Shout at the Devil (1976)

PG | 128 mins | Adventure | 5 November 1976

Director:

Peter Hunt

Producer:

Michael Klinger

Cinematographer:

Michael Reed

Editor:

Michael Duthie

Production Designer:

Syd Cain

Production Company:

Tonav Film Productions, Ltd.
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HISTORY

The opening credits are followed by the written statements: “This story is based on a remarkable but true incident that took place in Africa in 1913, before the Great War when the world was different;” “The Producers wish to assure you that not a single animal was injured in the making of this film.”
       The end credits conclude with the written statement: “The Producer wishes to thank the directors of The Kruger National Park, for their help and co-operation. We also wish to assure you that not a single animal was injured in the making of this film. We also wish to express our grateful thanks to the people of the Transkei and Malta for their help and co-operation" and "Made on location in the Transkei and Malta by Tonav Film Productions Limited, 10 de Walden Court, 85 New Cavendish Street, London, W.I.”
       It was announced in the 14 Apr 1969 HR that producer Michael Klinger was contracted to produce a film version of Wilbur Smith’s 1968 novel Shout at the Devil, financed by Cinerama, Inc.; however, Cinerama is not credited onscreen. Principal photography was scheduled to begin in May or Jun 1970 in Africa. The 25 Jun 1969 Var reported that locations had been changed to Portuguese East Africa, which offered “a steaming jungle,” unlike the planned locations in South Africa. Principal photography began May 1969, and the eight-month shoot was set to include Mozambique Island, Mozambique, Kampuala, Uganda, the Quelmarine and Gorburg Game Reserves, Cape Town, South Africa, and Malta, which had a large water tank for special-effects filming. Interior photography would take place ... More Less

