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Cry of the Penguins (1971)

Mr. Forbush and the Penguins (original title)
| Adventure, Drama | 1973 (USA)
Womanizing biologist studies life in colony of penguins.

Directors:

(as Al Viola), (uncredited)

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Tara St. John Luke
...
Starshot
Tony Britton ...
George Dewport
Thorley Walters ...
Mr. Forbush Sr.
...
Mrs. Forbush
...
Head of Board
Nicholas Pennell ...
Julien
Avril Angers ...
Fanny Hill
...
Sally Geeson ...
Jackie
Brian Oulton ...
...
Ahaz Khan (as Salmaan Peer)
Hugh Moxey ...
Lord Cheddar
Norman Claridge ...
Principal
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Storyline

A young london biologist spends most of his time pursuing girls rather than pursuing science. When the opportunity to go to the Antarctic to study a colony of penguins presents itself he agrees to go, not so much for the benefit of science but rather to impress the girl he has recently been chasing. The longer he stays in the Antarctic, however, the more he becomes truly interested in the penguins fight for survival. When the time to go home finally arrives, he is a changed man with a totally new outlook on life. Written by Kevin Steinhauer <K.Steinhauer@BoM.GOV.AU>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Can survival in the Antarctic Wilderness change a man? See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cry of the Penguins  »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jane Cardew filmed some scenes, which were cut from the final print. See more »

Goofs

When the first penguin arrives and slides on its belly towards Forbush, there are already other penguin belly tracks in the snow. See more »

Quotes

Richard Forbush: [after waiting for days and no penguins in sight] Well, if they're so strapped to the life force that they have to find their way back here to this refrigerated graveyard every year, that's their bad luck. God, I wish they'd get here and get it over. Oh, blast you all, wherever you are!
See more »

Soundtracks

Silent Night: (uncredited)
Composed by Franz Gruber and Joseph Mohr
Sung by John Hurt
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User Reviews

 
uneven, but very entertaining
26 November 2011 | by See all my reviews

According to Bryan Forbes' autobiography as well as David Nathan's biography of John Hurt, the story behind this film is as interesting as the film itself.

When the producers saw the finished material, it was decided that the opening in London should be completely re-shot, with a different director - Roy Boulting instead of Alfred Viola - and a different leading lady - Hayley Mills (Boulting's wife at the time), instead of an unnamed RADA actress who reportedly did not photograph well. According to Boulting, the reason was that "It presented a ridiculous picture of a character who lived in a swinging London that never ever existed and who was totally artificial, totally unreal and totally unsympathetic." Even though Hurt seems to have agreed at least in part, he was very unhappy about the prospect - understandably so, after the ordeal of the long and difficult location shooting in the Antarctica. Producer Bryan Forbes persuaded him not to quit.

Hurt's feelings about the animals were quite different from his character's. "The penguins were a real pain in the arse. They have all the faults of the human race without the redeeming gift of occasional intelligence. I preferred the predators, greatly admired the skuas. They farm the penguins, taking only a certain percentage of the eggs. The other skuas fish and battle for existence on the mountains in extreme conditions. If you killed off the predators the penguin colonies would become so huge they would probably become extinct. That would be a bad thing for the skuas. There's only one good thing to say about penguins and that is that they taste delicious - fishy, but nice." The film team actually had a few penguins for dinner - with HP sauce.

Several years later, Richard Burton happened to see this film, and it motivated him to suggest Hurt for 1984.

I enjoyed the film more than I expected. I am not a sentimental animal lover, and for scientific subjects, I prefer to watch a documentary or read a book. What I enjoyed about this film is Hurt's tour de force performance, the great location footage (by Arne Sucksdorff), but also the humour and style of the opening (as a fan of British swinging sixties films in general). The machine Forbush builds for his futile fight against the skuas reminded me of the Acme contraptions in the COYOTE AND ROADRUNNER cartoons.

I find it interesting that - probably male - commentators write that Hurt is not convincing as a ladies' man. Judging from the number of - probably female - commentators who fell in love with him in this film (and others such as IN SEARCH OF GREGORY), Hurt's quirky sex appeal seems to have been underused. Pity, but typical, because most of the decision makers in the industry are male.


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