The Southern Star (film)
The Southern Star (French title: L'Étoile du sud) is a Technicolor 1969 British-French comedy crime film directed by Sidney Hayers and starring George Segal, Ursula Andress and Orson Welles. In French West Africa in 1912, an extremely valuable diamond is stolen.
|The Southern Star|
|Directed by||Sidney Hayers|
|Produced by||Roger Duchet|
|Screenplay by||David Pursall|
|Based on||The Vanished Diamond|
by Jules Verne
|Music by||Georges Garvarentz|
|Edited by||Tristam Cones|
Euro France Films
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
It was based on the novel The Vanished Diamond (French title L'Étoile du sud) by Jules Verne. The film's opening scenes were anonymously directed by Orson Welles - the last time he would direct scenes in another director's film.
Kramer's workers discover a huge uncut gem. Rockland and his African companion, Matakit, go by train to bring the gem to Kramer. The train is blown up by Captain Karl Ludwig, who is jealous that Rockland is engaged to Kramer's daughter Erica.
Kramer holds a party to celebrate the discover of the gem, called "The Southern Star". A power blackout leads to chaos and the diamond is gone. Matakit (Johnny Sekka) is thought to be the thief and flees on a pet ostrich.
Rockland, believed to be an accomplice, escapes from prison with help of Erica, and they set out after Matakit. Karl and his men follow, intending to steal the diamond for themselves.
Word of the theft quickly reaches Major Plankett, Kramer's former security chief, who lost his position to Karl and swears revenge.
Plankett captures Matakit and uses him to trap Karl. However, Karl manages to use Matakit to lure Rockland into a trap. Rockland manages to rescue Matakit as Karl is killed in a shootout. Rockland retrieves the gem for Kramer.
The New York Times wrote, "The film evolves as a tongue-in-cheek, campy chase through Senegal's bush country, where it was shot in lovely pastel shades...Mr. Welles, looking like Buddha, swilling cognac, speaking in a pseudo-Cockney accent and perspiring in a white hunter's getup, lazily adds to the lampoon. "It's supposed to pull your leg," Mr. Segal explains to Miss Andress as he sets a trap for their pursuers. "The Southern Star" does just that, even if it isn't funny enough during a good deal of the trek";
The Radio Times noted a "Splendidly photographed African adventure filmed on authentic Senegalese locations, but alas bearing the curse of the international co-production. Underrated editor-turned-director Sidney Hayers tries to pull together the Jules Verne-inspired plot and a cast that verges on the preposterous, headed by George Segal (far too urban for this type of trek), the ravishingly lovely Ursula Andress, and the great Orson Welles, who was obviously in need of the money. Brits, Ian Hendry and Harry Andrews bring some dignity to a romp that isn't sure whether it's comedy or adventure or both, but it looks good nevertheless."
- "BFI | Film & TV Database | L' ETOILE DU SUD (1968)". Ftvdb.bfi.org.uk. 16 April 2009. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
- SOUTHERN STAR, The Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 36, Iss. 420, (Jan 1, 1969): 108.
- MOVIE CALL SHEET: Sean Signs for 'Maguires'. Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 13 Apr 1968: 17.
- "The World's Top Twenty Films." Sunday Times [London, England] 27 Sept. 1970: 27. The Sunday Times Digital Archive. accessed 5 Apr. 2014
- A. H. Weiler (29 May 1969). "Movie Review - - Pursuit of a Diamond". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
- The Southern Star' in Citywide Engagement. Thomas, Kevin. Los Angeles Times 12 June 1969: e22.
- "The Southern Star - Film from RadioTimes". Radiotimes.com. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
- The Southern Star on IMDb
- The Southern Star at AllMovie
- The Southern Star at the TCM Movie Database
- The Southern Star at the American Film Institute Catalog