When it comes to star gazing at films with multiple actors that I follow I usually jump at the chance. Which begs the question of why it took me so long to catch up with this attempt at a black comedy from noted director Richard Brooks. I mean I saw The Swarm first chance I got years ago!
The exceptional cast is led by Sean Connery (cue the Bondish opening theme) as an in your face reporter who travels the world delivering the news first hand for his network overseen by grouchy Robert Webber. Connery quickly becomes involved in a middle east struggle for power and oil wells. Some things just never seem to change. Could Sean become a pawn with countless men of power he associates with? When the Arab King is murdered the door swings wide open for his successor.
We have John Saxon in here as a C.I.A. agent that Sean isn’t sure of and Henry Silva as the next dominating leader of the middle east. Back on U.S. soil president George Grizzard seems lost in the political mess which includes a bomb happy general played by Robert Conrad and the leader of the opposition leading in the poles. It’s none other than Canada’s own Leslie Nielsen.
Much of the plot revolves around who is in possession of two suitcases suspected of containing nuclear bombs that arms dealer Hardy Kruger has been peddling to the highest bidder.
This two hour fiasco is rather easy to pick on mainly because it comes across as a poor attempt at treading the waters of Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove.
It has a phony feeling that just doesn’t come off as I suspect Brooks was hoping for. The effects at one point are so bad I thought I had somehow gotten my copy of Connery in Meteor overlapped with this picture from Columbia Studios. That is definitely a cheap shot at Connery’s attempt at a disaster flick in case you are wondering.
Robert Conrad here can’t help but conjure up George C. Scott with lines like “The U.S. of A. may not always be right but God knows we’re never wrong.” which got me to at least grin. Or how about our President Grizzard announcing that ,”Did you ever realize that Dog spelled backwards is God.”
Other notables turning up here are Katharine Ross who is wasted in a cameo, Dean Stockwell as an adviser to the prez. Rosalind Cash whom cult fans may recall from The Omega Man actually gets to play double duty here as an African American/female Vice President. For a film trying to make social comments this might be the best of them. Here we are a few years down the road and one has become a reality and the other may soon be happening.
Henry Silva delivers a rather disturbing scene in here on the definition of terrorism that briefly sobers up the weak attempts at comedy while a very young Jennifer Jason Leigh gets an early role in her budding career.
I’m not much on political comments out here as I prefer to stick to films so I’ll just say that much of the topics in this comedy failure remain a focus of our media and world politics to this day and age. 33 years after this film’s release. For a much better Brooks film I think I’ll go over to the movie shelf and pull down my copy of the 1966 classic The Professionals. You might want to as well.
Only saw this once, I think, and I remember I wasn’t especially impressed by it. I like Connery generally, and Brooks too, but a comedy which doesn’t quite work always seems to fall flat in a way less successful films in other genres don’t.
To much going on and just comes off as phony which I suspect is kind of what they were aiming for but missed their mark.