The Island (1980)
“What the BLOODY HELL!”
I love it when Michael Caine hollers that line. Is it just me or is it in his contract that this line has to be written into his part? It sure seems to turn up in quite a few of his roles. Perhaps a list would be in order.
This time out he has every right to say the line when he discovers that an ancient tribe of pirates right out of the history books are at work off the shores of the Bahamas. Caine is a reporter who is convinced there are way to many private vessels disappearing on a regular basis and with his 10 year old son in tow flies down to investigate.
It isn’t long before he finds himself a captive on a remote island ruled by David Warner. Warner intends to initiate Caine’s son played by Jeffrey Frank into the tribe. It’s how the group keeps their numbers strong. Kill all the adults and brainwash the children bringing them into the group to carry on hoisting the Jolly Roger.
Caine becomes the property of Angela Punch McGregor as payment for his killing her man in self defense at the time of his capture. Think A Man Called Horse when Richard Harris is first captured and you get the general idea.
From here it’s a matter of whether or not Caine can escape and prevent his son from turning into a blood thirsty pirate with Warner and company.
The Island has a great pedigree going for it. It’s a re-teaming of the group that brought us Jaws minus Spielberg. Peter Benchley wrote the source novel and it’s produced by Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown. Michael Ritchie is the man behind the camera. Ritchie was responsible for a number of hits over the years including The Bad News Bears and Fletch. Ennio Morricone is credited with the musical score and like it or not, Michael Caine has always been a household name. I for one have always numbered myself among his fans. Good film or bad. See The Swarm for the latter.
The film has a certain horror element at times with the pirates overtaking vessels to being outright violent and for fans of Sam Peckinpah you get one hell of a shootout. What I am not fond of is the rousing Errol Flynn like soundtrack at the point of overtaking a schooner and basically slaughtering all members of the crew. It didn’t fit.
For me this is one of those films that no matter how badly it’s been blasted over the years, I still like it. Call it a guilty pleasure if you will. The movie poster alone is enough to draw me in. After many years it’s nice to see the film resurface on blu ray from the folks at Scream Factory.