I LOVE this film. Roger Moore gives a fantastic performance, in fact it’s the best I’ve ever seen him deliver, as an unashamedly misogynistic, whiskey-toting, iconoclastic, ex-navy, freelance, anti-terrorist trainer operating out of Scotland when he and his men are called upon to try and neutralise a hostage situation in the North Sea which threatens several of the oil rigs there – a crises masterminded by a decidedly unhinged Anthony Perkins (not that he was typecast or anything), with James Mason’s far from convinced navy admiral overseeing the unorthodox counterplay.
From veteran director Andrew V. McLaglen (son of early Academy Award winner Victor McLaglen – who took home the best actor Oscar for John Ford’s 1935 classic ‘The Informer’) and penned by prolific writer Jack Davies as his last ever cinematic screenplay, fittingly adapted from his own novel ‘Esther, Ruth and Jennifer’ (also released in 1979).
This is by no stretch of the imagination a well known film nowadays but it has the unique talent of getting the comedy value spot on (listening to Moore flip out whenever a woman is mentioned is very amusing) and also creating an incredibly decent story out of something that, given the low-key look of the film and its under-the-radar status, certainly primes low expectations (often a significant boon). Indeed, it’s amazing how well the story is written from a number of angles, and if people are looking for a film to rework in light of the success of ‘Captain Phillips‘ then this is absolutely perfect – just so long as they stick to the writing and delivery that give the film its charm, an injection of the kind of tension the likes of Paul Greengrass can deliver would be perfect.
Definitely still one to search out and become a disciple of as it stands though!
“You see, I, together with my five elder sisters, was raised by an maiden aunt – both my parents died tragically in childbirth. Until the age of ten, I was forced to wear my sisters’ hand-me-downs. Then when I married I discovered, to my horror, that my wife also had five sisters. All unmarried. And all expecting my support. I find cats a far superior breed. Just on the off chance, I have made a will – I’ve left everything to my cats. I want it testified that I’m sound of body and mind. Well go on!” Roger Moore/Rufus Excalibur ffolkes