The opening credits are followed by the written statements: “This story is based on a remarkable but true incident that took place in Africa in 1913, before the Great War when the world was different;” “The Producers wish to assure you that not a single animal was injured in the making of this film.”
       The end credits conclude with the written statement: “The Producer wishes to thank the directors of The Kruger National Park, for their help and co-operation. We also wish to assure you that not a single animal was injured in the making of this film. We also wish to express our grateful thanks to the people of the Transkei and Malta for their help and co-operation" and "Made on location in the Transkei and Malta by Tonav Film Productions Limited, 10 de Walden Court, 85 New Cavendish Street, London, W.I.”
       It was announced in the 14 Apr 1969 HR that producer Michael Klinger was contracted to produce a film version of Wilbur Smith’s 1968 novel Shout at the Devil, financed by Cinerama, Inc.; however, Cinerama is not credited onscreen. Principal photography was scheduled to begin in May or Jun 1970 in Africa. The 25 Jun 1969 Var reported that locations had been changed to Portuguese East Africa, which offered “a steaming jungle,” unlike the planned locations in South Africa. Principal photography began May 1969, and the eight-month shoot was set to include Mozambique Island, Mozambique, Kampuala, Uganda, the Quelmarine and Gorburg Game Reserves, Cape Town, South Africa, and Malta, which had a large water tank for special-effects filming. Interior photography would take place at Pinewood Studios in England. No cast members or director had been selected, but Douglas Slocombe and Geoffrey Drake were named as cameraman and production designer, respectively. Neither is credited onscreen. Completion of the film was expected by summer or fall 1971.
       The picture remained in limbo for several years until the 16 Oct 1974 Var reported that photography would resume on the $8 million production in Feb 1975 with Peter Hunt directing. According to a news item in the 17 Mar 1975 Box, principal photography began 3 Mar 1975 in South Africa.
       In a 16 Apr 1975 Var article, Michael Klinger admitted to hiring British crewmembers who defied the boycott of South African apartheid by their union, the Association of Cinematograph Television and Allied Technicians (ACTT). Klinger argued that a large production such as Shout at the Devil provided long-term employment for people in the film industry who were desperate for work, so he encountered no difficulties in finding personnel. In addition to receiving financing from South African investors, Klinger was also impressed with the accommodating attitude of the South African authorities. A full-scale replica of a German battleship, an antique “gun bus” fighter plane and an operating steamboat that traveled the Umzimvubu River were built in South Africa for the production, as well as a German fort and homestead sets.
       The 6 May 1975 HR announced that eleven weeks of photography in South Africa had ended, and the production was moving to Malta the following day, 7 May 1975, where the sinking of the replica German battleship would be filmed over six additional weeks of shooting. Klinger, who had acquired distribution for the film throughout much of the world, except the U.S. and Canada, chartered a plane to Malta for media and distributors on 20 May 1975 to exhibit the production and its stars. He also planned to show excerpts from the film at the 1975 Cannes Film Festival. A news item in the 10 Sep 1975 Var stated that Klinger was in the process of shipping the scale model German battleship and British fighter plane to the U.S. to be used as promotional materials in “a sort of traveling museum” that would accompany Shout at the Devil at some of the film’s openings.
       Production notes from AMPAS library files stated that the mechanical crocodile used in the picture was controlled from the inside by a special effects operator. The scene in which the German battleship rams a sailing vessel was created using a combination of models, full-size replicas and front projection.
       The 14 Jan 1976 DV estimated the budget for Shout at the Devil at $9.5 million, “the most expensive independent production of all time,” according to American International Pictures (AIP), the film’s U.S. distributor. The 2 Feb 1976 DV reported that AIP, a self-described “mini-major,” was booking the film at rental rates comparable to those charged by major studios. One exhibitor complained that the high cost of the booking the film would make it unavailable to independent theaters, for which AIP’s product had traditionally been targeted. AIP’s plans to release the film in Apr 1976 were postponed in order to give the studio’s publicity department time to build “a massive campaign,” as stated in the 18 Feb 1976 Var. According to the 25 Jun 1976 HR, AIP was considering a new title for Shout at the Devil for its U.S. release, as the company was concerned that the public would expect a story about the supernatural. However, the title proved not to be an issue in England, where the film was already attracting large audiences. Shout at the Devil was scheduled to open nationally 5 Nov 1976, as reported in the 1 Nov 1976 Box.
