Dark of the Sun (1968)
The story is set in the Congo in the Sixties during the Simba Rebellion but draws on the horrific events which marked the series of insurrections. While the violence depicted in the motion picture drew criticism on the picture's release, my modern tastes it is not considered excessive, nor did it depict the full horror of the violence and atrocities committed in the Congo during that era.
It is almost impossible to tell when watching the motion picture but it was shot entirely in Jamaica, on the ling between Kingston and Port Antonio. The locomotive and railway scenes are superb. At 00:15:00 the scene where the train is assembled is some of the best railway footage, direction, camerawork in motion picture history and if the entire motion picture had been filmed like this it would be held out as a masterwork of the lyric quality of a Homeric epic. This is some of the best railway footage, direction, camerawork on any subject matter let alone railways.
Many details are historically accurate, such as the mecenaries being armed with FN FALs .
The UN control the airport and a DC3 arrives bearing two mercenaries. The two mercenaries come down the gangplank and walk toward the terminal carrying their luggage and weapons:
Paul Jantzen as Captain Hansen: "Captain Hansen United Nations Peace Keeping Force. I will take that gun of yours."
Rod Taylor as Captain Curry: "Captain Curry Congo Special Force. ... . No you wont"
The mercenaries run into some journalists in the hotel bar. One of them ribs the Captain Curry, who rejoinds with:
Rod Taylor as Captain Curry: "I tell you what I don't like. I don't like fat hacks who sit in bars waiting for trouble to start war so they can get it wrong when they write about it."
A lot of characters are out of the classic Sixties mercenary memoirs by Mad Mike Hoare , Black Jack Schramme , Hans Germani , Bob Denard . Kenneth More plays the classic alcoholic doctor who comes good in tragic circumstances
Kongo Müller character is based on Kongo Müller in that he is German, but that was about it. Kongo Müller wore an Iron Cross First Class, not a "Swastika". There was no such Nazi era decoration as 'the Swastika'. Muller was reliable soldier who had a big sense of humor. The Kongo Müller character in the movie is a maniac.
From page 45.6 of Hoare's Congo Mercenary :
"Siegfried Mueller was forty-two and as Prussian as a Pickelhaube. He had a marked guttural accent and had been a Sergeant in the Wehrmacht during the last war. His Iron Cross impressed me and others."
In his two memoirs of fighting in the Congo in the Sixtes Mad Mike Hoare leaves out some of the horrifying atrocities he witnessed committed by the sides fighting to seccede. The incident with the nuns and missionaries portrayed in the motion picture is based on the incident witnessed by Hoare and related in Congo Mercenary, although Hoare leaves out the worst of the details and some of the actions he had to take at the time. English war photographer Don McCullin was with Hoare on this mission and witnessed many of the events.
In person, Hoare related to me two events not in his memoirs where he personally had to use his pistol. One was during the incident with the nuns (referred to in the movie) and the second was during the night crossing of Lake Malawi. During the night crossing, the boats threatened to sink in the storm. One of this men lost his nerve and began screaming. He could not be silenced and the noise he made threatened the entire expedition with exposure to the enemy on shore and consequently destruction. Hoare had to shoot him. Hoare may have included these incidents in his memoirs, which are to be published after his death.
On location for The Wild Geese (1978) in the Transvaal, South Africa, Mad Mike Hoare and Andrew McLaglen . Tullio Moneta , another colleague of Mike Hoare, also advised on the production of the motion picture.
DC-3 registration N51AD
Jim Brown and Rod Taylor
Rod Taylor and Jim Brown at the bar
On the footplate of the locomotive
Shunting the train
The locomotive driver
Peter Carsten plays yet another evil Nazi
Peter Carsten on location
Peter Karsten in Hannibal Brooks (1969)
Peter Carsen and a M2HB .50BMG
Peter Carsen and the M2HB .50 BMG
FN FAL were used by Mad Mike Hoare's mercenaries in the Congo
"[...], twenty-two F.N.s had a fire power nothing in Albertville could stand against.", wrote Hoare.
Jim Brown fires the M2HB
M3 Grease Gun
The locomotive driver relaxes at the controls
Peter Carsten's magnificent high-leg lace-up 'snake' boots. They give excellent protection when stamping on kittens.
The trestle bridge
Almost certainly the best sequence of a mortar shot on film.
Grange Lane , just outside Spanish Town
NATO airchart TPC J26-C section Jamaica showing locations used in Dr No (1962).
+ SEE ALSO
- Other Locations in Jamaica in Dr No (1962)
+ EXTERNAL LINKS
- http://neptsdepths.blogspot.nl/ - on Rod Taylor in Dark of the Sun (1968)
- Cinema Retro the journal of choice for motion pictures of the Sixties and Seventies.
- Wilbur Smith's novel upon which the motion picture is based.
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