Tag Archives: Rod Taylor

Dark of the Sun

It’s always tempting to start a post about a movie like Dark of the Sun by saying they don’t make them like this any more. I say this about movies a lot, particularly movies from the 1960s and 1970s. But I’m not entirely sure they made many films like this all that often back then either.

Dark of the Sun (aka The Mercenaries) was directed by legendary British cinematographer, Jack Cardiff, and adapted from a 1965 adventure novel by the African-born British writer, Wilbur Smith, not really a regular fixture on my reading list but my late dad loved his books.

The movie stars Rod Taylor as Captain Bruce Curry – in what is commonly agreed to be his best role – as a cynical, tough as nails mercenary. Curry is paid by President Ubi (the wonderful Calvin Lockhart), the sleazy head of a teetering African state, and his fat Belgium mining company overlord, to lead a detachment of local soldiers on a steam train to a remote township and rescue the Europeans surrounded by rebels known as the Simbas.

Curry knows the real mission is to retrieve 50 million dollars in diamonds sitting in the township’s time-locked vault. Ubi needs the diamonds to weapons to fight the rebels. “I’m running out of time Captain,” Ubi tells to Curry.… Read more

Pulp Friday: Scobie Malone & “our new Errol Flynn”

Movie newsSomething a little different for this week’s Pulp Friday.

I recently watched the 1975 Australian film, Scobie Malone, starring Jack Thompson. Also known as Murder at the Opera House and Helga’s Web, the latter from the title of the 1970 Jon Cleary it is based on, the film was long unavailable until its recent re-release by Umbrella Entertainment.

The plot involves larrikan Sydney homicide detective Sergeant Scobie Malone (Jack Thompson) investigating the murder of a women whose body is found in the Sydney Opera House. In the course of his inquires, Malone discovers the women, Helga (Judy Morris), was a high priced prostitute involved with several important clients, including the Minister for Culture (James Workman), who she was blackmailing, and film director Jack Savannah (Joe Martin).

There are numerous suspects for her death, including the Minister’s snobbish wife and a local criminal going by the wonderful name of Mister Sin (Noel Ferrier). The events leading up to Helga’s death are told in a series of flashbacks. Most of the police work is done by Malone’s hapless offsider (Shane Porteous), leaving the title character to spend most of his screen time having sex with a bewildering variety of women, including nearly all the female inhabitants of the singles only block of flats he lives in.… Read more

Blood Money and other Australian crime films you’ve probably never heard of

MaloneIf you haven’t heard of the 1980 Australian film Bloody Money, don’t worry, you’d be in good company. Clocking in at just over 62 minutes, it’s an unpolished little gem of a heist film and almost completely unavailable.

John Flaus plays Pete Shields, an aging Sydney criminal who experiences an emotional epiphany after a diamond robbery he’s involved in goes violently wrong and his doctor informs him he’s got terminal cancer.

Shields returns to Melbourne, his hometown, where he has family, a little brother Brian (Aussie icon Bryan Brown), having trouble going straight, and Brian’s wife, Jeannie. There’s a lot of unfinished emotional business between them, including Shields’s affair with Jeannie years ago that may mean he is father of her and Brian’s daughter.

Pete also has unfinished criminal business with a gang run by Mister Curtis (Peter Stratford). To make sure his brother doesn’t fall back into their clutches, Pete takes Curtis’s gang apart man by man then kidnaps the crime boss’s daughter for a $50,000 ransom.

Blood Money has a definite Get Carter vibe, including the ending where Shields, having exchanged the daughter for the cash, is gunned in a remote quarry.

It’s not the greatest local crime film ever made, but Director John Ruane (who went on to do Death in Brunswick) gives it a grainy realism that draws the viewer in.… Read more