Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sudden Death (US/Philippines Action, 1975)

1975 – Sudden Death (Topar Films/Caruth C. Byrd Pictures Inc/Hemisphere Pictures [Philippines])

[American co-production with Eddie Romero’s Hemisphere Pictures, filmed in English; released in Mexico as “Muerte Violenta”, and in Finland as “Tuhoojat”]

Director/Philippines Producer Eddie Romero Writer Oscar Williams Producers J. Skeet Wilson, John Ashley Executive Producer Caruth C. Byrd Associate Producers Chuck Courtney, Harry Kohoyda Jr Cinematography Justo Paulino Music Johnny Pate Editors Edward Mann, [uncredited] Monte Hellman Associate Director Eddie Garcia

Unlisted on US credits: 1st Assistant Editor Soly Bina Music Editor Ving Hershon Production Co-Ordinator Harry Kohovda Jr Production Manager Mario David Script Supervisor Boots Wilson Fernandez 2nd Assistant Rodolfo Dabao Jr Production Secretary Lolita Abesamis Assistant to the Producers Harriet Bergere Production Designer Roberto A. Formoso Decor Francisco Balanque Special Effects Supervisor Teofilo Hilario Stunt Co-Ordinator Chuck Courtney Makeup Supervisor Tony Artieda Wardrobe Supervisors Romme Valencia, Beth Heyres Propmaster David Delina Ordinance Denis V. Juban Stills Carl Kuntze Post-Production Supervisor Eric Jeffrey Haims Production Sound Mixer Rustie Castro 2nd Unit Cameramen Proceso Lazaro, Edmund Cupcupin, Jess Masangkay Post-Production Recording Cinesound Music Supervisor J. Skeet Wilson

Cast Robert Conrad (Harrison “Duke” Smith), Don Stroud (Dominic Elba), Felton Perry (Wyatt Spain), John Ashley (John Shaw), Thayer David (Hauser), Alina Samson, Larry Manetti, Caruth C. Byrd, Chuck Courtney, Ken Metcalfe (Edward Neilsen), Jenny Green, Jess Barker, Nancy Conrad (Melissa Smith), Angelo Ventura, Eddie Garcia (Raoul Hidalgo), Conrad Poe (Brownhats Leader), Tony Gonsalvez, Rocco Montalban (Reuben Gasca), Robert Rivera, Angie Ferro, Joanna Ignatius, [uncredited] Vic Diaz (Carnival Barker), Romy Nario (Bar Goon) [Also listed on the IMDB but not on credits: Bill Raymond, Ron Vawter]

Mini-review by Andrew Leavold

It’s a supreme joy to watch two of the the great 70s tough guys, Robert Conrad and Don Stroud, pound each other into bloodied mince in a Manila meat works in Eddie Romero’s bleak, black and breathtakingly suave B pic. An international sugar company’s left-leaning President (Ken Metcalfe) watches helplessly as he is shot and his family massacred in the film’s distinctly unsettling opening, and tries to enlist the help of retired CIA man and now beach bum “Duke” Smith (Conrad) before his car in blown to smithereens. The firm’s go-to man (John Ashley) sets up the local anti-corporate activist Brownhats (led by Fernando Poe Jr’s half-brother Conrad) to take the fall, but Duke and his former CIA cohort Wyatt (Blaxploitation regular Felton Perry) decide to take on the company in an all-out war. The two-thirds mark signals Stroud’s entrance as Dominic Elba, a dandy top-dollar assassin and Duke’s respected adversary, and the film subsequently hurtles from one bloodied squib to endless shotgun blasts and its ultimately dour ending with a ferociously assured hand. Romero’s gallows humour from Savage Sisters (1974) is on display (see the brothel scene where a judge is caught with a sheep!) within his characteristically literate and imaginative camera frame; the leads are uniformly excellent, as is Eddie Garcia (also “Associate Director”) as the company’s local Machiavellian representative, Thayer David as the slimy Teutonic chairman and child molester, and the late great Vic Diaz as an uncredited carnival barker. Also missing from the credits is Monte Hellman, Romero’s associate on Flight To Fury (1963), as co-editor. 

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