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Impasse (1969)

Looking to jump start his flagging career, Burt Reynolds signed on to this location shoot in the Philippines for a tale of four adventurers looking for a fortune in lost gold from WW2.

Attempting to keep a comical flavor throughout the running time of this Richard Benedict film via producer Aubrey Schenck, the film begins with Rodolfo Acosta receiving a telegram at his home on the reservation in the United States telling him he’s needed in the Philippines. The lure is a long lost love from the war years. His rather portly wife isn’t overjoyed with the idea but Acosta takes the bait and he’s off and flying over seas.

It’s Burt Reynolds who’s behind the telegram. He’s on to a long lost treasure and needs to reunite a select group of WW2 veterans to assist in the finding of the gold which is thought to be under ground in a military installation of catacombs and caverns. He’ll also bring in the volatile Lyle Bettger, Clark Gordon who just happens to be the father of leading lady Anne Francis and the one and only Vic Diaz. I say this knowing that Diaz is a very familiar face to those of us who have seen their fair share of movies made in the Philippines.

Before Burt becomes romantically linked to Miss Francis, he’ll spend a fair amount of time frolicking with Diaz’s wife played by Miko Mayama. The attractive Mayama was actually linked to Reynolds at this point in time and the two apparently lived together for a few years following this production. In order for Burt to piece the mystery together, he’ll need to pry Anne’s father away from a snaky con artist played by Jeff Corey. This segment allows for a very well filmed chase scene with Burt on foot running down one of Corey’s thugs looking every inch the football player. While I can’t be sure, Burt might have done most of his own stunt work here. Even if he didn’t, it still looks impressive.

Keeping a slant toward humor, the heavy drinking Acosta will actually locate his WW2 dream girl that Burt lured him there with only to find she’s no longer the petite sexy number from his youth. She pretty much looks just like the portly wife he left stateside. Still to come is the underground scenes of adventure that will see the group face adversity amongst themselves as well as facing off with the local militia guarding the abandoned military tunnels of the past.

I can’t quite figure the title out for this Reynolds flick. According to the IMDb, he claims that title pretty much represented his career during this era. He had tried his hand in the spaghetti westerns with Navajo Joe, would appear in a Sam Fuller mistake, Shark and even chase the missing link in 1970’s Skullduggery so it’s not hard to agree with his suggestion on the title Impasse. Burt might have a point but the film does represent a changing of the guard, his star is on the rise while those around him had been around for a number of years and had movie careers that were essentially winding down.

Frequent western baddies Acosta and Bettger would make very few films following this one and sadly, Acosta would pass away at the age of 54 in 1974 following a battle with cancer. Bettger would make a few TV appearances in the 70’s but retire for good in 1980. While Jeff Corey had been around for years, he would in fact continue to act in films and TV steadily into the new century, passing away in 2002.

Anne Francis had been in numerous films of note in the 50’s including Forbidden Planet and being the only woman in the star studded Bad Day At Black Rock. Like Corey she too would continue on into TV till the late 90’s.

Sure this one is kind of a dud in the end but Burt shows all the signs of becoming a world famous leading man in training. For us Burt fans, it kind of makes it required viewing and who’d have thought that exploitation favorite Vic Diaz would be sharing the screen with the future king of the box office.

Lastly, I don’t have this poster here in the vault, but I’ll keep my eye open for a copy. Impasse is rather impressive looking.

10 Comments »

  1. Bettger was a superb villain in: ‘Forbidden’ (1953), an excellent crime film, with an emotional triangle consisting in Bettger (was he ever more evil, or frightening?), Tony Curtis and the ever beautiful Joanne Dru. The title song: ‘You Belong To Me’ was I think, the most popular song of nineteen hundred-and-fifty-two.

  2. That’s a kind of cool poster indeed, probably better than the movie, from what you have to say about it. I’d certainly have a look at it if I happen to come across it, being a fan of Burt for the most part, but I don’t see myself making any big effort to track this down.

  3. I’ll echo Colin aboves comment , cool poster indeed.
    I need to explore Burt’s back catalogue, I seen most of the classic big name ones but there’s a lot of unknown to me. Got my eye on Fuzz, sounds silly but i’m probably only drawn to that because of Raquel Welch!! Yummy

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