HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Picture Stories
Another Round
Tape, The
Limbo
Supernova
Man Who Sold His Skin, The
Sweetheart
No Man of God
Gaia
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Scenes with Beans
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
   
 
Newest Articles
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
   
 
  Twilight's Last Gleaming Missile Command
Year: 1977
Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Roscoe Lee Browne, Joseph Cotten, Melvyn Douglas, Charles Durning, Richard Jaeckel, William Marshall, Gerald S. O’Loughlin, Richard Widmark, Paul Winfield, Burt Young, Leif Erickson, Charles McGraw, William Smith, Ed Bishop
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: General Lawrence Dell (Burt Lancaster) should by all rights be in prison, but he has escaped with the help of three other inmates and they have made straight for the top secret military base in Montana where nine nuclear missiles are kept. They stage an accident that an Army vehicle decides to stop for, and they commandeer it by knocking out the driver and passenger, though one of the prisoners empties his pistol into the driver, much to the disdain of Dell - he will have to watch this man as the mission progresses. The party continues on in disguise to the gates of the base, and manage to bluff their way in, disposing of the guards along the way, then heading straight for a silo to take over control...

And why do they wish to do this? It's not down to Dell having a death wish for the whole world, it is because he wants the secrets of past government administrations to be exposed, so is happy to hold the global balance of nuclear weaponry power to ransom if the President (Charles Durning, miscast) cannot agree to his demands. As you can imagine, this was something of a dilemma, but one that was so farfetched that many an audience found it difficult to swallow: would the American military be so incompetent that they would have accidentally allowed such a set of events to believably take place, or was this story verging on the kind of plot conveniences that Hollywood relied on as a matter of course?

Actually, there was no verging about it, but the point of the film was not the basics of how to break into a missile base, it was what was discussed by the characters about the state of America and its place in the world after the Vietnam War had been lost. The country was still smarting from this defeat, to put it mildly, and Twilight's Last Gleaming was one of the first movies to attempt to get all this dirty laundry out in the open, mainly so the nation could pick over the bones of the humiliation and if not take away a positive from it, then at least work out why it happened and how they could avoid it happening again. Where they had gone wrong, according to this, was when they decided to fight small wars instead of the big one.

But who wanted World War III over the smaller conflicts, even if those alternatives to global war were liable to be lost as well? That was not addressed to any great satisfaction, and indeed much of Dell's logic was questionable which was uncomfortable when we were pressed to view him as a madman with a streak of good sense in his arguments when he wants to hold the authorities to account for their perceived crimes against the people they were supposed to be representing, never mind saving from the sort of bother that would see their lives plunged into peril. What director Robert Aldrich appeared to have been most impressed by was Sidney Lumet's state of the media shoutathon Network, a then-recent hit that had set many a moviegoer talking, and as in that here there were acres of dialogue for the actors to get through.

It was a highly qualified cast, granted, if resolutely middle-aged and older, but Aldrich relied too heavily on them bringing the chat to life when it tended to bog down what could have been a brisk thriller. In effect there was a dearth of suspense and action sequences that he could have made his own, albeit the central setpiece where Dell comes close to launching the warheads would likely have perked up the audience since this was one of the movies where you were genuinely not sure if the worst case scenario was going to play out before your very eyes. If that didn't happen, then you knew this would end in tears somehow, though the ultimate manner of that was well-hidden in what came across as a marathon viewing of one of those television miniseries that the nineteen-seventies were so fond of as "event TV" - nearly two and a half hours was a big ask to an audience to stay focused when it seemed like a cut and dried case. Don't set off the missiles and we don't all die was easy enough to grasp: the ins and outs of government policy and foreign affairs, however, were not as obvious as this would like us to believe. A brave try, but flawed. Music by Jerry Goldsmith.

[Eureka's Blu-ray has a lengthy featurette, a booklet and subtitles as extras.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2143 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 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
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: