Dark of the Sun - The Mercenaries (1968) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: British commando, Captain Curry, is hired by President Ubi of war-torn Congo, to steal $50 million in uncut diamonds from a time-locked vault before the separatist Simba army that's fighting Ubi's forces and the UN peacekeepers overruns the remote town where the bank that holds the vault is… Runtime: 100 min Release Date: 03 Jul 1968
This movie is my all-time favorite by far. I saw it on PBS a few years back, and had to buy it. Now whenever I get bored I pull it out. This movie just can't go wrong. Just a few elements to keep in mind: Mercenaries, an Armoured Train, a Nazi, Diamonds, Goofy UN Soldiers, a Drunk doctor, Yvette Mimeux, Jim Brown, a Moral ending, a chain saw fight, and more then a few scenes and lines that make you wonder why you never heard of this movie before. Rod Taylor is perfect for the lead role in this movie with such lines as: "Why don't you put that Swastika back on....you've earned <more>
it!"...I can't say enough about this movie. The book by Wilbur Smith "Train From Katanga" is an excellent read as well.
If ever there was a dramatic story which might personify the rough and tough films of Rod Taylor, it would be, Dark of The Sun Also called The Mercenaries . Hired by the President of the African Congo, Captain Curry Rod Taylor is a mercenary who is instructed he has three days to journey three hundred miles upland on a special train, through rebel held territory, to rescue trapped Congo citizens. Actually that is the cover story. Truth is, he is sent to recover a cache of cut diamonds worth fifty million dollars. Opposing him is a fixed time schedule, United Nations air security forces and <more>
the "Simbas" an extremely lethal group of African soldiers, led by their merciless leader, Moses who's intent on bringing destruction to the country. Curry, has a couple of aids, namely Striker Blue Force, and Jim Brown who aptly plays Sergeant Ruffo an experienced and well educated Congo soldier and the ruthless, unpredictable ex-Nazi named Captain Henlein. Peter Carsten Veteran actor Kenneth More plays Dr. Wreid, as the group heads directly and literally into the Lion's mouth. With explosive action, and war torn conflicts, combined with raping, looting and nationwide destruction, this exciting human drama which includes, beautiful, Yvette Mimieux as Claire is played to the hilt. A superb film the likes of which has established this one as a true classic. *****
You Wont See Many Hardcore African on Euro White Rapes Like This (by verbusen)
Take one part Von Ryan's Express, one part Wild Geese, one part The Road Warrior, and one part Dogs Of War and you get a kick butt flick called Dark Of The Sun! I'm at my job and to my great fortune I tuned to TCM Europe and caught this in its entirety, I was pretty blown away. I can just imagine the response the movie going public of 1968 America had, with race riots and MLK Jr's assassination and all, they probably really hated it. The movie depicts what I thought I was going to see in "Guns at Batasi", Africans revolting violently against unarmed Euro White civilians <more>
in the heart of Africa. They definitely do not to my knowledge unless possibly a South African movie , make many movies that show the scenes that this movie presents. White on Black hate, yes those are made, but not the other way around. I was not all that interested in this at first but it definitely got a whole lot better when they get the diamonds, I got off my far away seat and got real close to the TV, the scenes were just totally unexpected. I thought they were going to get away, ala a 1950's Clark Gable/John Wayne adventure which are great also , but when I saw that caboose get separated and then it started rolling backwards I said, now thats something to watch! It's totally Wild Geese doomsday mission from that point on, except its a a hell of a lot bloodier. BTW, those are my favorite action movies, where all hell breaks loose and the "good guys" take a lot of casualties, much more edge of your seat that way! The only thing that I guess kept this from a restricted rating was at the time they didn't have one yet, this movie may have been a mover to placing ratings on movies because they came out shortly afterward, I mean it's that action and graphic packed. The ending is overlong with it's morality play but it's worth watching just for the town scene when the mission starts to go horribly wrong. Here's a spoiler, a white Afrikaner merc gets captured by the horde and is bent over a pool table without his pants, ummm if thats not hardcore I don't know what is well, the white nun being raped was right up there also, and the white guy being doused with gasoline while being dragged from a motorcycle was also really brutal . I thought about The Road Warrior when I saw that part of the movie, it was probably inspired by this great unknown action flick, that was probably a little close to the truth on stuff that happened during the Congo's history. 9 of 10 very entertaining for action film viewers.
