Golden Rendezvous

Last updated

Golden Rendezvous
Golden Rendezvous dvd cover.jpg
DVD cover
Directed byAshley Lazarus
Produced byMurray Frank
Andre Pieterse
Robert Porter
Written by Alistair MacLean (novel)
Allan Scott
Chris Bryant
John Gay
Stanley Price
Starring Richard Harris
Ann Turkel
David Janssen
Gordon Jackson
Burgess Meredith
Dorothy Malone
John Vernon
John Carradine
Leigh Lawson
Robert Flemyng
Keith Baxter
Robert Beatty
Music by Jeff Wayne
Cinematography Kenneth Higgins
Edited byRalph Kemplin
Distributed byUnited Artists (USA)
Rank Film Distributors (UK)
Release date
  • 25 December 1977 (1977-12-25)(Sweden)
Running time
109 minutes (theatrical release)

Golden Rendezvous is a 1977 South African action thriller film directed by Ashley Lazarus and starring Richard Harris, Ann Turkel and David Janssen. [1] It was based on the 1962 novel The Golden Rendezvous by Alistair MacLean.



The Caribbean Star, a combination cargo ship and floating casino is hijacked by terrorists led by Luis Carreras (John Vernon), who installs an atomic bomb, holding both the passengers and the bomb hostage, hoping to exchange them for the gold bullion on a U.S. Treasury ship. However, First Officer John Carter (Richard Harris), Susan Beresford (Ann Turkel), and Dr. Marston (Gordon Jackson) join forces to foil the plan.



The novel was originally published in 1962. Film rights were bought almost immediately; Laurence Harvey announced he would star and produce along with Daniel Angel. "I think it's easily as exciting as Guns of Navarone ", said Harvey. [2]

However the film was not made until 1977. It starred Richard Harris and Ann Turkel, who were then married, and who had just appeared in The Cassandra Crossing together. Harris praised Turkel for encouraging him to cut down on his drinking. "Now my creativity is flowing again", he said. "Now in the middle of the night I must suddenly get up and write. I'm not going to end up like [Dylan] Thomas, lonely and misunderstood." [3]

Differences from Novel

The basic film plot follows that of the book for almost the entire story with only a few differences; for example, in the book Captain Bullen is wounded by gunfire during the taking of the 'Campari'(Caribbean Star) whilst in the film, Bullen is shot dead. As the book character spent the remainder of the story incapacitated, the plot continued in much the same way without him. Similarly Dr. Taubman's character possessed a wife who was absent from the novel, as were David Janssen's character of Charles Conway, and Burgess Meredith's character Van Heurden. However a different ending was scripted for the film in order to increase plot tension and create something far more dramatic and spectacular. The final fifteen minutes of the screenplay led to a conclusion that bore little resemblance to the book plot.

Perhaps because of this deviation from the original story, and any resulting disagreements following its release, the film was later renamed 'Nuclear Terror.'


The film was shot in South Africa. The film was started by Freddie Francis but completed by Ashley Lazarus. [4]

The film went $1.5 million over budget. This was blamed on Richard Harris who, it was alleged, held up production with his drinking and rewriting of the script. Producer Euan Lloyd later discovered this was not entirely true – however, it made it difficult for Lloyd to cast Harris in his next film, The Wild Geese . [5]

Harris admitted rewriting the script but says he was invited to do so. "I worked 20 hours a day, 7 days a week, helping to get them out of a hole. And at the end I got slammed for it. Worse – found myself uninsurable. Even after the film opened in Europe, I still didn't give up. I said 'Let me take 10 minutes out and put back some stuff and I promise you it'll work.' But they weren't interested. And so we're left with another Harris flop." [5]


After the European release, a six-minute prologue was shot to make the plot more explicable. [5]

The movie performed poorly at the box office. [6]

The Guardian called the film "nothing but dross". [7]


The film was tied up in a South African political scandal after a Supreme Court judge made public evidence of corruption and the misappropriation of millions of pound of public funds. Mr Justice Anton, Mostert was undertaking a one-man Commission of Inquiry into exchange control conventions, when he announced he had uncovered corruption, mostly the using of US$13.8 million (£8.6 million) in government funds to set up The Citizen, an English-language newspaper that would support the government. The scandal led to the resignation of Prime Minister John Vorster. [8] [9]

In addition, $5 million was transferred from a Swiss bank to a South African company called Thor Communicators, some of which was used as security for loans to make Golden Rendezvous. [10]

Prime Minister Pieter Botha set up an official inquiry to investigate the allegations. [6] [8]

Producer Andre Pieterse admitted that 825,000 rand (£475,000) was transferred to him to create a film industry for blacks in South Africa. This would involve the production of ideological films, the distribution of films from abroad acceptable to South African blacks, and the construction chain of cinemas for blacks. However, due to difficulties with other government departments, the project was never realised and the money instead wound up in Golden Rendezvous.

