Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Mark Lester, Lionel Jeffries, Susan George, Jeremy Kemp, Peter Vaughan
Director: John Hough
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
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Exciting modern version of 'the boy who cried wolf' story.
Film Fanatic | Cincinnati, Ohio | 06/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ziggy(the extraordinarily talented Mark Lester of "Oliver!") is an eleven-year-old boy living on the island of Malta with his sister and grandfather. Like most boys of his age, Ziggy has a tendency to stretch the truth. His sister and grandfather are very much aware of this fact, and that's what makes it so difficult for them to believe Ziggy when he tells them that he actually did witness a murder. Ziggy is in a particularly dangerous situation because the murderers saw him and are out to make the boy their next victim. Will Ziggy be able to convince anyone that he is telling the truth before it is too late? This is an exciting and thoroughly engrossing new version of the boy who cried wolf story. Mark Lester is excellent as the boy who has told one tale too many, and Susan George("Straw Dogs") and Lionel Jeffries("The Quatermass Experiment") also do very fine work as Mark's concerned sister and grandfather. This one will put you on the edge of your seat from the very beginning and keep you there until the very end! The DVD from Anchor Bay is especially nice. It looks absolutely amazing! I honestly don't see how this movie could look any better. It looks as though it were made today instead of the early 1970's. Special features on the DVD include the film's original UK and US theatrical trailers, and very interesting audio commentary by director John Hough and writer(uncredited)/executive producer Bryan Forbes moderated by journalist Jonathan Sothcott."
For some boys... playtime can be MURDER!
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 10/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I think most children have a penchant for lying time to time...probably due to their active imaginations. Speaking for myself, I know I've told a few fibs in my youth, although they mostly revolved around how a particular item in my parent's house got broken, to which my standard reply would be "I don't know". The boy in this film, on the other hand, seems to deal not in fibs, but in what I would refer to as whoppers, or great fat lies, ones so absurd they just can't be true, and now his fondness of falsification has come back to bite him in the bum, figuratively speaking.
Eyewitness (1970) aka Sudden Terror was directed by John Hough (his mainstream film debut), who also directed such films like Hammer's Twins of Evil (1971), which, sadly, isn't available on DVD yet, along with the very scary 1973 film The Legend of Hell House, 1974's Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (a film that boasts one of the more spectacular endings in movie history and also stars Susan George, an actress appearing in this film), along with various Disney films including Escape to Witch Mountain (1975), Return from Witch Mountain (1978), and 1980 film The Watcher in the Woods (due to some disagreements between Hough and executives with regards to editing choices and such, this was the last film for Disney). Appearing in the film is Mark Lester, who previously appeared in the lead role of Oliver! (1968), accomplished and prolific English actor Lionel Jeffries (he played the kooky inventor Cavor in 1964's The First Men in the Moon), Susan George, who appeared in the completely crummy Jaws rip-off Tintorera (1977) but was a bit better in Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs (1971), Australian actor Tony Bonner (The Man from Snowy River, and English character actor (he normally plays the role of villains, although not here) Jeremy Kemp, whom I most remember as the German pilot in the WWII epic The Blue Max (1966).
The film, a basic re-telling of the boy who cried wolf, is centered on Ziggy (Lester), a boy with a mop hair, big eyes, a vivid imagination and a predilection for fabrication "I'm having tea with the president". After a visiting dignitary is shot and killed JFK Dallas motorcade style, Ziggy actually sees who did it, and vice versa. Now the killer, who turns out to be a policeman (this is given away early, so I'm not spoiling anything), is after Ziggy, and no one believes what they think is just another one of his tall tales. That is until more and more bodies start turning up, along with clues that seem to corroborate Ziggy's story. Soon enough Ziggy's family is involved, and the assassin seems willing to stop at nothing to eliminate anything that will link him back to the murder. Will Ziggy and his secret survive long enough to find someone willing to believe him? Perhaps...but time is running out, and the odds are against him...
