Sahara (1984)

PG | 110 mins | Adventure, Romance | 2 March 1984

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HISTORY

According to production notes in AMPAS library files, producer Menahem Golan, chairman of Cannon Films, conceived the story idea for Sahara after reading about the disappearance and rescue of racecar driver Mark Thatcher in the Sahara desert of Algeria. As reported in the 15 Jan 1982 NYT, Thatcher, who was the twenty-eight-year-old son of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, went missing for six days while competing in the annual Paris, France, to Dakar, Senegal, motor rally that began on 1 Jan 1982.
       The 16 Mar 1982 DV announced that James R. Silke was hired to write the original screenplay, set in 1927, and actress Brooke Shields had been selected for the lead role of “Dale Gordon.” Teri Shields, Brooke’s mother and manager, received executive producer credit on the picture and travelled with the production during location filming. The Sep 1982 issue of Mademoiselle magazine noted that opera star Anna Moffo provided voice lessons to the young actress to help prepare her for the role.
       As stated in a 15 Jun 1982 HR news item, Guy Hamilton was initially hired as director and later replaced by John Guillermin. The production originally planned to shoot in Israel during Jul and Aug 1982, but location work was postponed until Jan 1983 to avoid the extremely hot weather in the Israeli desert, and to invest more time with preparations and script revisions. Meanwhile, according to a 21 Aug 1982 Screen International item, Guillermin shot the opening “Detroit” sequence in London, England, during Aug 1982. A 27 Dec 1982 DV production chart ... More Less

According to production notes in AMPAS library files, producer Menahem Golan, chairman of Cannon Films, conceived the story idea for Sahara after reading about the disappearance and rescue of racecar driver Mark Thatcher in the Sahara desert of Algeria. As reported in the 15 Jan 1982 NYT, Thatcher, who was the twenty-eight-year-old son of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, went missing for six days while competing in the annual Paris, France, to Dakar, Senegal, motor rally that began on 1 Jan 1982.
       The 16 Mar 1982 DV announced that James R. Silke was hired to write the original screenplay, set in 1927, and actress Brooke Shields had been selected for the lead role of “Dale Gordon.” Teri Shields, Brooke’s mother and manager, received executive producer credit on the picture and travelled with the production during location filming. The Sep 1982 issue of Mademoiselle magazine noted that opera star Anna Moffo provided voice lessons to the young actress to help prepare her for the role.
       As stated in a 15 Jun 1982 HR news item, Guy Hamilton was initially hired as director and later replaced by John Guillermin. The production originally planned to shoot in Israel during Jul and Aug 1982, but location work was postponed until Jan 1983 to avoid the extremely hot weather in the Israeli desert, and to invest more time with preparations and script revisions. Meanwhile, according to a 21 Aug 1982 Screen International item, Guillermin shot the opening “Detroit” sequence in London, England, during Aug 1982. A 27 Dec 1982 DV production chart listed the specific dates as 13 Aug 1982 to 30 Aug 1982. Army Archerd’s 27 Aug 1982 DV column reported that Brooke Shields suffered a minor accident in her racecar during the London filming.
       When principal photography resumed on 5 Jan 1983 in Israel, director Andrew V. McLaglen had replaced Guillermin, as noted in a 16 Nov 1982 HR item. Production notes state that Israeli locations included the port city of Jaffa and the Negev Desert. Eliat was mentioned as another filming site in a 25 Feb 1983 HR article.
       On 17 Feb 1983, HR reported that Menahem Golan flew to Israel and assumed some directing duties following disagreements on set between Teri Shields and McLaglen, even though McLaglen remained the production’s official director. According to the article, shooting was behind schedule due to Teri Shields’s concerns about publicity photographs of her daughter, particularly images showing the young actress dressed as a male with a mustache. Delays were also attributed to complications involving transportation of Brooke Shields’s tutors to the remote locations. In the 25 Feb 1983 HR, however, Golan denied claims that he took over any directing responsibilities and stated that his recent presence on location was to help facilitate schedule changes related to weather delays. Filming of the $15-million production was completed in late Mar 1983.
       According to production notes, the John Mitchell Company, based in Bedfordshire, England, was responsible for manufacturing the automobile replicas used in the film, which included a vintage Packard, Mercedes-Benz, Alfa Romeo, Bentley, Scania-Vabis, and Hispano-Suizo. Two sets of each replica were constructed at a price of $60,000 each and shipped to Israel by plane. All the vehicles were equipped with Jaguar engines and Dunlop tires. One of John Mitchell’s automobile experts, Robin Montgomery, supervised the handling and repairs of the cars, while on location.
       End credits state: “Shot on location in England and Israel.” Joe Dunton Cameras is misspelled as "Joe Danton Cameras" in end credits. The actor who plays "Cambridge" is credited as "John Mills" in opening credits and as "Sir John Mills" in end credits. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
16 Mar 1982.
---
Daily Variety
27 Aug 1982.
---
Daily Variety
27 Dec 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jun 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Nov 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Feb 1983
p. 1, 14.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Feb 1983
p. 1, 28.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Mar 1984
p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
3 Mar 1984
Section I, p. 3.
Mademoiselle
Sep 1982.
---
New York Times
15 Jan 1982
Section A, p. 3.
Screen International
21 Aug 1982.
---
Variety
28 Dec 1983
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
The Cannon Group, Inc. presents
a Golan-Globus production
of an Andrew V. McLaglen film
A Cannon film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
Prod mgr
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Prod mgr, London unit
2d asst dir, London unit
Dir, 2d unit
Asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Focus puller
Asst cam
Key grip
Key grip
Best boy
Elec
Loader
Stills
Spec photog
Dir of photog, London unit
Cam op, London unit
Focus puller, London unit
Loader, London unit
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Focus puller, 2d unit
Focus puller, 2d unit
Loader, 2d unit
Stills, 2d unit
Cam grip, 2d unit
Gaffer, 2d unit
Cam and lenses by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
Art dir, London unit
FILM EDITORS
Supv ed
Supv ed
Post-prod supv
Assoc ed
1st asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Post-prod asst
Post-prod asst
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dresser
Set dresser
Prop master
Const mgr
Const mgr
Props buyer
Set dresser, London unit
Prop master, London unit
COSTUMES
Cost for Brooke Shields in Detroit seq by
Cost des
Addl cost
Addl cost
Addl cost
Crowd cost
Ward supv
Ward
Ward, London unit
Ward, London unit
Ward, 2d unit
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Mus ed
Party mus performed by
Mus sd eng
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd mixer, London unit
Boom op, London unit
Sd mixer, 2d unit
Boom op, 2d unit
VISUAL EFFECTS
Supv of spec eff
Head spec eff
Matte artist
Matte artist
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Head makeup artist
Brooke Shields' makeup
Brooke Shields' hairdresser
Hairdresser
Makeup, London unit
Hairdresser, London unit
Makeup, 2d unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Prod controller
Prod coord
Loc controller
Armourer
Pub for Brooke Shields
Pub coord
National pub representative
Unit pub
Camp mgr
Transport mgr
Head animal trainer
Horse trainer
Prod accountant
Prod secy
Financial consultant
Loc mgr, London unit
Scr supv, London unit
Scr supv, 2d unit
Prod secy, 2d unit
Leopards supplied by
Vintage car manufacturer
Equip and services on loc
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt coord
Asst stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
[Col by]
Col timer
DETAILS
Release Date:
2 March 1984
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 2 March 1984
Production Date:
13--30 August 1982
5 January--late March 1983
Copyright Claimant:
Cannon Films, Inc.
Copyright Date:
28 June 1984
Copyright Number:
PA221561
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo in Selected Theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
110
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27141
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1927 Detroit, Michigan, Dale Gordon, daughter of automobile maker R. J. Gordon, practices racing her father’s fastest and most sophisticated car yet, the Gordon Packard. R. J. has invested nearly his entire fortune in perfecting the vehicle. A potential backer is impressed, but reluctant to fund mass production until he sees the vehicle tested in the most grueling race in the world, the Sahara International Rally. During a drive to resolve a transmission malfunction, the car crashes, and R. J. is seriously injured. On his deathbed, he tells his daughter that his dream is to win the Sahara Rally and prove the Gordon Packard is the finest automobile in the world. After her father’s passing, Dale enters the race, but must disguise herself as a man to qualify. Arriving at the start in Morocco, Dale is accompanied by two crewmembers, mechanics “String” and Andy. She and the other competitors are briefed about the warfare between Chambra and Hamancha tribesmen along the desert course, and warned that the tempting, shorter route is more dangerous. Soon after the race begins, Dale removes her male disguise, shocking the other contenders. Taking String’s advice, she elects to take the short route, along with the zealous German team, led by Von Glessing. While on a break near a water well, the three Americans are captured by Chambra tribesmen and their leering warlord, Rasoul. Dale fights back when Rasoul tries to seduce her and sets fire to his tent. After she flees into the desert at night, the Chambra find her the next day, passed out in the sand, and ... +


In 1927 Detroit, Michigan, Dale Gordon, daughter of automobile maker R. J. Gordon, practices racing her father’s fastest and most sophisticated car yet, the Gordon Packard. R. J. has invested nearly his entire fortune in perfecting the vehicle. A potential backer is impressed, but reluctant to fund mass production until he sees the vehicle tested in the most grueling race in the world, the Sahara International Rally. During a drive to resolve a transmission malfunction, the car crashes, and R. J. is seriously injured. On his deathbed, he tells his daughter that his dream is to win the Sahara Rally and prove the Gordon Packard is the finest automobile in the world. After her father’s passing, Dale enters the race, but must disguise herself as a man to qualify. Arriving at the start in Morocco, Dale is accompanied by two crewmembers, mechanics “String” and Andy. She and the other competitors are briefed about the warfare between Chambra and Hamancha tribesmen along the desert course, and warned that the tempting, shorter route is more dangerous. Soon after the race begins, Dale removes her male disguise, shocking the other contenders. Taking String’s advice, she elects to take the short route, along with the zealous German team, led by Von Glessing. While on a break near a water well, the three Americans are captured by Chambra tribesmen and their leering warlord, Rasoul. Dale fights back when Rasoul tries to seduce her and sets fire to his tent. After she flees into the desert at night, the Chambra find her the next day, passed out in the sand, and return her to their camp. Meanwhile, Von Glessing, who also operates as an arms dealer, sells a machine gun to Lord Beg, the Hamancha tribal leader, who immediately uses the weapon to overpower a group of attacking Chambra. Back in his tent, Rasoul tries to seduce Dale again, but is interrupted by the Chambra ruler, Sheik Jaffar. The handsome, young Jaffar first noticed the beautiful American girl when she arrived in Morocco and declares his own “claim” to her. Rasoul is reluctant to relinquish ownership of Dale, whom the Chambra call “the blue-eyed demon,” but Jaffar announces he will marry the girl to prove his entitlement to her. Jaffar assures Dale that she and her two teammates are safe under his protection and takes her to a secret waterfall to bathe. Dale allows the charming Jaffar to kiss her, but also tells him why she must return to the race and feels confident he understands. However, back at the camp, Dale is shocked when Cambridge, Jaffar’s British manservant, informs her that she is expected to marry the sheik, which means she cannot leave. Dale remains defiant about her freedom and refuses to submit. When Lord Beg and the Hamancha tribe launch a surprise attack on the Chambra camp, Dale risks her life to plant explosives in the sand and is responsible for blowing up the Hamancha assault vehicle. The Chambra cheer and now appreciate the fact that the “demon” girl is on their side, while Lord Beg is dismayed that the American seems to offer protection to his enemy. Meanwhile, Von Glessing gets back into the race after repairing his vehicle that Lord Beg crashed. At the camp, Dale realizes she has fallen in love with Sheik Jaffar and spends the night with him, but sneaks away in the morning to rejoin the rally. When she drives off in her racecar, Cambridge emerges from the backseat where he was sleeping under a blanket, and is happy to accompany her. Suddenly, Lord Beg’s tribesmen surround the car and capture Dale, while disabling the elderly Cambridge. At their caves, the Hamanchas tear Dale’s clothing and lock her in a cage. Meanwhile, Sheik Jaffar learns of Dale’s capture after a gypsy boy finds Cambridge lying wounded next to the abandoned racecar. Jaffar sets out to save his American bride, and, after some reluctance, Rasoul joins his leader on the difficult mission. While the rival tribes fight each other outside the caves, Dale is left in a pit surrounded by cheetahs and panthers. Just as the wild animals are about to attack her, Jaffar arrives and frees her. Once outside the caves, Dale and Jaffar dodge bullets and falling boulders, and Rasoul sacrifices his life to help them reach safety. Before dying, Rasoul orders Jaffar to stay in the desert and not follow the American girl. Meanwhile, String and Andy have driven the racecar from the Chambra camp to the gunfight at the Hamancha caves. When Jaffar notices another rally competitor speed by, he tells Dale to resume the race. She runs to the driver’s seat of the Gordon Packard, and String and Andy plan to meet her at the finish line, so the car will be as lightweight as possible. When Von Glessing looks in his rear-view mirror, he is dismayed to see the determined American girl back in the race. At the junction between the short and long routes, the British and Swedish teams challenge Von Glessing and Dale for the lead, but are soon forced off the road. Back at the battle site, Jaffar avenges Rasoul’s death and triumphs over Lord Beg and the Hamancha tribe. Approaching the finish line, Von Glessing and Dale are side by side, but Dale races to victory when the German car blows a tire at the last minute. Dale holds the trophy aloft as String and Andy arrive to embrace her. String tells the young champion that she has also saved her father’s company from bankruptcy. Beyond the cheering crowd, Dale sees Jaffar’s stallion and lets the horse lead her back to the sheik. +

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

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