HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Donbass
He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not
Mary Poppins Returns
Beyond the Sky
Sorry to Bother You
Last Days, The
Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot, The
Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story
Once Upon a Time in London
King Lear
Under the Silver Lake
Satan's Mistress
Border
Lemonade Joe
Earth Maiden Arjuna
Sons of Katie Elder, The
Soldier, The
Mr. Topaze
Aquaman
One, Two, Three
Bad Times at the El Royale
Caretaker, The
Old Man and the Gun, The
Song of Bernadette, The
Creed II
Anna and the Apocalypse
Return of the Hero
White Reindeer, The
Lizzie
Wicked, Wicked
Faces Places
Strange Woman, The
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Sky Bandits
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Devil's Sword, The
Leprechaun Returns
Man in the Wilderness
Mug
Love Me Deadly
   
 
Newest Articles
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
Oh, What Happened to You? The Likely Lads on Blu-ray
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
How 1970s Can You Get? Cliff Richard in Take Me High vs Never Too Young to Rock
A Perfect Engine, An Eating Machine: The Jaws Series
Phwoar, Missus! Sexytime for Hollywood
He-Maniacs: Ridiculous 80s Action
All's Welles That Ends Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 1 on DVD
Shut It! The Sweeney Double Bill: Two Blu-rays from Network
Network Sitcom Movie Double Bill: Till Death Us Do Part and Man About the House on Blu-ray
No, THIS Must Be the Place: True Stories on Blu-ray
   
 
  Bear Island Donald Came Over The MountainBuy this film here.
Year: 1979
Director: Don Sharp
Stars: Donald Sutherland, Vanessa Redgrave, Richard Widmark, Christopher Lee, Barbara Parkins, Lloyd Bridges, Lawrence Dane, Patricia Collins, Michael J. Reynolds, Nicholas Cortland, August Schellenberg, Candace O’Connor, Joseph Golland, Bruce Greenwood
Genre: Action, Thriller, Adventure
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: This expedition to Bear Island, miles off the north coast of Norway, is a scientific one to judge the detrimental effect on the Arctic’s polar ice cap of certain Russian moves to divert rivers away from that ocean, but no sooner has their ship arrived at the remote, wintry location than they receive a message from one of their number who was already there, and it’s some kind of emergency call abruptly cut off before any details can be imparted. The leader, German scientist Otto Gerran (Richard Widmark) doesn’t think it’s anything to worry about, not knowing the man has been murdered, and besides he has other pressing matters to concern him, such as the arrival of Frank Lansing (Donald Sutherland)…

That’s because his arrival by abseiling from a helicopter is very nearly a swift exit, but Lloyd Bridges as adventurer Smithy rescues him before real disaster can strike. If this was sounding just a little contrived, then that’s pretty much how it played out, with a big serving of convoluted into the bargain, and that proved costly to this British-Canadian production for which a lot had been riding on, not least a whole series of films based on the same author’s works. That author was Alistair MacLean, at one time possibly the most popular adventure writer on the planet but having seen a large amount of his books adapted for the screen, Bear Island signalled that golden age was now over and the public had had enough.

MacLean’s world of derring-do simply wasn’t cutting it at the box office anymore, not really his fault, but tastes change and his efforts were a casualty of that shift towards different ways of telling stories and indeed different stories. Time was you only had to mention Nazi gold and you’d have a loyal readership clamouring for more, but as the decades moved to the nineteen-eighties, it was all sounding a bit old hat, and Raiders of the Lost Ark illustrated that something particularly special had to be done with the villains of so many years from the thirties onwards to make a genuine impact from then on. Director Don Sharp was no Steven Spielberg, and his brand of thickeared action was about to mutate into that very distinctive form of eighties action that he would have little part in.

As you might have surmised, Bear Island lost a lot of money, but some time later proved ideal for settling down in front of afternoon television to pass a couple of hours with, and it’s that audience who would appreciate it the most. Certainly the producers had amassed as starry a cast as they could, with Sutherland the most famous Canadian actor around so a shoo-in for the lead (William Shatner presumably unavailable), though he was playing an American, and Vanessa Redgrave as the team doctor and love interest for him was a Brit playing Norwegian, complete with a singularly odd accent. Widmark too, as the German leader of the excursion, spoke in an obviously fake cadence that jarred every time he opened his mouth, and Christopher Lee was there demonstrating his Russian accent as heard when he played Rasputin a decade and a half ago, though you had to assume that was at least authentic-sounding.

Not that you had much of a chance to hear it, as his character wound up vanishing early on, before even establishing himself as a possible suspect for the evildoers behind the apparent sabotage of the scientists’ investigation. That the actual explanation and bad guys were such a cliché by that stage did little to endear the film to viewers in 1979, but now they come across as staples of the sort of thriller that you can waste time with on the small screen, only with perhaps more novelty thanks to it being a more relatively modern project, and in colour to boot. Aside from that, there wasn’t much inspired about Bear Island, throwing in fist fights and grappling as if it had been sponsored by some wrestling group, and when that palled, adding explosions, swiftly becoming the ideal way of waking up a dozing audience who had been lulled into a soothing state of mind by the lack of any real drama in what was happening. A curious thing to say about a film that threw in an avalanche or a U-boat stuffed with Nazi corpses, but it was very ho-hum. Music by Robert Farnon.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1419 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Shrimpton
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: