Darker Than Amber (1970)

R | 97 mins | Melodrama | August 1970

Director:

Robert Clouse

Writer:

Ed Waters

Editor:

Fred Chulack

Production Designer:

Jack T. Collis

Production Company:

Major Pictures-Rodlor, Inc.
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HISTORY

Producers Walter Seltzer and Jack Reeves optioned the rights to ten novels written by John D. MacDonald featuring the character “Travis McGee,” as noted in the 16 Oct 1968 Var. Darker Than Amber was set to be the first of the McGee films, starring Rod Taylor. An article in the 10 Dec 1969 Var noted that MacDonald was paid an advance of $60,000 plus “a very substantial portion of the profits,” and that Taylor’s contract called for five Travis McGee pictures.
       Robert Clouse was announced as the director in a 24 Dec 1968 DV brief, and an early 1969 start date was planned. However, production was delayed until fall 1969 so that Rod Taylor could shoot another film in England, as stated in the 12 Mar 1969 DV. In the meantime, plans were firmed for shooting on location in Miami, FL, and in Nassau, Bahamas. Interiors were to be filmed at Ivan Tors Studios in North Miami, according to a 5 Mar 1969 Var item.
       A production chart in the 17 Oct 1969 DV announced that principal photography had begun earlier that week on 13 Oct 1969. The production budget was cited as $2.6 million in a 26 Nov 1969 DV brief, and on 10 Dec 1969, Var reported that the ten-week shoot was nearly completed.
       Singer Diana Ross was sought for a role, as stated in the 13 Mar 1969 Los Angeles Sentinel, and the following actors were announced as cast members in a 16 Oct 1969 DV brief: David Lee, Warren Day, Dewey ...

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Producers Walter Seltzer and Jack Reeves optioned the rights to ten novels written by John D. MacDonald featuring the character “Travis McGee,” as noted in the 16 Oct 1968 Var. Darker Than Amber was set to be the first of the McGee films, starring Rod Taylor. An article in the 10 Dec 1969 Var noted that MacDonald was paid an advance of $60,000 plus “a very substantial portion of the profits,” and that Taylor’s contract called for five Travis McGee pictures.
       Robert Clouse was announced as the director in a 24 Dec 1968 DV brief, and an early 1969 start date was planned. However, production was delayed until fall 1969 so that Rod Taylor could shoot another film in England, as stated in the 12 Mar 1969 DV. In the meantime, plans were firmed for shooting on location in Miami, FL, and in Nassau, Bahamas. Interiors were to be filmed at Ivan Tors Studios in North Miami, according to a 5 Mar 1969 Var item.
       A production chart in the 17 Oct 1969 DV announced that principal photography had begun earlier that week on 13 Oct 1969. The production budget was cited as $2.6 million in a 26 Nov 1969 DV brief, and on 10 Dec 1969, Var reported that the ten-week shoot was nearly completed.
       Singer Diana Ross was sought for a role, as stated in the 13 Mar 1969 Los Angeles Sentinel, and the following actors were announced as cast members in a 16 Oct 1969 DV brief: David Lee, Warren Day, Dewey Winthrop Vincent, Cindy Acker, and Tony Gulliver.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
7 Oct 1968
p. 1.
Daily Variety
24 Dec 1968
p. 2.
Daily Variety
3 Jan 1969
p. 3.
Daily Variety
12 Mar 1969
p. 6.
Daily Variety
16 Oct 1969
p. 4.
Daily Variety
17 Oct 1969
p. 10.
Daily Variety
28 Oct 1969
p. 12.
Daily Variety
26 Nov 1969
p. 10.
Daily Variety
12 Aug 1970
p. 3.
Daily Variety
18 Aug 1970
p. 3.
Los Angeles Sentinel
13 Mar 1969
Section F, p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
7 Oct 1968
Section C, p. 29.
Los Angeles Times
17 Aug 1970
Section E, p. 24.
New York Times
15 Aug 1970
p. 16.
Variety
16 Oct 1968
p. 29.
Variety
5 Mar 1969
p. 26.
Variety
29 Oct 1969
p. 77.
Variety
10 Dec 1969
p. 6, 32.
Variety
19 Aug 1970
p. 61.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
1st & 2nd asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITER
Scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Stills
ART DIRECTOR
Jack Collis
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Props
COSTUMES
MUSIC
John Parker
Mus
SOUND
Sd mix
Boom op
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
Prod secy
Stunt coordinator
Stunt coordinator
Constr coordinator
Key grip
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Darker Than Amber by John D. MacDonald (Greenwich, Connecticut, 1966).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Travis McGee
Release Date:
August 1970
Premiere Information:
Dallas opening: 12 Aug 1970; New York opening: 14 Aug 1970; Los Angeles opening: 26 Aug 1970
Production Date:
13 Oct--mid Dec 1969
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Major Pictures
10 June 1970
LP39246
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
97
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
22468
SYNOPSIS

Private detective Travis McGee and his friend Meyer are fishing near the Florida Keys when they see a woman with an iron boot attached to her foot being thrown from a bridge. They rescue her and take her aboard McGee's houseboat, but she is only willing to divulge her name, Vangie Bellemer. Meanwhile, Terry, one of her assailants, sadistically kills McGee's friend Burk when he refuses to reveal the whereabouts of the detective and Vangie. After the houseboat arrives in Fort Lauderdale, Vangie slips ashore to get some money from her apartment, where Terry and Griff, the other assailant, are waiting for her. They murder her and then make it appear as if she had been killed in a hit-and-run accident, but when McGee identifies the body in the city morgue, he realizes that she was murdered. McGee, who had become fond of Vangie, learns her address, goes to her apartment, and discovers Griff searching for her money. Griff forces McGee to a deserted beach to kill him, but in the ensuing struggle Griff is killed. McGee learns from black maid Noreen that Vangie and Del, one of her friends, had been used as bait to lure wealthy, middle-aged men aboard cruise ships so that Terry could rob them and dump them overboard. In Nassau, McGee convinces Del to cooperate and also enlists the aid of underwater ballerina Merrimay Lane, who looks exactly like Vangie, to impersonate the murder victim. Terry goes into a rage and kills Del when he discovers the iron boot in his bathtub; later, when he sees Merrimay waving at him from the gangway, he goes berserk. After the case is closed, Merrimay tries to ...

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Private detective Travis McGee and his friend Meyer are fishing near the Florida Keys when they see a woman with an iron boot attached to her foot being thrown from a bridge. They rescue her and take her aboard McGee's houseboat, but she is only willing to divulge her name, Vangie Bellemer. Meanwhile, Terry, one of her assailants, sadistically kills McGee's friend Burk when he refuses to reveal the whereabouts of the detective and Vangie. After the houseboat arrives in Fort Lauderdale, Vangie slips ashore to get some money from her apartment, where Terry and Griff, the other assailant, are waiting for her. They murder her and then make it appear as if she had been killed in a hit-and-run accident, but when McGee identifies the body in the city morgue, he realizes that she was murdered. McGee, who had become fond of Vangie, learns her address, goes to her apartment, and discovers Griff searching for her money. Griff forces McGee to a deserted beach to kill him, but in the ensuing struggle Griff is killed. McGee learns from black maid Noreen that Vangie and Del, one of her friends, had been used as bait to lure wealthy, middle-aged men aboard cruise ships so that Terry could rob them and dump them overboard. In Nassau, McGee convinces Del to cooperate and also enlists the aid of underwater ballerina Merrimay Lane, who looks exactly like Vangie, to impersonate the murder victim. Terry goes into a rage and kills Del when he discovers the iron boot in his bathtub; later, when he sees Merrimay waving at him from the gangway, he goes berserk. After the case is closed, Merrimay tries to seduce McGee, but he rejects her.

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

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