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Patrick Schoenmaker

Indiana Jones' Influences
Classic Adventures
Inspirations
Legacy
References
Classic Adventures
The Spiders
The Thief of Bagdad
The Black Watch
East of Borneo
Mask of Fu Manchu
She
Captain Blood
Lost Horizon
Storm Over Bengal
Only Angels Have Wings
The Sea Hawk
Sundown
King Solomon's Mines
White Witch Doctor

Fritz Lang's Indian Epic

The Man Who Would Be King

The Four Feathers

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TheRaider.net Research Indy's Influences Classics Adventures Sundown
 
Sundown
 

Released by United Artists - 1941

Directed by: Henry Hathaway
Written by: Barré Lyndon
Produced by: Walter Wanger

Starring:
Gene Tierney .... Zia
Bruce Cabot .... William Crawford, District Commissioner of Manieka
George Sanders .... Major Coombes
Harry Carey .... Dewey
Joseph Calleia .... Pallini
Reginald Gardiner .... Lt. Roddy Turner

 

Dames! Desert! Nazis! Sundown is “B movie” material handled by the great Henry Hathaway as if it were an “A.”


Gene Tierney

With beauty queen looks and exotic short-topped costumes Gene Tierney (The Egyptian) plays the daughter of an Arab prince alternating loyalties between warring factions in Nazi-invaded Africa. An infatuated Bruce Cabot (King Kong) follows her to their enemy’s camp, a jagged-toothed cave stockpiled with ammo and explosives. It seems the Nazis have decided to take Africa then deny ports to the Allies. Damn! They’re always up to something!


Traveling through Africa.

But that’s not all fellow adventure lovers! Cabot is guided through the dangerous African terrain by a great white hunter, played by Harry Carry, who appears to be reprising his role from the hugely successful Trader Horn from ten years earlier. While Trader Horn is – sadly - not a movie I’d recommend, I can say that Harry Carry was a great actor and Sundown benefits tremendously from his participation as a sort of old man Allan Quartermain. Despite the yawn-inducing title, Sundown makes fantastic escapist entertainment in the grand tradition of Hollywood’s golden years.


Searching for the
enemy's camp.

Even a little over-indulgence on the part of a single actor or Henry Hathaway as director and the whole thing could have been thrown horribly off course. Sometimes it’s easier to assess a director’s skill by looking at what they do with lesser works like this. The Sundown script by Barre Lyndon does not have the richness of Lives of a Bengal Lancer for example. The first half is way too thick with exposition. Fortunately, a complex and compelling scenario does unfold out of it all, leading viewers into a thrilling and briskly paced second half.

While not as well known as Max Steiner or Wolfgang Korngold, Miklos Rozsa (who did an extraordinary score for Valley of the Kings) was one of Hollywood’s greatest composers ever. Add him to the list of excellent craftsmen responsible for elevating the quality of this relatively small film. (Stephen Jared)

 

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