gripping, superior action-adventure (by Bogmeister)
This film, which I came to know as "Dark of the Sun" the better title, as most believe , is one of those compulsively re-watchable pictures year after year. I saw it as a kid but it was later, when I was around 30, when I caught it on a PBS TV station, that I was stunned to realize it is one of my favorite films of all time. I nearly became obsessed with it, recording it for repeat viewing sometimes 2 days in a row , later buying a quality VHS version, and finally obtaining a widescreen version, a goal of the last half-dozen years. From the first frame, during the credits, when <more>
you hear the perfect jazz-influenced score by Jacques Loussier, to the haunting ending, this film draws you in and doesn't let go, inviting you back again & again. I say 'you' but of course I'm speaking of myself; I can't really explain the hold it has on me and what director Cardiff put together that connected so strongly with me. Many familiar with this film call it Rod Taylor's best work and I agree there. He epitomizes the man's man here, tougher, by necessity, than all the other tough guys around him; able to outfight anyone mano-a-mano; and, at the same time, able to command - demanding and keeping the loyalty of his men. Besides the obvious violence & gun-play, throughout are hints and mention of the savagery, the brutality of war, but nothing can or should faze him - until, that is, he loses his best friend. This is something, the one thing, he was unprepared for. And he loses it, he loses all his control, his command of himself and others. It's a fantastic ending. And, like many other scenes, complemented by that fabulous score, it calls me back over & over. Once again, I see that train car break off; again I see it slowly roll back to the waiting bloodthirsty Simbas, all the passengers doomed. I know what will happen, but it demands my attention again, as if in a recurring nightmare. I suppose this may be a great thing about films - sure, they may not ever make them like this again, but you always have these past adventures to savor as many times as you wish. And the films will always give you that same or similar emotional satisfaction you crave.
This action film was BY FAR the favorite war movie of the foreign volunteers with whom I served in the Rhodesian Army. We probably all thought of ourselves as Bruce Curry clones.Once, when on a leave from a bush trip, I saw that this film, under the title The Mercenaries, was showing in a Salisbury theatre so, of course, I had to go see it. I arrived slightly late and the house lights were already dark, so I took my seat and enjoyed the ride.When it was over and the house lights came on, I looked around and saw that probably EVERY one of the foreigners who happened to be in town at that time <more>
was in the audience with me. Some of them were even going to stay and watch it again.
A nasty and terrific gem of an action movie, the best of Rod Taylor's career. Very exciting, expertly acted, and with a beautiful score that sounds like it was done by Maurice Jarre it wasn't . Highly recommended.
It's hard to believe that a film this vivid and adventuresome is almost completely unknown except to die-hard film buffs and fans of Taylor. He plays a mercenary, hired to enter the war-torn Congo and retrieve a gaggle of civilians who are stranded in a remote village and who have with them $50 million in diamonds! Brown is his sidekick, a native of the area, but educated in America to account for his accent and demeanor. They gather up forty soldiers, Taylor's former associate and enemy Carsten and boozy doctor More to assist them in their quest. After outfitting a train with <more>
sandbags for protection, they trek deep into enemy territory. On the way, they take on frazzled escapee Mimieux who has just barely avoided death at the hands of violent Simbanese warriors. Many hurdles stand in their way as they try to complete their mission, not the least of which is the fact that the diamonds aren't readily available to them upon arrival and the deadly Simba's are hot on the warpath. Before the film is over, everyone involved has been in some way affected by the raging warfare and the greed that can appear in men who value money over human life. Taylor does an excellent job in the film, giving a thoughtful, but rough and tumble performance. His personal appeal goes a long way in selling his sometimes questionable character. Brown, always an amiable and pleasant persona on screen is an excellent counterpart to Taylor. Mimieux is, more often than not, decoration and her point of view seems to shift rather rapidly, but she's yet another attractive, endearing presence. Carsten is appropriately deplorable and succeeds in making the audience scream for blood. More does a nice job in his supporting role. As is to be expected in a film by former cinematographer Cardiff, the scenery is exquisite and the film is pretty to look at, even in the violent scenes, of which there are more than a few. The score is exceptional and adds a great deal to the drama and suspense of the film. The early sections don't exactly zip along and it seems that maybe the movie will wind up being a tad dull. However, once the mission is underway, there are many, many memorable and tense scenes. Even though little is shown in an exceedingly graphic way, the film is quite brutal by the standards of 1968. Lynchings, amputations, impalings, shootings, rapes and not just the ladies! abound during the rousing action pieces. Aside from the infamous chainsaw fight, there is a gripping scene in which Taylor and Brown infiltrate a hotel filled with rowdy warriors and a heart-stopping incident involving the train. Finally, there is a knock-down, drag-out battle in a river that's another eye-opener. The only things that let the film down slightly are an occasional reliance on rear projection and several instances of sloppy editing in which the continuity is somewhat off. There is also a strange section of film in which Carsten's voice is suddenly provided by someone else, like Paul Frees! Brutality aside, the film also devotes time to the philosophies of war, friendship, honor, trust, sacrifice et al. It's that rare bird...a literate action film that delivers. It's not as nail-biting as "Zulu", but has it's own set of tricks which it presents nicely.