Money for the film had been raised in South Africa but backers dropped out shortly before production had begun. Pieterse had already sold the distribution rights to the as-yet-unmade film in thirty two countries for a total of 2.5 million rand; if the film was not made he risked being sued and being stuck with a bill for wages for the cast and crew. So Pieterse refinanced the project through an American bank, Chemical, under stringer terms which resulted in another million dollars being added to the budget. Pieterse was allowed to use the government money to secure finance for the loan for Golden Rendezvous. Eschel Rhoodie was the head of the Department of Information at the time and a friend of Pieterse's. [6] Pieterse:

I explained to Rhoodie the situation, the fact the I would be personally ruined, that the industry could be badly damaged, and talked him into employing 825,000 rand which at that stage was on fixed deposit with Barclays Bank — to allow me to employ it as security for the production loan. I was convinced, and I put it to him, that this situation would not be called, because the film was properly insured against completion, and when we completed it, we were certain that the foreign, American rights would be sow for at least enough money to meet the obligations of production, then this 825,000 rand would serve only as security till that time. Unfortunately for me the production got further out of hand, and the film far exceeded the budget. [11]

Pieterse says filming ran into trouble because of difficulties involved in shooting on a ship, and because Richard Harris drank a bottle of vodka a day. [12]

Pieterse alleged that these things caused filming to be delayed by 44 days and meant that the producer was unable to raise capital abroad, and make a sale to North America. [11]

Pieterse later sought $1.5 million in damages from Harris. Harris was then making Game for Vultures in South Africa and a warrant was issued for his arrest by a Johannesburg court. Harris responded, "Mr Pieterse owes me money, not I him", claiming he was owed $50,000, and that Pieterse's comments were "totally untrue and completely defamatory." [13]

Sheriffs failed to serve a warrant of arrest on Harris and it was reported that the parties were working on a settlement. [14] "I don't believe that in a country like South Africa that they will arrest a gentleman like me", said Harris. [15]

"I'd be a fool to deny I had a drink", said Harris. "But when I was drinking I never let it get in the way of my work. Everybody on that film was drinking, we were all so fucking miserable." [11]

Harris threatened to sue for defamation and the matter never went to court. [16]

Pieterse did succeed in selling the film to Time-Life for syndication for 525,000 rand. [11]

Related Research Articles

David Janssen American actor

David Janssen was an American film and television actor who is best known for his starring role as Richard Kimble in the television series The Fugitive (1963–1967). Janssen also had the title roles in three other series: Richard Diamond, Private Detective; Harry O; and O'Hara, U.S. Treasury.

Richard Harris Irish actor, singer, film director and writer

Richard John Harris was an Irish actor and singer. He appeared on stage and in many films, notably as Frank Machin in This Sporting Life, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor, and as King Arthur in the 1967 film Camelot, as well as the 1981 revival of the stage musical.

<i>Training Day</i> 2001 film directed by Antoine Fuqua

Training Day is a 2001 American crime thriller film directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by David Ayer. It stars Denzel Washington as Alonzo Harris and Ethan Hawke as Jake Hoyt, two LAPD narcotics officers over a 24-hour period in the gang-ridden neighborhoods of Westlake, Echo Park and South Central Los Angeles. It also stars Scott Glenn, Cliff Curtis, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg in supporting roles.

<i>Dave</i> (film)

Dave is a 1993 American political comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman, written by Gary Ross, and starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver. Frank Langella, Kevin Dunn, Ving Rhames, Charles Grodin and Ben Kingsley appear in supporting roles.

The Citizen is a tabloid-style newspaper distributed nationally in South Africa. While its core readership is mainly in Gauteng, it also distributes to surrounding provinces such as Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the North West. In 1998, The Citizen was acquired by CTP/Caxton. The Citizen embarked on its digital evolution in 2013. The website went live on 1 August 2013 with a fresh look and more responsive design adaptable to mobile, tablet and desktop. Since then, has established itself among the top South African news websites. While it is a general news site, it also reaches niche audiences, catering to its readers’ varied interests.

<i>Inchon</i> (film) 1981 film directed by Terence Young

Inchon is a 1981 epic war film about the Battle of Inchon, considered to be the turning point of the Korean War. The film was directed by Terence Young and financed by Unification movement founder Sun Myung Moon. It stars Laurence Olivier as General Douglas MacArthur, who led the United States surprise amphibious landing at Incheon, South Korea in 1950. Also featured are Jacqueline Bisset, Ben Gazzara, Toshiro Mifune, and Richard Roundtree. It was filmed in South Korea, California, Italy, Ireland and Japan.

