Alistair MacLean wrote quite a few novels that were turned into motion pictures and a few of them quite successfully with The Guns of Navarone leading the way. This one turned out to be just another terrorist movie at sea and even our leading man Richard Harris had already done one 3 years previously in Juggernaut. As is usual with these MacLean affairs there are plenty of actors needed to fill out the cast and this one is no different other than the fact that we’re not necessarily getting an A list this time around. Harris teams with his current wife of the day, beautiful Ann Turkel in trying to thwart the take over of the floating casino he serves as first mate on. John Vernon, no stranger to playing a bad guy is leading an armed force with nuclear capabilities taking a ship full of hostages that includes a tired David Janssen, Dorothy Malone, Gordon Jackson, Burgess Meredith and the original workhorse John Carradine. With Ashley Lazaraus (who) directing and backed by a second rate score, the film meanders along with Harris going rogue while at the same time whipping himself into shape for his next film and a favorite of mine, The Wild Geese. Apparently Hammer Films favorite Freddie Francis was called in to tie up some loose ends on this one.
The film commonly appeared on TV back in the 80’s but has pretty much disappeared unless you have have an old VHS copy lying around like yours truly. This was in Harris’ drinking days and although his script choices weren’t always sound it’s hard to fault him for signing up for a movie based on a MacLean novel. Just one year previously Charles Bronson did the same for the very enjoyable Breakheart Pass with a much better cast overall. Lastly it’s not so bad to see a couple of old pros like Meredith and Carradine fencing around a roulette wheel. Check out The Cassandra Crossing if you’d prefer to see Harris and Turkel in something a little better with a stronger cast or for fun see him go off the deep end with Bo Derek in Tarzan the Ape Man.
Good pick. Read the book too; it’s not the best film, but the explosions and Harris make it watchable.
One thing about Harris is he was always watchable. Even drunk and hamming it up in Tarzan The Ape Man!