Reviews written by registered user
|30 reviews in total|
Award wins and nominations are the critics injoke punishing any
gullible viewers who happen onto this low budget panorama of the jungle
- canopy to floor.
If you have ever been into the equatorial jungle once you will never, never ever forget the experience of prickly heat, rashes, bites, itches. Sweat. That's the easy part. Even the super fit quickly get so exhausted they go 'troppo' with the heat and humidity and wander away in a daze, off the track never to be seen again.
In the Solomon Islands two American servicemen went missing in the jungle in WW2. Their bodies were found a week later - not more than 500 meters from their army base - of 500,000 men.
THAT kind of jungle 'feeling' you can never experience on a cinema screen.
The small budget is severely restrictive. Watching somebody stumbling through endless 'green' (unless you're a botanist) without a commentary by David Attenborough is crushingly boring. Interacting with the 'civilisation' he finds not on a distant par with the fabulous lunacy of Klaus Kinski in 'Fitzcarraldo' or Nick Nolte's inspired state of mind in 'Farewell to the King'
Distribution is consigned to low budget TV and cable channels. Recording and fast forward is the only suggestion.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jack Palance plays a British colonel - and is dubbed as such. From then
on it is downhill all the way. Weaponry of all sorts completely wrong
for the story period. American APCs !! The actual target - a huge rail
gun shown firing is patently absurd while the SFX used for its
demolition are so crushingly amateurish to insult the intelligence.
So sad to see a cast of actors capable of achieving masterpieces when given scripts and production values to match their talents, have had to stoop to such a level to earn a living.
This European co-production is a perfect example of how a film was ruined by the necessity to finance it following the constraints of percentage co-production budgets. Jack Palance had to be cast in the lead to ensure US / international distributor interest. All the various nationality European cast then fitted in to fulfill the budget percentage requirements for talent.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Two things weight heavily on how and why this movie disappoints all but
the hardcore cinephile now: supposedly set in Italy it was filmed
entirely in Calabasas, Los Angeles.
And the release date of December 1945. When hundreds of thousands, if not millions of returned servicemen would still be waking up screaming in the night pursued by the horrors of war; seeing men blown to pieces all around them, the mindless destruction and carnage impossible to rid from their minds.
Even if it were conceived then, making and releasing 'Saving Private Ryan' type war film at that time would have made audiences sick in the cinemas or run screaming into the street.
'Action' then is replaced by dialogue of realism of the interminable tense periods of 'waiting' for war in a world of dangerous unknowns.
70 years on the generations whose greatest emotional tension is sitting in traffic jams, and who HAVE seen it all before just can't relate to the stage-play pace of this kind of film making anymore. And the story would be much better appreciated if read as a screenplay.
This B&W action film joins the handful of others shot in Phillipines
during the early 60's by local producers.
Low budget, with cast of hundreds, and truckloads of blank ammunition, the shootouts are noisy, wild and as chaotic as the direction (or lack thereof) and final editing. Compared with the amateurish battle/action scenes shot in 1968 by Edward Dmytryk in 'Anzio'(with Robert Mitchum and a hugely larger budget) they aren't that bad.
What is of particular interest in this work (and the other films of the period) is the incidental and unintentional documentary value showing how the region, ancient buildings and villages looked in the 1960's. Not much changed from the 1940's.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Agonisingly bad. Proves yet once again that rubbish ages badly.
What is supposed to be serious ends up like The Marx Brothers meet 'Turkey Shoot', 'Psycho Ward' and 'Last Man Standing'.
To think Sinatra made 'From Here to Eternity' only the year before defies the imagination. But given the nature of Hollywood at the time he was not taken seriously and still had to sing for his supper, Oscar or not.
The director had no idea of feature film action - as his CV ultimately shows. TV westerns and cop shows to the end.
The final scene is the worst.
* * * MAJOR SPOILER * * *
The final shootout scene is totally hysterical. As the Presidential train approaches the station, the sniper (and after all the buildup and moral/emotional twaddle before, it isn't even the psycho Sinatra plays who is to be the shooter!!) is electrocuted. He fires his rifle wildly all over the place - on automatic, resulting in a brief gun battle when police return fire.
