During World War One a British aristocrat, an American entrepreneur and the latter's attractive young daughter, set out to destroy a German battle-cruiser which is awaiting repairs in an inlet just off Zanzibar.
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Just prior to World War One the hard drinking sharpshooting, Irish American Colonel Flynn O'Flynn, uses British aristocrat Sebastian Oldsmith to help poach ivory from German controlled territory in East Africa, putting them at odds with Herman Fleischer, the local German Provincial Commander. When Sebastian is infected with malaria he is nursed back to health by Flynn's daughter Rosa, they fall in love and marry. Not long after Britain declares war on Germany and they are drawn into the conflict, ultimately making a daring attack on the German armored cruiser SMS Blücher as it undergoes repairs in a local estuary. Written by
Chris Frost <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is a splendid action/adventure of a type they just don't make any more, with excellent performances from Marvin and Moore that move from the comic to the dramatic. With rolling African scenery and a thunderous music score, not to mention Barbara Parkins as the love interest, and stunning direction by Peter (On Her Majesty's Secret Service) Hunt, this deserves to be much better known. Unfortunately it was lambasted by ignorant and ridiculous critics on both sides of the Atlantic upon its initial release, so it was re-edited and much of the more moving aspects of the film were cut out. As it stands, the video release and television versions in the UK show only about 2/3ds of the finished film. A few years ago a company called WideAppeal released a widescreen version on video, but this was some European print that contained much that had been cut from the US/UK version, but missed out instead much that the US/UK version had originally contained (much of it was also in German and undubbed or subtitled as I recall). WideAppeal must still be highly praised for releasing it on video. The British Film Institute had, when I inquired a few years ago, all of the original footage but had not got around to working on restoring the print to its original glory. I count myself lucky to have seen the original release print and feel annoyed and betrayed by the critics who savaged the film on its initial release (and the studio which reacted so swiftly to their meagre complaints) -- may you hang your heads in shame! I now only hope the BFI does its work swiftly so we can be presented with a version of the full film in all its glory.
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