Near the end of the French phase of the Vietnam War, a group of mercenaries are recruited to travel through enemy territory to the Chinese border, to blow up an arms depot. A Eurasian smuggler, Lucky Legs, agrees to use her connections to help them, in return getting her son into America. The racist father of the boy, Sergeant Brock, is also part of the multinational group. Lucky Legs must use the love of a Eurasian guerilla leader, Major Cham, to get access to the base. Will they destroy the base, and will Brock overcome his racism before Lucky Legs makes The Ultimate Sacrifice?Written by
Victor Young had begun composing the film score when he died on November 10, 1956 at age 57. His friend Max Steiner, borrowed from Warner Bros., then shaped Mr. Young's notations and completed the score. The screen credit reads: "Music by Victor Young, extended by his old friend Max Steiner". The title song, written by Victor Young and lyricist Harold Adamson, was sung twice in the picture by Nat 'King' Cole, whose commercial recording with Nelson Riddle and His Orchestra became the B-side of a Capitol single. On the A-side was the clever novelty, "When Rock and Roll Come to Trinidad" (music by Marvin Fisher, lyrics by Roy Alfred). See more »
Film stock flipped when Lucky Legs and Sgt. Brock go into the tree house. The sniper has a left handed rifle, Sgt. Brock's knife is on the wrong side, and his watch has moved to his right wrist. See more »
Music by Victor Young Extended by his old friend Max Steiner See more »
A family film that will be easily mistaken for a war film
Angie Dickinson is reputed to have said "I was often a lead actress, but never the lead." Even an idiot will see her to be the lead actor and character in China Gate. She has a better role than Gene Barry by a mile.
I can't claim to have seen a lot of Samuel Fuller directed films--but this is the best I have seen of his to date. The shots with the child at the beginning and the end are very well made. The film may not easily be recognized as a family film but it is essentially one. Is it the only role where Dickinson is on screen as a brunette? Probably so.
The power of Fuller's writing is evident is these lines "Everbody doesn't carry their lives in the face" and "You are tough enough to handle explosives but not handle life."
This is the best rounded performance of two actors--Lee Van Cleef and singer Nat "King" Cole, who actually sings the title song.
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