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Dark of the Sun (1968)

The Mercenaries (original title)
Approved | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 3 July 1968 (USA)
A band of mercenaries led by Captain Curry travel through war-torn Congo across deadly terrain, battling rival armies, to steal $50 million in uncut diamonds. But infighting, sadistic rebels and a time lock jeopardize everything.

Director:

Jack Cardiff

Writers:

Ranald MacDougall (screenplay) (as Quentin Werty), Adrian Spies (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Rod Taylor ... Capt. Bruce Curry
Yvette Mimieux ... Claire
Peter Carsten ... Capt. Henlein
Jim Brown ... Sgt. Ruffo
Kenneth More ... Doctor Wreid
André Morell ... Bussier
Olivier Despax Olivier Despax ... Surrier
Guy Deghy ... Delage
Bloke Modisane ... Kataki
Calvin Lockhart ... President Mwamini Ubi
Alan Gifford ... Jansen
David Bauer ... Adams
Murray Kash Murray Kash ... Cochrane
John Serret ... Father Dominic
Danny Daniels ... General Moses
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Storyline

British commando, Captain Curry, is hired by President Ubi of war-torn Congo, to steal $50 million in uncut diamonds from a time-locked vault before the separatist Simba army that's fighting Ubi's forces and the UN peacekeepers overruns the remote town where the bank that holds the vault is located. Curry teams up with his friend Ruffo, Doctor Wreid, who's an alcoholic, and Henlein, a sadistic Nazi who left Germany after WWII to work as a mercenary. The mercenaries reach the town by Ubi's train after surviving an attack from the UN peacekeepers, only to find a number of terrified Westerners who were driven out from their homes by force, including torture, rape and murder, by the Simba rebels. They agree to help them leave town and befriend one of them, a pretty widow called Claire whose husband was murdered by the rebels. As their mission nears completion everything suddenly goes horribly wrong and the story culminates in an orgy of sadistic graphic violence as Henlein betrays the ...

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Brutes! Savages! Heroes! ...Paid to fight in the fury of the Congo! [UK theatrical] See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

3 July 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dark of the Sun See more »

Filming Locations:

Jamaica See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was a particular influence on Quentin Tarantino who used several tracks from the score for his film Inglourious Basterds (2009). Rod Taylor appears in that movie as Winston Churchill. See more »

Goofs

The Swedish UN forces are seen carrying the FN FAL rifle. Neither the regular Swedish Army nor the Swedish UN troops ever used this rifle. See more »

Quotes

Doctor Wreid: [thrown onboard the train in a drunken stupor] Aah, piss off!
Sergeant Ruffo: [to Curry, smiling] Captain, the Doctor.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Great film, but who is the "good guy"?
21 October 2002 | by grendelkhanSee all my reviews

This is an excellent film and definitely one of Rod Taylor's best performances. Taylor is Curry, a mercenary commander in the Congo, during the Katanga secession. Jim Brown is his friend and number two, a US educated Congolese. Taylor plays Curry as a true mercenary of the period: ruthless, greedy, loyal to his comrades, and distrustful of his rivals and employers.

The film mixes two different periods of the civil wars in the Congo; the Katanga secession in 1960 and the Simba revolt in 1964. The original book is set squarely during the Katanga period and involves the Baluba war, not the Simba's. However both periods were exemplified by brutality on all sides. The film accurately portrays the enmity between the Katanga forces and the UN troops sent to intervene. It also accurately depicts the Belgian interests in Katanga.

Much like the train the mercenaries ride, the film starts out slow and builds up steam along the route. By the end, it's a runaway that comes crashing to its end. This is war and humanity at its worst, make no mistake. The closest I can come to finding a "good guy" is Jim Brown, the soldier who wants his country to be free and have its place in the modern world.

The Nazi character was based on an actual German mercenary in the Congo, Siegfried Mueller. Mueller was noted for wearing the Iron Cross, which he earned in the Second World War, on his uniform. The film makers changed it to a swastika for greater effect (I presume). There is a slight problem with the continuity of this character, as part way through the film, his voice is obviously dubbed by another actor. Presumably, this was due to sound problems and the unavailability of the actor to loop his lines (It sounds like Paul Frees).

All-in-all this is a great film; vastly superior to others of the genre, such as The Wild Geese and The Dogs of War. Just remember, war more often brings out the worst in humanity, rather than the best.


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