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Author Topic: Black Sunday (1976) film review
John Capazzo
Master Film Handler

Posts: 421
From: Hillside, NJ USA
Registered: Jan 2004


 - posted January 24, 2015 12:25 PM      Profile for John Capazzo   Email John Capazzo   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Super Bowl Sunday is approaching here in The States, and there is no better film to review than BLACK SUNDAY; 1976. Marketing films distributed this in 1978 in a super 8 color sound 400'; 3x400', and the entire feature. Director: John Frankenheimer. An engrossing, credible script by Ernest Lehman, Kenneth Ross and Ivan Moffat. I would have imagined William Goldman to be first choice-however, he wasn't. Great cast with Robert Shaw as David Kabakov- the Israeli Commando; Colonel Landers (played by Bruce Dern) as a disgruntled American Vietnam Veteran and Dahlia iLad (Marthe Keller) as the international terrorist.

What I am reviewing below is the 3x400' version- and it's excellently edited. I've spliced it on a 1200' reel for more convenience and watching it once on a GS 1200 and several times on an HD further enhances the viewing experience.

The film begins with a raid from Shaw's unit to a rented villa home near Los Angeles, CA, where Dahlia's "Black September" group is finalizing the next terror, murderous attack somewhere in the USA. All are attacked during the raid, and killed by Shaw's group except Dhalia and her superior in Black September, Fasil (played by an unknown Bekhim Fehimu) who escape and remain alive. Next, Kabakov and his colleague, Robert Moshevsky (portrayed by Steven Keats) are invited to speak to Federal Agents in Washington D.C. The Agent assigned to the case is Sam Corley (Fritz Weaver) who has a major role in this 3 part film. Kabacov's crew has found recorded tape during the raid and is played to the officials. The tape was to be given to officials and the media AFTER the next attack; but fortunately the tape is confiscated by Kabacov's crew. Dahlia's voice is the culprit: warning Americans about the next attack unless the U.S. government ceases giving arms money to Israel and neglecting less fortunate countries in the middle east. Next, we know of illicit delivery of plastic explosives used for the attack, entering a harbor in California. The next morning, the captain on the boat is questioned by the F.B.I. The captain seems to convince F.B.I that he knows nothing of explosives; but Kabacov and Moshevsky knows he is lying and was paid off. During that evening, Kabakov and moshevsky sneak in the captains quarters and threaten him. The Captain is killed by an explosion in his ship quarters by the calculating and cunning Col. Landers; lest of succumbing to the feds. He is killed before any information is given. Kabacov is slightly injured during the explosion and is hospitalized. Dahlia knows where Kabakov is hospitalized and is dressed up as a night nurse who almost gains entry to his room to poison him, but is stopped by Moshevsky. Moshevsky is killed in an elevator by Dhalia. Landers and Dahlia are working on concealing explosives in a small boat; which will be mounted under the Good Year blimp during the Super Bowl. Next we have some leads on who Dahlia and Fasil are; and where she is hiding: Miami where the Super Bowl is held during this football season. Fasil is seen entering his hotel room and takes a young girl as hostage. After a shoot out in the streets on South Beach, she is unharmed and survives; Fasil is shot in the ocean. Dalhia is on her way to the stadium grounds with the boat attached to her trailer. She has press pass to enter the stadium as a special unit crew assigned to the game. Col Landers is not scheduled to fly the blimp; and the initial pilot who is to fly it, is murdered in his hotel room. Now we know who is going to attack, and what the attack will be caused by explosives in the blimp. The boat is mounted; the initial crew is killed; all television equipment is destroyed; lest too much excessive weight on the blimp. The actual game played between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers is intertwined in the script; since they were Super Bowl teams in Jan., 1976. Now it's Dahlia and Landers flying the blimp and on their way to the stadium to set it off as they hover over--but not without Shaw and Corley in hot pursuit in a helicopter. I'll stop here!

John Frankenheimer did an outstanding job with this film; and a score by John Williams that couldn't be more intense.

The print I have still has retained almost all of it's color; considering how many 3x400 I've seen has turned. The print is not as sharp as I'd like; but to me, great color supersedes a soft print. I haven't seen this in 3x400 often; probably due to poor sales when released. I've seen several 400' over the years; but with too many subplots in this film, the 15 minute version doesn't do justice. A great action film with credible dialogue and some character development. I'll bring it with me at the next Cinesea. Enjoy!

John

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"the image is about 30 feet ahead of us."

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Douglas Meltzer
Moderator

Posts: 4554
From: New York, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted January 27, 2015 07:19 PM      Profile for Douglas Meltzer   Email Douglas Meltzer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
John,

Thank you for the excellent review of one of my favorite films. I have all three Marketing versions of Black Sunday and the color has held up fairly well on each one. That ending always get my heart racing!

Doug

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I think there's room for just one more film.....

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John Capazzo
Master Film Handler

Posts: 421
From: Hillside, NJ USA
Registered: Jan 2004


 - posted January 27, 2015 11:37 PM      Profile for John Capazzo   Email John Capazzo   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Glad you enjoyed, Doug. I agree: the ending is still thrilling!

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"the image is about 30 feet ahead of us."

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Vincent Zabbia
Master Film Handler

Posts: 372
From: Montrose, NY
Registered: Feb 2011


 - posted January 30, 2015 08:08 AM      Profile for Vincent Zabbia   Author's Homepage   Email Vincent Zabbia   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
What I would like to know: Was the blimp deflated?

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Vincent Zabbia

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John Capazzo
Master Film Handler

Posts: 421
From: Hillside, NJ USA
Registered: Jan 2004


 - posted January 30, 2015 08:40 AM      Profile for John Capazzo   Email John Capazzo   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Vincenzo: that's still under investigation...

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"the image is about 30 feet ahead of us."

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David Skillern
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 582
From: South Wales
Registered: Apr 2006


 - posted February 01, 2015 10:02 AM      Profile for David Skillern   Email David Skillern   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've got the 400ft version of this print - which is ok - colour and sound still very good - but I'd love the full feature - so I'm on the look out.

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John Capazzo
Master Film Handler

Posts: 421
From: Hillside, NJ USA
Registered: Jan 2004


 - posted February 01, 2015 10:09 PM      Profile for John Capazzo   Email John Capazzo   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
David, I knew of one person within the last two years who had the feature and it turned. Hopefully one you find in the future won't be.

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"the image is about 30 feet ahead of us."

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James N. Savage 3
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1375
From: Washington, DC
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted February 05, 2015 07:21 AM      Profile for James N. Savage 3   Email James N. Savage 3   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
John- Thanks for the great review!

I have always wanted to know how this 3 x 400 digest was edited. Sometimes the editors at Marketing got it right, and sounds like the case on this one.

I'm gonna try to make the April Cinesea, so I'll look forward to viewing this!

James.

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John Capazzo
Master Film Handler

Posts: 421
From: Hillside, NJ USA
Registered: Jan 2004


 - posted March 31, 2015 12:41 AM      Profile for John Capazzo   Email John Capazzo   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
David, I've met two collectors within the past seven or eight years who had the feature, and both completely turned.

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"the image is about 30 feet ahead of us."

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David Skillern
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 582
From: South Wales
Registered: Apr 2006


 - posted April 04, 2015 11:45 AM      Profile for David Skillern   Email David Skillern   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks John,

I see that Barry from Independent 8 has a copy of the 3x400ft marketing release on his current lists - I will see if he's still got it next month.

David

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