During a slave revolt in 1844, a British mercenary aids an Antilles island-colony gain its independence from Portugal but years later he returns there to manhunt a local rebel army leader and former friend.
The professional mercenary Sir William Walker instigates a slave revolt on the Caribbean island of Queimada in order to help improve the British sugar trade. Years later he is sent again to deal with the same rebels that he built up because they have seized too much power that now threatens British sugar interests.Written by
Marlon Brando in his autobiography says that Gillo Pontecervo was one of the three best directors he ever worked with. The other two were Elia Kazan and Bernardo Bertolucci. See more »
The action takes place on a fictional island in the Caribbean, which would belong to Spain (in the film it points to Portugal, because Spain was going through a military regime and the director was afraid that the film would be censored). The plot is based, in part, on the history of Haiti. The original script referred to a Spanish island, and this can be confirmed by the fact that most of the characters keep their Spanish names, like José Dolores instead of the correct José das Dores. Therefore, the film can be seen as an example of ethnic and linguistic stereotyping in relation to Portugal. See more »
There are only about 5,000 whites here. The population's mostly black or mulatto. The blacks, of course, are slaves; except for a handful who's owner's freed them for one reason or another.
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The complete version of this film runs 132 minutes. A 112-minute version under the title "Burn!" was released in the USA and the UK. See more »
This version (presently available on DVD and US release) is the edited one. Like so many foreign films at the time, was edited for "American audiences". Since the studio had the rights to the film, there was nothing Pontecorvo could do, but watch his masterpiece reduced to nothing. 22 minutes were cut. In addition the DVD version is very poor. The aspect ratio has been changed, and the copy is very poor. As a result of the cuts, the subtle undertones of the relationship between the main characters was altered, as well as the political undertones. Pontecorvo had already conceded the change of title and script change (Spanish island to Portuguese island) because Generalisimo Franco's protest, and his threat not to allow distribution in Spain. It's ashame that at this point the directors cut version is not available , at least as an alternative to the average viewer. It is available , in the Italian DVD . It's in Italian language, with Brando's voice dubbed. The dubbing in this case doesn't take away from Brando's performance (his personal favorite). It has English subtitles. Pontecorvo himself edited this version before his death. It's quality is much better, and has the original aspect ratio. Occasionally shown at art festivals. My rating applies to this version . The real masterpiece .
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