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A group of people converge on a barren Arctic island. They have their reasons for being there but when a series of mysterious accidents and murders take place, a whole lot of darker motives become apparent. Could the fortune in buried Nazi gold be the key to the mystery? Donald Sutherland and Vanessa Redgrave investigate. Written by
Jonathon Dabell <J.D.@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>
During filming, actress Vanessa Redgrave's contact-lenses froze whilst she was wearing them. According to publicity released for this picture, this movie was the first film in the action-adventure genre for Redgrave. See more »
When everyone is outside after the generator explosion it is blowing a blizzard, but the flames are rising vertically with minimal wind disturbance rather than being virtually horizontal, revealing that wind machines are being used just on the area where the actors are. See more »
"Coming soon: Alistair MacLean's Goodbye California" See more »
The UK-Canada co-production treaty of the late Seventies produced a lot of dross. "Bear Island" is better than some of its companions but still no classic.
Alistair MacLean's novel was a turgid affair, written at the start of his long decline as a writer. The film-makers wisely ditch most of his plot but the story they substitute, about an icy hunt for wartime Nazi gold, is no masterpiece of originality. Vanessa Redgrave's Norwegian accent comes and goes (at times, she sounds like the Swedish chef from "The Muppets") and Donald Sutherland tries for depth by speaking - very - very - slowly. Anybody who has seen a few of these films won't take long to guess the identity of the "mystery" villain.
On the credit side, the locations are spectacular and Robert Farnon's music score is appropriately portentous. Don Sharp knows how to direct action (he had been brought in a few years earlier to ginger up another MacLean adaptation, "Pupper On a Chain") and the fights are well-staged.
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