Bandits target a gold miner and his granddaughter in 19th century South Africa. Robert Gunnar is the bandit with a heart of gold, who is after Price's cache of gold, but falls in love with Diana Ivarson, who has hair of gold (bleach). Written by
Opening narration - During the latter half of the last century, in the rugged hills and ridges of South Africa's Transvaal, gold was discovered. The result was a rushing, roaring tide of wealth seekers from all corners of the globe. First came the prospectors, high of hope, simple of purpose; and in their wake swept the next group: the speculators, the adventurers. Then, as inevitable as nature itself, there came the final ones: the scavengers, the jackals. See more »
Willie intermittently wears eye makeup. See more »
"Yellow Sky" (1948) was one of the better American westerns of its era. It was also one of Gregory Peck's better starring roles. So, it's a tall order to try to remake the picture, though "The Jackals" does a better job than I expected--especially since it mostly stars folks you probably won't recognize. Aside from Vincent Price (who should not have been listed first in the billing), the rest are actors we probably wouldn't recognize here in the States.
The film begins with seven crooks robbing the bank in the style of the old west--though of course it's South Africa. One is killed in the process and the others beat it across the desert--most likely to die of thirst. However, when they've given up all hope, they happen upon a ghost town that is populated by an old man (Price) and his pretty daughter. These two are not friendly towards the crooks though they do help them find water. Before leaving this little oasis, however, the crooks realize that there MUST be something keeping these two here--and that something is gold. Much of the rest of the film consists of a game of cat and mouse and unless something rather miraculous happens, the granddaughter and grandpa are doomed.
The best thing about "The Jackals" is that instead of setting the film in the same locale as the original, this time it's South Africa. Considering that they, too, had gold fever and there are potentially dangerous natives, it works well. The second best thing is the acting. Very competent and well done all around. Of course, I'd recommend the original first--but this little South African/Australian production has every reason to be proud of this effort--even if the accents were all wrong!
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