       Reviews for the picture were mixed. While the 20 Dec 1976 Time gave the film a lukewarm endorsement, describing Lee Marvin’s performance as “a full-fledged W. C. Fields impression gone native,” the 5 Nov 1976 LAT condemned the screenplay’s unapologetic disregard for the African characters. However, the 4 Nov 1976 HR singled out the film’s special effects for high praise.
       A news item in the 25 Aug 1976 DV announced that Michael Klinger commissioned author Wilbur Smith to write a sequel to Shout at the Devil . Klinger intended to offer actors Lee Marvin, Roger Moore and Barbara Parkins the opportunity to reprise their starring roles.
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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
17 Mar 1975.
---
Box Office
7 Jul 1975.
---
Box Office
1 Nov 1976.
---
Daily Variety
14 Jan 1976.
---
Daily Variety
2 Feb 1976
p. 1, 30.
Daily Variety
25 Feb 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Apr 1969.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Apr 1969.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 May 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jun 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jun 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Nov 1976
p. 3.
LAHExam
5 May 1975.
---
LAHExam
9 Nov 1976.
---
Los Angeles Times
5 Nov 1976
p. 16.
New York Times
20 Oct 1974.
---
New York Times
25 Nov 1976.
---
Time
20 Dec 1976.
---
Variety
25 Jun 1969.
---
Variety
16 Oct 1974.
---
Variety
16 Apr 1975.
---
Variety
10 Sep 1975.
---
Variety
18 Feb 1976.
---
Variety
14 Apr 1976
p. 23.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Michael Klinger Production
A Peter Hunt Film
A Neville Meyer and Denis Bieber Presentation
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d unit dir
Prod mgr, Africa
Prod mgr, Malta
PRODUCERS
Asst prod
Assoc prod
Prod assoc
Prod assoc
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Gaffer
Grip
Aerial photog
2d unit cam
2d unit cam op
Process work by
Equip and servicing by
Elec services
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir, Africa
Art dir, Malta
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Props
Const, Africa
Const, Malta
Set dresser, Africa
Set dresser, Malta
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
SOUND
Dubbing ed
Dubbing rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Flying seq
Models and spec eff
Main title des
MAKEUP
Make-up
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Continuity
Casting
Prod accountant
Prod secy
Liaison
Pre-prod work and services
2d unit loc mgr
Loc mgr, Africa
Casting, Africa
Spec facilities, Malta
STAND INS
Stunt and fight arr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Shout at the Devil by Wilbur Smith (London, 1968).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
5 November 1976
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 5 November 1976
New York opening: 24 November 1976
Production Date:
began 3 March 1975 in South Africa
Copyright Claimant:
Orion Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
13 April 1976
Copyright Number:
LF00370
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Colour by Technicolor®
Widescreen/ratio
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
128
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
24521
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1913, the German battleship Blucher is anchored in the Indian Ocean near Zanzibar, Tanzania. Aboard ship, Captain Von Kleine complains that British interference prevents them from docking on the island. Kyller, his subordinate, replies, “Some day we’ll show them.” In Zanzibar, ivory hunter Colonel Flynn Patrick O’Flynn promises ten tons of elephant tusks to a wealthy merchant named El Keb. Because the elephants are in German-controlled territory, Flynn would need to transport the ivory in one of El Keb’s dhow boats to avoid arrest for poaching. El Keb agrees only if the dhow sails under the British flag, which would require that Flynn, an American, partner with a British citizen. With the help of his mute servant, Mohammed, Flynn learns of an Englishman named Sebastian Oldsmith, who is traveling to Australia to work on his brother’s sheep ranch. That night, while Sebastian sleeps, Mohammed steals his money and ticket to Australia. The next morning, as Sebastian tries to explain his plight to the hotel clerk, Flynn appears and pays the bill, then offers Sebastian the opportunity to recover his losses by becoming an ivory hunter. When Flynn, Sebastian, and their hunting party arrive in German East Africa, a native informs Herman Fleischer, German Commissioner and Military Commander, of their presence. Fleischer correctly guesses that the group is led by Flynn, his longtime nemesis. The hunt yields 5000 pounds of ivory, which is loaded onto the dhow, with Sebastian as its reluctant commander. Flynn and his party of native laborers travel overland, where ... +