Then we see two seconds later in a close up when Sinatra picks up the rifle from the dead man, despite the long magazine (to give the impression it is a self-loading rifle), it appears to be a bolt action piece, set up for a left-handed rifleman!!
Sinatra's demise shortly thereafter is totally unbelievable, pathetically amateur even. The wounded sheriff, Sterling Hayden throws an ASHTRAY!! at him while he aims the rifle. A geriatric then tries to tackle him when he turns around. And the kid shoots wide, misses and throws the revolver across the room.
Meanwhile Sinatra, still obsessed for 'regime change', picks up the rifle again and aims...Only to be shot by the lady of the house. And again, using the same revolver, by the sheriff.
Directed by Kurosawa, the wounded cop would have rushed the sniper through a hail of bullets before bulldozing him through the window, both to fall screaming to their deaths.
In short, a bad script, badly directed.
The only hope may be that someone will do a straight-to-DVD remake, still set in the 1950's, with Mickey Rourke as the psycho.
Sinatra proves here that (like rough diamond Lee Marvin) he can be totally hopeless with a bad script and director. Or as we have seen in other work (for both men) totally brilliant and riveting when under the control of a great director with vision and the script to match.
Shot in wide screen Panavision, some made-for-TV movies look better than
this pic when it's shown in the TV safe format. To see it in anything but
2.35:1 is to miss half the cinematic effect. But that really is the biggest
problem - most of the battle scenes either through lack of resources or the
way they were filmed and edited, are unconvincing.
They shot the film in tropical Northern Queensland, Australia in the 'dry' season and the bright sun, puffly white clouds and lush verdant landscapes suggest this was war in 'paradise'. On some Pacific islands it was. But Guadalcanal is not paradise. It's equitorial and primarily blindingly overcast when it isn't raining. The climate and terrain in the jungles is so oppressive, like Papua New Guinea, equitorial Africa, the Amazon (or Vietnam) that people go mad just by being there and wander off the trail never to be seen again.
Terence Mallick wandered off the trail here, lost the plot and he may never be seen again.
Forget conspiracies! There are. 30 minutes in is a hidden gem of a scene
where the director pulls out all the stops when Mel gets the third degree
interrogation treatment from Patrick Stewart trying to drown him while
strapped to a wheelchair while doped up with a mind-bending truth
Mel goes right off his head, bites his tormentor, boots him in the bollocks then rolls out into a surreal hysterically funny totally over-the-top 'house of horrors' scene with Mel screaming his head off while crashing down a staircase strapped to the wheelchair.
Now all we need is Jamie Leigh Curtis with Mel Gibson pairing up on 'Highway to Hell II' to make everybody's day.
Have we been spoiled by expecting contemporary films (with the exception
porno) to start off with a bang? A blood-splattered wall is all you get
then the pic drifts off into dialogue from there and 15 minutes in and
you're still wondering do you give a toss if a serial killer is on the
loose, or not because 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' it
Nice to see the colonial Victorian-style weather-board houses of tropical Queensland but sadly nobody was drinking 'XXXX' - the Australian word for beer.
This film defies the usual story line development - where the hero is
introduced if not in the opening scene, then the next. Before Jack Lord
a look in a whole cavalcade of characters has graced the screen, why and
wherefore is discussed at length by all and sundry and the dialogue and
characterizations is so dated to turn the clock back to the
The music, (by Quincy Jones) however, is a hidden gem. Totally cool and laid back jazz. Hip bongos.
The most unexpected plus in this otherwise botched job is seeing the
fabulous African railways steam train heading through the veld in the
opening scene. After this, however, it's downhill all the way with a
basically boring 'deja vu' scenario: megalomanic terrorist uses
hostages as human suicide bombers. Turn to CNN and it's happening daily
Apart from that there's plenty of military hardware mostly wasted in badly
filmed action SFX where explosions look more like fireworks.
For the money they could have done much better.
|Page 1 of 3:||  |