During World War I, a British aristocrat, an American entrepreneur, and the latter's attractive young daughter, set out to destroy a German battlecruiser, which is awaiting repairs in an inlet just off Zanzibar.
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Set against an appealingly sunny Sicilian backdrop, the film finds Simon Templar, an elegant thief and ethical busybody, outraged when a British banker is murdered after he recognizes an old colleague-turned-Mafia kingpin.
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>
Scenes that featured the German language in one version of the movie, are not subtitled into English, yet another version exists where the Germans speak in English. See more »
During the church wedding scene the choir sings a hymn in Maltese (the filming location was Malta and the extras were mostly Maltese), although the story takes place in Portuguese African territory. See more »
The first thing you notice about this film is the racist MPAA. Despite it being rated PG for war violence, there was nudity. Breasts were exposed, but they weren't those of Barbara Parkins ("Peyton Place", Valley of the Dolls, and her skintastic moment in Breakfast in Paris), but of African natives. Seems that black breasts are not taboo for children to see.
But, to the film itself. It is actually two films. The first half in 1912, has Lee Marvin (Cat Ballou, Paint Your Wagon) as a drunken ivory poacher who manages to get Roger Moore (The Spy Who Loved Me, "The Saint") to partner up with him. After Moore and Parkins (Marvin's daughter) plan to marry, there is a great fight scene reminiscent of many John Wayne pictures.
Then the film changes. World War I is declared and the Germans are on the march led by Reinhard Kolldehoff (Moon Over Parador, "The Winds of War"), a big fat German pig whose men slaughter Moore and Parkins baby, and set them on a search for revenge.
The film has plenty of action, including what I would call a paper mache bi-plane which almost takes Moore's life, and culminates in the blowing up of a German battleship that had run over Moore and Marvin earlier.
Marvin was extremely funny and Moore looked just great painted black to get on the ship. Parkins was radiant throughout, even when consumed with revenge for the murder of her baby.
Sir Ian Holm (Chariots of Fire) was also fantastic as Marvin's mute servant.
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