In 1913, the German battleship Blucher is anchored in the Indian Ocean near Zanzibar, Tanzania. Aboard ship, Captain Von Kleine complains that British interference prevents them from docking on the island. Kyller, his subordinate, replies, “Some day we’ll show them.” In Zanzibar, ivory hunter Colonel Flynn Patrick O’Flynn promises ten tons of elephant tusks to a wealthy merchant named El Keb. Because the elephants are in German-controlled territory, Flynn would need to transport the ivory in one of El Keb’s dhow boats to avoid arrest for poaching. El Keb agrees only if the dhow sails under the British flag, which would require that Flynn, an American, partner with a British citizen. With the help of his mute servant, Mohammed, Flynn learns of an Englishman named Sebastian Oldsmith, who is traveling to Australia to work on his brother’s sheep ranch. That night, while Sebastian sleeps, Mohammed steals his money and ticket to Australia. The next morning, as Sebastian tries to explain his plight to the hotel clerk, Flynn appears and pays the bill, then offers Sebastian the opportunity to recover his losses by becoming an ivory hunter. When Flynn, Sebastian, and their hunting party arrive in German East Africa, a native informs Herman Fleischer, German Commissioner and Military Commander, of their presence. Fleischer correctly guesses that the group is led by Flynn, his longtime nemesis. The hunt yields 5000 pounds of ivory, which is loaded onto the dhow, with Sebastian as its reluctant commander. Flynn and his party of native laborers travel overland, where they are attacked by Fleischer and his colonial troops. With a bullet in his leg, Flynn’s escape is further impaired by the presence of a hungry crocodile, which Sebastian dispatches at the last second. Meanwhile, Fleischer captures Flynn’s surviving men and has them hanged. Flynn is taken aboard the dhow, where he gets drunk on gin while Sebastian removes the bullet. Within seconds, the hunters are under attack from Fleischer and his troops, who pursue them in a steamboat. Sebastian slows the steamboat’s progress by throwing a fishnet into the river, which gets tangled in the paddlewheel. Later, when both vessels reach the Indian Ocean, Fleischer boards the Blucher and insists that Von Kleine destroy the dhow. After ramming the boat, Von Kleine has a wooden raft thrown to the crewmembers. When the raft is later destroyed by a coral reef, the hunters swim to shore and take refuge at Flynn’s homestead in Lalapanzi, Zimbabwe, which is under Portuguese jurisdiction. When they arrive, Flynn’s daughter, Rosa, refuses her drunken father entry until he is sober, but she admits Sebastian, who is sick with malaria. A romance develops between them as she nurses him back to health. Meanwhile, Flynn and Mohammed give their African laborers shooting lessons and disguise them as German colonial troops. Flynn, believing that the German government owes him for his lost ivory, convinces Sebastian to travel to German East Africa posing as a tax collector. Rosa protests, fearing that Sebastian will be killed, but Flynn assures her that Fleischer is at the opposite end of the territory. Sebastian sets off on his journey with a German phrase book and a tax chest containing coins, accompanied by Mohammed and several ersatz soldiers. The group arrives at a small village, where the residents feign extreme poverty. When the chief tells Sebastian of his village’s hardships, Mohammed threatens him with a noose, but Sebastian hands the chief money from the tax chest. Word of the incident spreads throughout the region, and the scenario is repeated in several villages before Sebastian runs out of coins. Eventually, Fleischer and Sebastian enter the same village, and while their respective troops battle, Sebastian and Mohammed steal Fleischer’s donkey and the tax chest strapped to its back. Sebastian and his men return to Lalapanzi with £4652, which Flynn is unwilling to share. Rosa and Sebastian make their case by explaining that they are engaged, now that Rosa is pregnant. Flynn is outraged and challenges Sebastian to a fistfight. Despite Sebastian’s refusal, the two men brawl until neither is able to stand, to the amusement of the African laborers. Sebastian and Rosa are married on 18 Feb 1914, and their daughter, Maria, is born several months later. When Flynn and Sebastian embark on their next ivory expedition, the elephants are frightened away by Fleischer and his troops, who have a cannon in tow. The hunters invade the German fort as an act of retribution, and learn that Germany is at war with England, France, Russia and Portugal, revealing the purpose of Fleischer journey into Portuguese Territory. Concerned for the safety of Rosa and Maria, the group returns to Lalapanzi, where they find the homestead burned to the ground and Maria dead; Rosa becomes obsessed with punishing Fleischer for Maria’s passing. Sometime later, Sebastian, Flynn and Rosa fire on Fleischer’s troops as they move several large-wheeled wagons down a hillside. In the ensuing mayhem, Flynn captures a German naval officer, who refuses to answer questions about Fleischer’s destination or the contents of the wagons. Rosa, blinded by hatred, shoots and kills the officer. On a British battleship anchored near Zanzibar, Captain Joyce asks Flynn to participate in an aerial recognizance mission to find the Blucher, which is under repair in an unknown location. Flynn declines, claiming poor eyesight, but volunteers Sebastian. At the appointed time, Captain Da Silva, a Portuguese pilot, flies Sebastian over the Rufiji River, where they see a group of rafts carrying wagons toward the camouflaged Blucher. The plane is damaged by German machinegun fire and returns to Zanzibar, where it crashes on the beach, throwing Sebastian face-first into a large rock and breaking his nose. Meanwhile, on the Blucher, Von Kleine realizes that his ship has been discovered, and that he needs to have the repairs completed within five days before the British convoy arrives; he orders Fleischer to supply 250 native porters. On the British ship, Joyce asks Flynn to volunteer a man who can pose as a native porter and plant a time bomb on the Blucher. When Flynn hears that he will receive payment of £1000 and twenty cases of London dry gin, he volunteers Sebastian. Aided by Mohammed and several of his African allies, Sebastian dons his disguise at an encampment near the riverbank and joins the ship’s labor crew. He successfully hides the bomb in the main magazine and returns to shore, where Flynn waits nearby. Upon arriving at their encampment, they find Rosa missing and Mohammed near death. Flynn and Sebastian return to the ship, where they see Fleischer aggressively interrogating Rosa. Flynn mans the machine gun to draw attention to himself, allowing Sebastian to rescue Rosa. Flynn is shot, and as he lays dying, he tells Von Kleine, Kyller and Fleischer that the ship will explode at any moment. While the officers search for the bomb, Fleischer jumps overboard, shortly before the bomb detonates. Sebastian and Rosa reach the riverbank, where they find Flynn’s rifle. As Fleischer emerges from the river, Sebastian fires four bullets into him. Fleischer’s body floats down the river as explosions continue aboard the ship. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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