Its 8:17 pm
I was watching my friend Dan over on his YouTube Channel and he was doing some reviews. He,like the Paladin and myself do reviews for Warner Brothers Archive. Sometimes we’ll connect on Facebook and share with each other what we’re going to review. I talked him into doing his review of “The Swarm” and through his channel,I saw he reviewed “Dark of the Sun”,a movie that I hadn’t heard of.
I was of course interested once I saw who was in it and so I reached out to our pal “M” over at the Archive for a copy of “Dark of the Sun” which has been released on BluRay.
Soon enough,the cheetah and I were camped out and ready to go on an incredible adventure.
Captain Bruce Curry (Rod Taylor) and his best friend Sgt. Ruffo (Jim Brown) are mercenaries employed by President Uli in Congo. Uli has summoned them to his palace and as they land in the capitol,we see hundreds of Europeans waiting at the airport desperate to live,Congo is in the middle of a terrible civil war.
After exchanging a warm “friendly” greeting with a United Nations peacekeeper,Curry and Ruffo are driven through the ravaged capitol to Uli’s (Calvin Lockhart) palace.
Curry is given the assignment of taking a small train and rescuing the staff of a Belgian mining company from advancing rebels and to recover 50 million dollars in diamonds that Uli needs to continue funding his army.
Curry agrees to mission provided he is allowed to hand pick his men and command staff and Uli agrees. He and Ruffo then leave and head to the local military base where they will get outfitted for the mission.
Picking the fighting soldiers is easy but finding a good commander is not as Ruffo tells Curry he has to take Captain Heinlein (Peter Carsten) a former Nazi officer. Curry bristles at this but Ruffo says he is the best choice they have. Curry then selects Heinlein but makes it clear he dislikes him very much.
Curry then selects Doctor Wreld (Kenneth More) who is alcoholic but just as with Heinlein,the best of a sorry lot.
The train is armed with several machine guns and about 40 foot soldiers. The team takes off and starts their mission,a mission that must be finished within three days in order to save Uli and his government.
The team is surrounded by danger from all fronts,the rebels,the United Nations and from within their own ranks. Heinlein shows his colors in a shocking way that even by today’s standards,it was the one scene that had me speechless.
Curry and most of his force (they were attacked by a UN plane) arrive at the town where they have a major issue….the diamonds are in a time release vault and they got to wait three hours until the vault opens….but the rebels have other plans as they are closing in on the town…..
I can’t really go much further without spoiling the plot but this is a very rugged and at times hard to watch movie. It definitely was way ahead of its time in portraying how savage war is. Director Jack Cardiff holds nothing back and for a 1968 film that was rated PG(!!!) I doubt I have seen a more violent film then “Dark of the Sun”.
The film was originally a book written by Wilbur Smith and was written for the screen by Ranald MacDougall and Adrian Spies. While set in the Congo,the film was filmed in Jamaica as well as in Britain. The cinematography by Edward Scaife is rich and lush and the action is raw and brutal,there isn’t much that isn’t shown onscreen. Cardiff,a very renowned cinematographer in his own right (winning an Oscar in 1947) also helped make this movie look great.
The acting was great as well,the entire cast worked extremely hard with the three main leads of Taylor,Brown and Carsten all shining brightly. Kenneth More as the doctor was also quite strong as he finally finds a moment in which he can really make difference and rises up to it.
This was one Jim Brown’s best roles and he shows a real sensitive side to his acting,he has real thought and purpose and acts as the film’s moral center. A lot of folks have forgotten just how good of an actor Brown was,this will help a whole new generation of film buffs to re-discover just how talented Brown was.
While I had seen Rod Taylor act before,it was always on TV series where he played the dapper gentleman but he really showed he loved these action roles as much as Carsten and he put on quite a show in their two big fight scenes.
While rough and tumble,”Dark of the Sun” is a very good film and the cheetah and I both liked it very much and gave it two thumbs/3 paws straight up.
Run time for “Dark of the Sun” is 1 hour 40 minutes and special features include the trailer and a great commentary by film buffs Josh Olson,Brian Saur,Elric D. Kane and Larry Karazewski.
You can buy a copy of this BluRay from the Warner Brothers Archive website which you can find by clicking here.
If you have seen this film,share a comment or two.