R | | Action, Adventure, Drama
Mercenary James Shannon, on a reconnaissance job to the African nation of Zangaro, is tortured and deported. He returns to lead a coup.
John Irvin had previously shot footage in the middle of real-life battles when he worked in a television news crew in Vietnam during the 1960s. Irvin once said: "Unlike most young film directors, I've been in battle. Throughout the '60s I went to various war zones and I met numerous mercenaries in Algeria and South East Asia, so I had my own personal strings to draw on. I would say our depiction of mercenaries is pretty accurate. We talked to a lot of mercenaries and were able to get a lot of information from them about how they would have handled the operation."
What happened to us just providing tactical and logistical support?
The train announced as calling at Rugby, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Sheffield would have been running on the Great Central Railway. This closed to passengers in 1960, long before the time in which the film is set. It would anyway have departed from Marylebone Station rather than Liverpool Street.
Although the cinema version was uncut the 1986 UK video was cut by 5 secs by the BBFC to remove shots of broken glass being forced into the mouth of Endean's man before being beaten up by Shannon. The 2001 MGM DVD restored the film to its original 119 minute UK length, which had additional character development, including an early scene of Shannon attending the baptism of a fellow mercenary's child, a bed scene between Shannon and Jessie, a scene of the raiding party being delayed by a closed drawbridge, Shannon pressuring Hackett to deliver the Valencia shipment, and extensive footage between Shannon and Lockhart where the latter persuades Spanish officials to allow the cargo on to the boat.
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