Wild Geese Special Edition

Saturday, 14 March 2009 09:21

If you have a rainy Sunday afternoon, or are stuck at home ill and need some good, honest chew the scenery acting this is the film for you. Not only does "The Wild Geese" have a storyline, and real characters, it has damn fine actors to play the parts. Richard Burton, Roger Moore and Richard Harris lead a cast of actors who you will have seen in countless other films and TV shows of the 60s and 70s.

The film follows the story of a group of mercenaries made up of retired and out-of-work soldiers who are happy to get back to doing what they do best. The rag tag bunch is sent on a mission by British industrialists to rescue a deposed political leader from a remote corner of the African wilderness.

The Wild Geese on DVDLittle do the mercenaries know that they are to be double crossed by the man behind the mission played by Stewart Granger with menace and avarice.

The film is typical of its genre, with tense moments followed by exhilarating action. Although nearly the first hour of the film is about the formation of the Wild Geese it is still entertaining. The two Richards try desperately to act each other off the screen and Moore is very cool and suitably different from Bond to make him interesting.

There are some quiet moments between the action, most notably conversations between Hardy Kruger’s South African lieutenant and Winston Ntshona kidnapped African leader. They have to overcome their distaste for one another and develop a bond that is quite touching and certainly believable.

Other performances of note are Frank Finlay’s Irish missionary who begrudgingly helps the mercenaries between outbursts of how much he hates them, and Kenneth Griffith’s somewhat effeminate medical orderly fair steals the show.

The theme music sung by the brilliant Joan Armatrading with images of Africa and her people does give an image of quite a different film, and one wonders if the political and human side of the story were supposed to be the main focus of the final screenplay.

This Special Edition DVD release boasts an interesting documentary about the film’s producer Euan Lloyd, as well as a commentary from star Roger Moore, Euan Lloyd and editor John Glen (who went on to direct several Bond films). There is also newsreel footage of the star-studded premiere, which shows how much premieres have changed over the years. None of the now common place star ‘walkabouts’ or screaming fans, just well behaved celebrities and rather complacent fans.

This is a film that would not be out of place on many a film buff’s shelves, mainly due to the stellar cast. There is an actor in the movie for most film fans. It is a passable modern (1978) war film but set in a place not often associated with war films. The film highlights many moral and political issues but at the same time is good fun and very entertaining. 

The film is not perfect, the first act does drag a little with storylines that have little relevance to the main plot, but they do set up the characters well. Unlike some ensemble pieces the viewer will care about the characters and will be rooting for them to overcome the bad guys.

So sit back and enjoy a film that can be watched for the moral good versus evil standpoint, or just as simple honest entertainment.

“The Wild Geese – Special Edition” is released on 30 Marc 2009, has a ‘15’ Certificate, and a RRP of £15.99 – or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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