I found Eyewitness to be a pretty enjoyable film. Shot on location on the island of Malta, the use of exteriors is really wonderful and beautiful as we are taken all over and shown many different and unique areas and also adds a claustrophobic sense to the story of being trapped on an island with a killer. Mark Lester did well as Ziggy, although on more than one occasion I found him to be a little annoying. Susan George, who played Ziggy's older sister Pippa, just kinda creeped me out (especially her emotional scene where Ziggy was lost, off witnessing the assassin at work, and then later he's found). I've never really understood the appeal of Ms. George, as I don't think she all that great of an actress (she tends to go a bit overboard here at times). My favorite role here was that of the eccentric grandfather who runs a lighthouse, played by Lionel Jeffries. His character brought just the right amount of levity to offset the very serious nature as the plot unfolded, and he was more than just a static character, as he really got involved in the action near the end. I also liked Jeremy Kemp as Inspector Galleria as he presented a smart, intelligent, astute, no nonsense character that's able to take the various clues, piece them together, fill in the missing parts, and relate a startling revelation that affects the story in an unexpected way. I thought the direction by Hough was really good and showed of someone who knew his vision and was able to translate it to the screen. Various scenes that don't really seem to involve the main plot may put some off, but I didn't think they hurt the film any. Also, with the unexpected killing of a few characters, it puts forth the sense of real, mortal danger for Ziggy, the very real possibility that he may be killed, unlike other films involving children, say Home Alone, where you know nothing seriously harmful will befall the main character. There was one scene I thought very odd in that the assassin lures an accomplice to a remote clearing near a cliff, knocks him out, and then uses a bulldozer to pick up the unconscious man and dump him off the cliff. Why not just drag the unconscious man to the cliff and push him off? I guess it just seemed like overkill to me (pardon the pun)...oh yeah, one more thing...if you like car chase scenes, there's a really good one in this movie.
The wide screen picture provided on this DVD release from Anchor Bay looks sharp, vibrant, and beautiful. Also, the audio is very crisp and clear. Special features include two theatrical trailers (one U.S. and one for the U.K.), and a commentary track featuring the director, the executive producer (Bryan Forbes), moderated by journalist Jonathan Sothcott. Also included is a reproduction of an original poster on the insert card within the DVD.
Excellent "boy who cried wolf" thriller!
Mr. Db Rayner | STOKE-ON-TRENT, STAFFORDSHIRE United Kingdom | 01/22/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Superbly crafted; very well acted and edited action thriller directed by John Hough; filmed in the summer of 1969 on the picturesque Mediterranean island of Malta and released in 1970. The then 11 years old Mark Lester plays a little boy called Ziggy who lives in a lighthouse with his grandfather (Lionel Jeffries) and older sister (Susan George) and who is frequently prone to telling tall tales and living in his own world of imagination. Naturally, no one, including his family, believes him when he tells them that not only did he witness a visiting President being assassinated, but that he saw the man who did it...a policeman...and the policeman saw him, too! No one, in fact, believes him except the assassins, who are out to kill him at all costs! However, it soon becomes apparent...and very nearly too late for him and his family...that for once, he is actually telling the truth!
This is an excellent, fast-paced thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat with excitement. The last ten minutes are particularly well done. Mark Lester looks radiantly beautiful all of the time and scared to death most of the time. He also does very well in a tense scene where he genuinely cries and sobs...a difficult thing to do unless you are a really good actor and Mark was a far better child actor than many gave him credit for. If only he could have stayed 11 years old indefinitely.
This is also an unusually brutal film for its period and especially for one made as a vehicle for such a famous and very popular child star as Mark Lester. The villains will stop at nothing to get Ziggy, even stooping so low as to kill a ten years old girl (a schoolfriend of Ziggy's) in whom Ziggy confides (and who therefore knows too much to be left alive by the villains) and killing a priest in cold blood before the altar as Ziggy seeks sanctuary in a church.
The extras on this DVD include the original UK and US theatrical trailers, which are identical except for the change of title from the UK "Eyewitness" to the US "Sudden Terror." The image and sound quality on the DVD are of the highest quality and the film has obviously been carefully restored for this DVD release. Exquisitely filmed in Technicolor and Highly Recommended.
Nysocboy | Wisconsin | 09/17/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Mark Lester, the androgynous waif of Oliver!, starred in five films in 1970-71, when he was just at the cusp of adolescence, young enough so that he was still bewildered by the adult world, but old enough to take an active role in its events. Here he plays Ziggy, an exuberant 12-year old prone to fanciful stories, who sees the assassination of a visiting African dignitary but can't get anyone to believe him -- even when the local police force, which is in on the plot, starts trying to kill him.The story is subsidiary to the array of quirky characters, including Mark's Carnaby Street-mod older sister, the blond hippie Adonis she hooks up with (and who never treats her as anything but a friend), Mark's eccentric grandfather (who runs the local lighthouse), and the shrill, suspicious housekeeper who may or may not be Grandpa's lover. Interest is heightened by setting the film on the island of Malta, so there are many shots of quaint cobbled streets and breathtaking cliffs, but no hint that anyone lives on Malta besides quirky Brits."