HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
Butt Boy
Dog of Flanders, The
Bushido Blade, The
Jiu Jitsu
Blind
Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie
Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?
   
 
Newest Articles
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
   
 
  Golden Rendezvous Basically Under Siege with Richard Harris
Year: 1977
Director: Ashley Lazarus, Freddie Francis
Stars: Richard Harris, Ann Turkel, Gordon Jackson, John Vernon, David Janssen, Burgess Meredith, Leigh Lawson, Robert Flemyng, Keith Baxter, Robert Beatty, Dorothy Malone, John Carradine, Chris Chittell, Michael Howard, Ian Yule, Larry Taylor
Genre: Action, Thriller, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: John Carter (Richard Harris), sadly not of Mars but first officer aboard the combination cargo ship-cum-floating casino the Carribean Star, is suitably bemused when a taxi comes crashing through the dock bringing a late arrival, glamorous passenger Susan Beresford (Ann Turkel). Initially intrigued as to whether Mrs. Beresford is involved with enigmatic alcoholic Charles Conway (David Janssen), Carter is drawn to a more pressing problem. There is a killer on board bumping off crewmen one by one. Carter and ship's medical officer Doctor Marston (Gordon Jackson) suspect it has something to do with the mysterious Mr. Sadan, a supposedly paralyzed passenger locked in his room with a sinister nurse. By the time Carter figures out what is going on it is already too late. Armed terrorists led by Luis Carreras (John Vernon) hijack the ship, hold everyone hostage and smuggle an atomic bomb on board as part of an elaborate plan to steal a fortune in gold from a U.S. Treasury ship.

By the late Seventies Richard Harris had already saved passengers on one ocean liner from a mad bomber in Juggernaut (1974) and a deadly virus aboard a train in The Cassandra Crossing (1976), making him arguably the progenitor of the one-man-against-all-odds action hero Bruce Willis made famous in Die Hard (1988) and Steven Seagal rendered charmless in Under Siege (1992). Unfortunately for Harris, Golden Rendezvous was an embarrassing flop. Based on a novel by the great Alistair MacLean, of The Guns of Navarone (1961) and Where Eagles Dare (1969) fame, and first optioned as a vehicle for Laurence Harvey fifteen years earlier, this troubled South African co-production bypassed theatres in the United States, premiering as an ABC TV movie of the week three years later, and was barely released elsewhere. In Britain it shared a double-bill with of all things That's Carry On! (1977) with saucy poster art showing a lingerie-clad Ann Turkel toting a machinegun. For the record the then-Mrs. Harris does both though not at the same time.

If Golden Rendezvous, also released under the alternate title Nuclear Terror, is remembered at all it is for being tied up in a political scandal in South Africa where an investigation uncovered evidence of corruption and misappropriation of public funds to bankroll the film. All of which proved pretty embarrassing for Richard Harris who found himself uninsurable and also slammed for alleged drunkenness on set. Despite a well-earned reputation for intoxication this turned out to be untrue. Under Ann Turkel's influence Harris sobered up. He even toiled on the script to try and salvage the sinking ship. Happily he bounced back with The Wild Geese (1978) though his career remained inconsistent until a return to form in the late Eighties. Another notable aspect of the film would be the pulsating disco soundtrack by Jeff Wayne the producer-composer behind The War of the Worlds concept album. Wayne's electro-pop beats, which go "oo-ee-oo-ew!" at every suspensful moment, paper over the cracks of a crazy, silly, trashy fun action-adventure romp.

Filming began under the direction of legendary British cinematographer Freddie Francis until, for whatever reason, South African filmmaker Ashley Lazurus took over. His humdrum Seventies TV style fails to harness the potential in MacLean's frankly outrageous plot. The film crawls through a painfully arch and stilted first act murder mystery where Carter, Marston and the awfully posh, remarkably dim Captain Bullen (Robert Flemyng) try to figure out what is going on and which passenger might be responsible. Once the terrorists (who all resemble Fidel Castro) take over and Richard Harris changes into that same black polo neck he wore in almost all his action roles things get livelier albeit crazier with a kidnapped nuclear scientist, an atom bomb in a coffin and fairly exciting action scenes where our one-man army rappels down the storm-battered ship or blasts bad guys away. In time-honoured disaster film fashion lots of crusty character actors pop up in special guest roles. Try not to laugh yourself silly when John Carradine returns from the loo to find his fellow passengers now bullet-riddled corpses, David Janssen calmly orders another drink and Burgess Meredith remains at the roulette wheel even while people are shot to bits and the room bursts into flame. Dorothy Malone appears to be performing in an entirely different movie until a poorly revealed plot twist. Also a hoot is the would-be flirty banter between Carter and Susan Beresford that Harris most likely scripted himself. She keeps telling him he has "the weirdest little hang-ups" while he threatens to "smash her face" before their big romantic moment sees her slap him before he lovingly calls her a bitch. Love was strange in the Seventies. Also ask yourself why David Janssen and Ann Turkel's characters felt the need to hide their perfectly innocent relationship? Golden Rendezvous is certainly no classic and deviates extensively from MacLean's novel, but the old Harris charisma just about carries it through the many absurdities and the oddly cordial climactic face-off with the surprise villain is rather engaging.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2862 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Freddie Francis  (1917 - 2007)

A much respected cinematographer for decades, British Francis made his way up from camera operator on films like The Small Back Room, Outcast of the Islands and Beat the Devil to fully fledged cinematographer on such films as Room at the Top, Sons and Lovers (for which he won his first Oscar), Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, and The Innocents (a masterpiece of his art).

He then turned to direction, mostly in the horror genre, with familiar titles like Paranoiac, Nightmare, The Evil of Frankenstein, Dr Terror's House of Horrors (the first recognisable Amicus chiller anthology), The Skull, The Psychopath, Torture Garden, Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, camp favourite Trog, Tales from the Crypt, The Creeping Flesh, Tales that Witness Madness, Legend of the Werewolf and The Ghoul.

Late in his career, he returned to cinematography with David Lynch's The Elephant Man, The French Lieutenant's Woman, Dune, Glory (winning his second Oscar), the Cape Fear remake and The Straight Story, his final work and one of his greatest.

 
Review Comments (2)


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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: