6.4/10
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24 user 9 critic

The 7th Dawn (1964)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama, War | 13 August 1964 (UK)
Political and personal intrigues surround a group of characters in Malaya, after the close of the Second World War.

Director:

Lewis Gilbert

Writers:

Michael Keon (novel), Karl Tunberg (screenplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
William Holden ... Major Ferris
Susannah York ... Candace Trumpey
Capucine ... Dhana Mercier
Tetsurô Tanba ... Ng
Michael Goodliffe ... Trumphey
Allan Cuthbertson ... Cavendish
Sydney Tafler Sydney Tafler ... Tom - Chief Petty Officer
Maurice Denham ... Tarlton
Beulah Quo Beulah Quo ... Ah Ming
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Storyline

The end of WW2 finds Major Ferris fighting alongside guerrilla groups in the jungles of Malaysia. Major Ferris is an American who was attached to the Australian 8th Army and stayed behind to co-ordinate native guerrilla groups. When the Japanese unconditionally surrender, everyone is rejoicing but a British officer pertinently comments that although the Malaysian people aided the British to defeat the Japanese their allegiance will shift and they might not be so friendly towards the British in the near future. Malaysia is a British colony and like many other colonies it struggles to gain its independence from the European powers. Major Ferris' closest friend and comrade during the war, Malaysian colonel Ng, is asked by Ferris to join him into a business venture. Ferris has purchased a few acres of land rich in rubber trees and tin mines. He offers Ng an equal partnership in the venture but colonel Ng refuses. He explains that he has to go to Moscow to study at a school for political ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A STRANGE LAND SLEEPS LIKE A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN - SO STILL...SO MYSTERIOUS...SO UNTOUCHED- UNTIL THE FIRST LIGHT OF DAWN AWAKENS THE PASSIONS OF MEN AND THE FURIES OF WAR!

Genres:

Adventure | Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 August 1964 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Seventh Dawn See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Holdean See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The actor who plays the Japanese commander at the surrender ceremony was R. William Koh, a Chinese businessman who was a member of the Malayan Peoples' Anti-Japanese Army during WWII. See more »

Goofs

During the attack on Ng's jungle camp, the MPLA soldier on the bridge is obviously a mannequin. See more »

Quotes

Major Ferris: Wait a minute. Fasten that bra a little. We don't want that to come loose in case somebody blows your head off on the way home.
See more »

Soundtracks

The Seventh Dawn
Music by Riz Ortolani
Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent but Unheralded Film
29 September 2003 | by wglennSee all my reviews

As others have noted, The 7th Dawn is a surprisingly good film and deserves more attention. It opens with a stunningly photographed title sequence that evokes the haunting atmosphere and strange tension of Henri Rousseau's jungle paintings. As soon as the titles fade, however, we are suddenly thrust into the middle of a brutal mass execution towards the end of World War II in Malaysia. The entire film plays off of this combination of sudden violence and the mysterious, unearthly beauty of the jungle.

In its quest for national independence for Malaysia, a guerilla army threatens British colonial society with acts of terrorism that leave the good civilized folk on edge. They ask an American ex-pat, William Holden, to intercede with the leader of the rebels, played by Tetsuro Tamba, because the two are old friends and served together in a guerilla army on the side of the Allies when they were all fighting the Japanese. Capucine also served with the two men in their guerilla days, and these three form an interesting romantic triangle that goes much deeper than those found in most films, involving loyalty to and betrayal of friends, lovers, family, nation, and ideology.

Though we've seen Holden's character, Major Ferris, in other movies (from Rick in Casablanca on down), it's a great role for the actor, who fills it with vigor, intelligence, and the necessary animal sensitivity. It helps that he has good writing behind him, and, in fact, the screenplay is one of the strengths of the movie, with complex characters involved in murky moral situations, a plot that keeps you intrigued and guessing, and some larger themes right out of Joseph Conrad. Susannah York's character may be a weak point of the film, but the acting in general is quite good. The Malaysian setting is quite exotic, and Freddie Young's (Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, etc.) incredible photography adds to the moody, violent and lush atmosphere of the film. It all adds up to action, adventure, mystery, political intrigue, some refreshingly mature romantic relationships, and even a touch of humor. Though it doesn't quite rank up there with The Bridge on the River Kwai or Lawrence of Arabia, people who liked those films should find The 7th Dawn a surprisingly strong film and definitely worth watching.


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