Some historical background on the film (by m_mcadam)
Hi, I'm glad to see that so many people share my view of this great but unsung film but shame there are so many big factual errors. Someone said it's 'set in South Africa', another that it takes place during the 'Katanga revolt'. In fact it takes place in the second part of the Congo civil war, a completely separate conflict and long after the Katanga revolt had been crushed. In 1964, radical leftist followers of the assassinated President Lumumba began a revolt in NE Congo the area furthest removed from the capital, Leopoldville Kinshasa and nowhere near Katanga, <more>
which is south of the capital. It spread quickly until it reached Stanleyville today Kisanghani . This is the period in which the film is set. The rebels were known as 'simbas', which means 'lions' and were driven on by witch doctors so they believed they were invulnerable to bullets, attacked govt units relentlessly spreading panic among the Congo army; a tactic which brought the Simbas early and spectacular success. The Congo govt of Tshombe the failed rebel leader of the Katanga revolt responded by recruiting mercenaries under 'Mad' Mike Hoare who had fought for him in Katanga. The Curry character is clearly based on Hoare. They were very successful in driving back the Simbas and liberating Stanleyville and many western hostages, documented in Hoare's book 'Congo Mercenary'. These true heroic events are the basis of the film not the Katanga revolt in which Hoare and his men had a much more sinister and 'mercenary' role. The mercenaries' bad reputation from this earlier is clearly referred to the scenes where Curry's clashes with the UN Officer and the journalist at the bar and this would have been well understood at the time.It was love at first sight when I saw the film: the combination of fast-paced action and grisly violence and enough intelligence and fact made a compelling combination. It came as a complete surprise to me when I caught it on TCM on a sizzling hot evening in summer 2003 and by luck I recorded it. The film is years ahead of its time: more like something you'd expect to see in the 70s. All the actors do a great job especially Taylor. The Jim Brown character is, by contrast, a politically correct fantasy. The title 'Dark of the Sun' is obviously a reference to Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness' also sent in the Congo, and there are some similarities: the train being sucked deeper into the jungle to meet an unknown fate, where even 'civilized' westerners are turned into brutal savages in order to survive. I think Cardiff works this theme very well. He actually said some of the true stories of violence during the revolt had 'turned his stomach' so he toned it down in the film, but they are still fairly shocking. The scene of the train full of rescued Belgian civilians unexpectedly rolling back into the depot and into the hands of blood-thirsty Simbas is one of the creepiest moments on celluloid.In Germany, the film is erroneously called 'katanga' and interestingly the part where Peter Carsten as the Nazi mercenary Henlein summarily shoots two children as spies is cut. The Carsten character is based on an authentic German mercenary called 'Congo Müller' who fought alongside Hoare. He actually had an Iron Cross not a Swastika on his breast pocket. But Cardiff cleverly incorporates many of these well known facts and reports of the Congo mercenaries that both glamorized and demonized them at the same time. The characters and events would have been easily recognizable to audiences when the film was made. I've also read that Laurence Kabila the assassinated father of Congo's president was a Simba and that as a Ugandan army officer, Idi Amin was sent on a mission to train Simba rebels.