The professional mercenary Sir William Walker instigates a slave revolt on the Caribbean island of Queimada in order to help improve the British sugar trade. Years later he is sent again to... See full summary »
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George C. Scott,
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The professional mercenary Sir William Walker instigates a slave revolt on the Caribbean island of Queimada in order to help improve the British sugar trade. Years later he is sent again to deal with the same rebels that he built up because they have seized too much power that now threatens British sugar interests. Written by
The original Italian language version is longer by 20 minutes than the English dubbed US version. See more »
Looking through his spyglass, Sir William can see Jose Delores up close. Later, when he hands the glass to a British officer the view is much more distant. Spyglasses of that era (1850s) would have had 3X-6x magnification. The extreme close up view would be impossible. See more »
Sir William Walker:
Gentlemen, let me ask you a question. Now, my metaphor may seem a trifle impertinent, but I think it's very much to the point. Which do you prefer - or should I say, which do you find more convenient - a wife, or one of these mulatto girls? No, no, please don't misunderstand: I am talking strictly in terms of economics. What is the cost of the product? What is the product yield? The product, in this case, being love - uh, purely physical love, since sentiments obviously play no part in ...
[...] See more »
The horror of slavery burns to the core of the human psyche.
Gilo Pontecorvo has crafted an extremely intense documentation of the use of human beings as slaves, and how do those slaves free themselves not only mentally but physically. Evaristo Marquez plays Jose Dolores with an intensity and intelligence as a symbol of oppression. Marlon Brando plays William Walker who is is sent to Portuagal occupied sugar plantations to manipulate slave Jose Dolores into leading a revolt against the Portuguese, which will later allow England to dominate the slaves themselves. Complication arises once the slaves have had a sense of power and freedom. Their reaction becomes baffling to the Portugese and to the British.
Both Brando and Marquez give forceful performances giving their relationship a love/hate subtext. The scenes in which Walker trains Jose to revolt through manipulation are fascinating to watch. Dierector Pontecorovo once again proves he is a master of crowd scenes and mass destitution on screen, as he did in the more well received THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS. Morricone also as usual lends a haunting score. It would be hard to imagine a film like this being made today in such blunt fashion, but the manipulations of those in power over the servitude continues to be relevant. BURN doesn't have solutions to the problem of Man's desire for domination, but it gives it one hell of a vision of the motivations and calculations empires will do to control others and ensure their domination in the World.
At times film seems to be a bit choppy and loses focus, but this was know to be a problematic production to begin with. There are several versions of the film with slightly longer running times. In some ways the dubbing of voices and awkward transitions lend to a more haunting and gritty experience while watching the film. The scenes of battles and dances seem so authentic it almost feels as if the cameras is witnessing events that occurred hundreds of years ago.
Brando himself seem to really be enjoying playing the somewhat sadistic, but at time empathic Walker. He shows know fear that his playing with the victims of colonialism like a game of chess could result in dire consequences not only for England, but for himself.
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