Sunday, May 8, 2011

70'S FOCUS .. SUNBURN .. 1979 ..

FARRAH FAWCETT as Ellie Morgan
ART CARNEY as Al Marcus
JOAN COLLINS as Nera Ortega
ALEJANDRO REY as Fons Ortega
KEENAN WYNN as Mark Elmes
  Assistant Director's - Steve Barnett / Mario Cisneros
   Director of Photography - Alex Phillips Jr
     Music by John Cameron
      Screenplay by John Daly / Stephen Oliver/ James Booth
       From the Novel - 'The Bind' by Stanley Ellin
        Produced by John Daly / Gerald Green
          Directed by Richard C Sarafian
Jake Dekker, an investigator is hired by a New York insurance corporation to investigate a dubious five million dollar claim, on a wealthy industrialist, who has just been killed. Jake hires a dizzy model to pose as his wife, they both jet off to Acapulco, to start the investigation. Soon after Jake discovers that this case won't be easy to crack, as danger lurks around every corner. He soon realises, what had started out as an expensive insurance scam becomes much, much more! Can Jake and Ellie escape with their lives, without getting their fingers burnt? Will they fall victim to a bad case of Sunburn?
 (c) 1979  HEMDALE  98 MINS  COLOR ....
This 1979 film was another attempt by Farrah Fawcett to start a successful film career, after leaving the hit series, 'Charlie's Angels'. However like the previous effort','Somebody Killed Her Husband', plus 'Saturn 3' which followed this release, her career eventually ended back in tv land! Farrah was excited about this film, she was sure the film had enough to make it.
"I don't want to play a character whose sole function is to stand and look pretty. Ellie's a three dimensional character, that's what attracted me to the role, what intrigued me was the fact she is hardly the perfect heroine. She's funny and vulnerable and if she existed, we'd be great friends! To me Ellie is a real human being."

 'Sunburn' was filmed on location in Acapulco, producer John Daly wanted to capture it as tellingly as possible. With it's twenty three beaches, luxury hotels and discos,he wanted to show some of it's landmarks. The San Diego Fort, perched on a bluff overlooking the town, as well as The Plaza Del Toros. This revered shrine for all bullfight fans, was used for the bullfighting scenes. It was filled with the citizens of Acapulco, for the days of shooting, using five camera to shoot the scenes. The luxurious villa serving as home to Dekker and Ellie, is part of the sumptuous Las Brisas Hotel, on the southern side of the bay. It was one of the worlds most unusual and expensive hideaways,made up of secluded villas and bungalows, where waiters drive jeeps to deliver room service, with every suite having its own plunge pool. Moss Mabry was assigned to create the costumes, the four time Oscar nominee bringing a touch of luxury to the wardrobe. He recalled..
" In Acapulco, the operative word is casual. But it must reek of money. I went for richness of fabrics and simplicity of lines, Farrah wears the designs exquisitely. Long skirted gowns for evening soirees, while daytimes scenes demanded items like a belted tunic. I also did bikinis and scuba gear and Farrah frankly looks a knockout!"
Producers decided to film 'Sunburn' during the rainy season, as it would have few tourists and hopefully only short lived daily showers! But predictably the weekend before filming was due to begin, torrential rain poured down! However by time the cameras rolled at Acapulco airport, it was sunny skies, all went to plan. With an all star cast, the film should have been a box office hit, but it only did fair business, with reviews mixed..
'Sunburn concludes with a shot of Miss Fawcett and Charles Grodin uncorking a bottle of champagne. Indeed this is a movie that for all it's unnecessary twists, aspires to nothing more than being bubbly! Both stars, embark on one of those romantic/comedy/adventure/mystery stories that fall into no particular genre, save that of the breezy mishmash. Joan Collins performance stands out most and not for the best reasons! Miss Collins aggressive nymphomaniac routine is supposed to be funny this time... It's not!'
With Farrah and Charles Grodin as the main stars, the other players get little screen time..Joan appears in two extended scenes and are the films highlights as she plays the frustrated drunken housewife Nera..Seen firstly at a party at her villa, looking elegant as ever, She later appears in a hilarious scene where she is drunk on Brandy and tries to seduce Dekker (Grodin)..Eleanor Parker shows up as a widow, but gets very little screen time. It was hardly worth leaving her Palm Springs home, where she moved with her family, as she had decided to semi retire from the screen. Both Joan and Eleanor appeared in the Paramount release 'Warning Shot'.. Ironically in that film, Joan only had two scenes, while Eleanor played a widow, with little screen time! Like Joan's other 70's releases 'The Stud' and 'The Bitch', this film also spawned a hit soundtrack album, released by Ronco records..Some night club scenes were shot at the fashionable disco club 'Le Jardin', where some of the disco tracks on the album can be heard.. Although not a masterpiece, 'Sunburn' is a fun adventure, with exotic locations, a good cast and Farrah at the height of her fabulousness, surely that's worth getting your fingers burnt for.. Although the film was available on video in the 80's, it has yet to turn up on DVD.. Although a Japanese release was available a few years ago from MGM, I have as copy.. Hopefully it will get a release in reg 1 or 2 any day soon....
  (c) 2011  Mark McMorrow...


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