TV Review – MAN IN A SUITCASE: MAN FROM THE DEAD (1967)

MAN IN A SUITCASE
MAN FROM THE DEAD (1967, UK, Colour, 49m) ***
Incorporated Television Company (ITC)
Crime, Drama
pr. Sidney Cole; d. Pat Jackson; w. Stanley R. Greenberg (series created by Richard Harris and Dennis Spooner); ph. Lionel Banes; md. Albert Elms; theme m. Ron Grainer; ed. John Glen; pd. William Kellner.
Cast: Richard Bradford (McGill), John Barrie (Harry Thyssen), Lionel Murton (Coughlin), Angela Browne (Rachel Thyssen), Stuart Damon (Williams), Fabia Drake (Receptionist), Timothy Bateson (Pfeiffer), Dandy Nichols (Landlady), David Nettheim (Leader), Gerry Wain (Cap), Arthur Howell (Moustache), Clifford Earl (Policeman), Fred Haggerty (Agent).
One of many ITC productions in the 1960s, this benefited from Bradford’s method approach to the lead character McGill and a desire to capture a realistic level of toughness. The series premise is set up in this debut episode (broadcast sixth in sequence) Rachel Thyssen (Browne), McGill’s ex-girlfriend, spots her father Harry (Barrie), who supposedly drowned years ago. Harry was McGill’s boss in American intelligence from where McGill was forced to resign, having been scapegoated when a scientist under observation, defected to Russia. McGill had believed Harry dead, but he is undercover as a double agent. McGill needs his help to clear his name, but the Russians are also taking an interest in him. The elements are well handled and there is greater use of London locations, including a memorable action finale filmed at White City Stadium (renamed Regal City Stadium).

Film Review – GOLD (1974)

GOLD (UK, 1974) ***½
      Distributor: Hemdale Film Distribution (UK), Allied Artists Pictures (USA); Production Company: Killarney Film Studios; Release Date: 5 September 1974 (UK), 16 October 1974 (USA); Filming Dates: October 1973; Running Time: 120m; Colour: Technicolor; Sound Mix: Mono; Film Format: 35mm; Film Process: Panavision (anamorphic); Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1; BBFC Cert: 12.
      Director: Peter R. Hunt; Writer: Wilbur Smith, Stanley Price (based on the novel “Gold Mine” by Wilbur Smith); Producer: Michael Klinger; Director of Photography: Ousama Rawi; Music Composer: Elmer Bernstein; Film Editor: John Glen; Casting Director: Irene Lamb; Production Designer: Syd Cain, Alex Vetchinsky; Art Director: Robert W. Laing; Costumes: Marjory Cornelius; Make-up: Paul Engelen; Sound: John W. Mitchell; Special Effects: Cliff Richardson, Bill Warrington.
      Cast: Roger Moore (Rod Slater), Susannah York (Terry Steyner), Ray Milland (Hurry H. ‘Pops’ Hirschfeld), Bradford Dillman (Manfred Steyner), John Gielgud (Farrell), Tony Beckley (Stephen Marais), Simon Sabela (Big King), Marc Smith (Tex Kiernan), John Hussey (Plummer), Bernard Horsfall (Dave Kowalski), Bill Brewer (Aristide), Norman Coombes (Frank Lemmer), George Jackson (Gus, Mine Doctor), Ken Hare (Jackson), Ralph Loubser (Mine Captain), Denis Smith (Radio Commentator), Paddy Norval (Daniele, Girl in Bar), Garth Tuckett (Miner), Albert Raphael (Miner), Lloyd Lilford (Miner), Alan S. Craig (Miner), John Kingley (Miner), Carl Duering (Syndicate Member), Paul Hansard (Syndicate Member), André Maranne (Syndicate Member), Nadim Sawalha (Syndicate Member), Gideon Kolb (Syndicate Member), John Bay (Syndicate Member).
      Synopsis: Rod Slater is the newly appointed General Manager of the Sonderditch gold mine, but he stumbles across an ingenious plot to flood the mine, by drilling into an underground lake, so the unscrupulous owners to make a killing in the international gold market.
      Comment: Whilst the basic plot may be a little far-fetched, the grippingly authentic and well-filmed mining action scenes are tremendous. Hunt directs these set-pieces with a visceral intensity, which is helped by superb stunt work and whole-hearted performances, from Moore and Sabela in particular. Glen’s slick editing helps to heighten the suspense during these scenes. Dillman makes for a suitably eccentric and cold-hearted villain and Milland enjoys himself as the grumpy rich mine owner. York plays Dillman’s bored and unfaithful wife who falls for Moore’s charms and Gielgud leads the remote investors whose plot to make a killing on the stock market is the catalyst. A rousing final act makes up for some slow spots when the action moves above ground, where tighter editing could have made for a more efficient end-product. Overall, despite the reservations concerning pacing and plot, this is an entertaining thriller that deserves a re-appraisal.
      Notes: Many members of the production crew had connections to the James Bond film franchise.