEY was, but fell off; issues with elements I read.
John Charles - January 29, 2012 01:56 AM (GMT)
There's a nice quality UK PAL DVD of FEAR IS THE KEY.
Marty McKee - January 29, 2012 06:37 PM (GMT)
|QUOTE (John Charles @ Jan 28 2012, 07:56 PM)|
| There's a nice quality UK PAL DVD of FEAR IS THE KEY. |
Yep. I like this movie a lot. Its casting is nigh perfect, and it has a stunning car chase, which, IIRC, is just about the film's only major change from the MacLean novel. I was surprised how faithful the film is, considering the novel's suspenseful finale doesn't have any big chases or explosions.