Moore Not Less - Shout at the Devil
with all the spectacle of King Solomon's Mines, the drama of African
Queen, the passion of Snows of Kilimanjaro and the majesty of Lawrence
of Arabia. It is a spectacular adventure you will always remember and a
beautiful love story you will never forget!"
At the Devil saw Roger working again with Gold director Peter Hunt and
producer Michael Klinger to adapt another Wilbur Smith novel. A number
of capable hands from the James Bond films added their expertise
besides Hunt. Maurice Binder, Derek Meddings, John Glen etc. The film
is based (loosely) on the sinking of the SMS Königsberg.
at the Devil was the most expensive film made in 1976, costing around
$9,000,000. Michael Klinger again provoked controversy by shooting in
South Africa with South African finance. What did Klinger do in between
Gold and Shout At the Devil? He produced the Confessions films with
The headline star
besides Roger was Lee Marvin. Roger seemed to like Lee Marvin in his
memoirs but did say that the American actor was frequently as p******
as a newt on the set. When they did the fight scene between their
characters Roger wrote that Marvin was drunk and - with a red mist in
his eyes - threw punches for real! Lee Marvin apparently got into a
fight with Japanese journalists when he arrived to start production. It
seems this actor could create a rumpus in an empty room.
At the Devil wasn't marketed very well in North America and so was
somewhat underexposed there and wasn't really a blockbuster but it has
held up fairly well over the years and is generally regarded to a
decent old-fashioned period action film with some nice production
values and special effects. This is the sort of film they don't really
make anymore in these CGI festooned times. It used to be that if you
made an adventure film you had to travel and shoot in real locations
around the world. Shout At the Devil is from that old school era of
filmmaking. There are no plastic jungles or green screen computer
generated rivers in this film.
circa 1913. The boozy Colonel Flynn O'Flynn (Lee Marvin), an American
in Africa, takes advantage of gullible British toff Sebastian Oldsmith
(Roger Moore) to pilfer ivory from German controlled territory. But
O'Flynn and Oldsmith draw the predictable fury of the wicked Herman
Fleischer (Reinhard Kolldehoff), the German Commander of Southern
marries O'Flynn's daughter Rosa (Barbara Parkins) but when Fleischer
extracts a tragic revenge, O'Flynn and Oldsmith set out for vengeance
and their mission becomes embroiled with Britain's entry into the war...
At the Devil has too much plot for its own good at times but despite
the fairly lengthy running time this is a relatively solid period caper
with plenty of action. The film is dated, as seventies adventure capers
tend to be, but it is competently made and the action is well staged
when it arrives. Peter Hunt is a very safe pair of hands here.
fans have often wondered why Peter Hunt didn't direct any more Bond
films after 1969 but he always claimed he was it was down to timing.
They always seemed to ask him when he was already working on something
else. Hunt wasn't too bothered by this though and was very happy with
the way that the films he made with Roger turned out. "Whilst I've
often been disappointed about things I wanted to do that never came
off," said Hunt, "I've done some films that I'm awfully proud of which
are out of the Bond idiom, away from the protected society of Broccoli
and Saltzman and all that. It was very protective for me, and very nice
and good, but I was able to go off and make my own films, like Gold and
Shout at the Devil, both starring Roger Moore, which I'm proud of and
which were very different from Bond."
Marvin is well cast as O'Flynn in Shout at the Devil. As he was
genuinely two sheets to the wind on the set he presumably didn't have
to work too hard to get into the character of a whiskered drunkard.
This is the let it all hang out super broad Lee Marvin rather than the
stoic strong silent Lee Marvin.
works pretty well with Roger in the film as this mismatched pair of
bounders. Part of the charm I suppose is that they don't even seem to
be acting in the same film at times! The story has a dark twist that
threatens to sour the general boy's own atmosphere but it's to the
credit of Peter Hunt and the film that it manages to survive this
change of gear without going completely off the rails.
At the Devil is a very incoherent film at times but the slapstick,
action, and eccentricity keeps it ticking over where many long films
might have stretched one's patience a lot more. One obvious problem
though is that - even with the knowledge that this is a period film -
it's a bit hard to summon much sympathy for the characters when they
apparently exploit elephants for profit. Big game poachers and those in
the ivory trade are obviously best deployed as villains. Leave the
elephants and animals alone I say.
Kolldehoff chews the scenary up as the evil Fleischer and makes a
decent baddie. The film has a believable sense of location and the
period detail is well handled with the costumes and old boats and
ships. The score by Maurice Jarre also serves as a stirring backdrop to
the mayhem and images onscreen. It's quite a novel element also to have
a World War I era film that isn't set in Europe. We forget that the
tentacles of that conflict had ripples in some far flung places.
is somewhat on the old side by now to be playing the boyish romantic
lead but he just about gets away with it (mainly by looking younger
than he actually is in real life) and throws himself into the film as
best he can. A big fight scene between Lee Marvin and Roger is
enjoyably long and daft and like something out of an old Western.
Oldsmith is a character that's hard to believe in at times but Roger
does his best with the various strands he has to pick up. Some require
him to be suave and others grim. Ian Holm is quite amusing as Marvin's
mute sidekick and Barbara Parkins is good as Rosa.
At the Devil is no classic and falls short of Sean Connery's The Man
Who Would Be King but it passes the time and is worth a watch if you've
never seen it before.