Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Mid-Century Movie - The 7th Dawn

I got home the other afternoon to find this 1964 movie on TV - The 7th Dawn.

It stars William Holden as Ferris, and the stunning Capucine, as well as Tetsuro Tamba as three friends who fought the Japanese in Malaya during World War II end up on opposing sides in the Communist insurgency following the war. You might remember Capucine as Inspector Clouseau's treacherous wife in "The Pink Panther" (1964). She was a top fashion model for Parisian haute couture  houses and went to Hollywood in the late 1950s to study acting.

Capucine, Peter Sellers-- The Pink Panther
Capucine, Peter Sellers-- The Pink Panther

In The 7th Dawn Capucine plays Ferris mistress, Dhana, who later moves her sympathies to Holden's friend and former guerilla turned communist leader, Ng (Tamba). Meanwhile Ferris is pursued by Candace Trumpey (a young Susannah York), the daughter of the British Resident who Ferris had met at the end of the war.  Then Dhana is arrested and sentenced to death for carrying explosives for the terrorists. If Ferris gives up Ng's location, Dhana can go free, but he refuses. Then things get really complicated - Candace falls into Ng's hands and he threatens to kill her if the sentence on Dharma is carried out. So Ferris offers to flush Ng out in exchange for Dhana's life, but is given only seven days to do so.

William Holden, Capucine, Susannah York-- The 7th Dawn
William Holden, Capucine, SusannahYork
Susannah York-- The 7th Dawn

The film set in the Malayan Emergency was based on the novel The Durian Tree (1960) by Australian political journalist and author Michael Keon.  Keon had worked for the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and had a hand in setting up the International Rice Research Institute in Los BaƱos, Laguna.  In 1951 he had married Elizabeth Marcos, a member of the Philippine political family, and sister of Ferdinand Marcos. Their son is the Filipino politician Michael Marcos Keon. 

The movie was filmed on location in Malaya, and directed by Lewis Gilbert CBE, an English film director, producer and screenwriter.  Gilbert also directed Alfie, starring Michael Caine. in 1966, as well as three early James Bond films.  In the 80s he made two of the best films of that decade, Educating Rita (1983) and Shirley Valentine (1989).

A great movie - even my son liked it - it has a bit of war and its in colour. You can watch The 7th Dawn here.

♥ Deb

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