<i>The Swarm</i> (1978 film) 1978 film by Irwin Allen

The Swarm is a 1978 American disaster–horror film directed and produced by Irwin Allen, who was a producer of the previous disaster movies of The Poseidon Adventure, and The Towering Inferno. It was adapted from a novel of the same name by Arthur Herzog. The cast features Michael Caine, Katharine Ross, Richard Widmark, Richard Chamberlain, Olivia de Havilland, Ben Johnson, Lee Grant, José Ferrer, Patty Duke, Slim Pickens, Bradford Dillman, Fred MacMurray, and Henry Fonda. In this film, Dr. Bradford Crane and a group of soldiers teams up to stop a huge swarm of killer bees from reaching and destroying their city with venom around the state of Texas. This was MacMurray's final film appearance before his death. The Swarm received overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics and was a box-office failure. The Swarm has been considered to be one of the worst movies ever made. Despite this, it was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design.

<i>The Wild Geese</i> 1978 film

The Wild Geese is a 1978 British-Swiss epic war film directed by Andrew V. McLaglen and starring Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris, and Hardy Krüger. The screenplay concerns a group of mercenaries in Africa. It was the result of a long-held ambition of its producer Euan Lloyd to make an all-star adventure film similar to The Guns of Navarone or Where Eagles Dare. The same producer and director were later responsible for The Sea Wolves.

Barbara Harris (actress) American actress born 1935

Barbara Densmoor Harris was an American actress. She appeared in such movies as A Thousand Clowns, Plaza Suite, Nashville, Family Plot, Freaky Friday, Peggy Sue Got Married, and Grosse Pointe Blank. Harris won a Tony Award and was nominated for an Academy Award. She also received four Golden Globe Award nominations.

Sasha Pieterse South African-born American actress, singer and songwriter

Sasha Pieterse-Sheaffer is a South African-born American actress, singer and songwriter. She is known for her role as Alison DiLaurentis in the Freeform series Pretty Little Liars. Upon the success of Pretty Little Liars, Pieterse earned a supporting role as Amy Loubalu in the 2011 Disney Channel film Geek Charming.

<i>Brubaker</i> 1980 film starring Robert Redford

Brubaker is a 1980 American prison drama film directed by Stuart Rosenberg. It stars Robert Redford as a newly arrived prison warden, Henry Brubaker, who attempts to clean up a corrupt and violent penal system. The screenplay by W. D. Richter is a fictionalized version of the 1969 book, Accomplices to the Crime: The Arkansas Prison Scandal by Tom Murton and Joe Hyams, detailing Murton's uncovering of the 1967 prison scandal.

Eschel Mostert Rhoodie was a South African civil servant, public relations officer and spin doctor most famous as being one of the key players in the 1978-79 Information Scandal, also known as "Infogate" or "Muldergate". He served as the Secretary of the Department of Information between 1972 and 1977, while Dr. Connie Mulder was Minister of the department.

Ann Turkel American actress and former model (born 1946)

Ann Kathryn Turkel is an American actress and former model. Turkel studied acting at the Musical Theatre Academy.

<i>The Golden Rendezvous</i>

The Golden Rendezvous is a novel written by Scottish author Alistair MacLean, and was first published in 1962. One of MacLean's most popular works, it combines mystery, suspense, action, clever bluffs and double bluffs, with MacLean's trademark self-deprecating wit.

<i>Pilot</i> (Cold Feet) British television pilot directed by Declan Lowney

Cold Feet is a British television pilot directed by Declan Lowney. It stars James Nesbitt and Helen Baxendale as Adam and Rachel, a couple who meet and fall in love, only for the relationship to break down when he gets cold feet. John Thomson, Fay Ripley, Hermione Norris and Robert Bathurst appear in supporting roles. The programme was written by Mike Bullen, a BBC radio producer with little screenwriting experience, who was tasked with creating a one-off television production that would appeal to middle-class television audiences, who the executive producer Andy Harries believed were underepresented on British television.

<i>Game for Vultures</i>

Game for Vultures is a 1979 British thriller film starring Richard Harris, Joan Collins and Richard Roundtree. It was directed by James Fargo and based on a novel by Michael Hartmann set during the Rhodesian Bush War.

Series 4, Episode 8 (<i>Cold Feet</i>) 8th episode of the fourth season of Cold Feet

Series 4, Episode 8 is the final episode of the fourth series of the British comedy-drama television series Cold Feet. It was written by Mike Bullen, directed by Ciaran Donnelly, and was first broadcast on the ITV network on 10 December 2001. The plot follows on directly from the previous episode, as Adam and Rachel, and Karen and David travel to Sydney, Australia for Pete and Jo's impromptu wedding. Adam is sceptical that Pete is truly in love with Jo, and Jo's rich father Rod suspects that Pete is only marrying her to get access to his money. Under pressure from Rod, Pete gets cold feet and he and Jo call off the wedding. The couple soon reconcile and marry with Rod's blessing. Meanwhile, David discovers that Karen has been having an affair with her colleague Mark and ends their marriage, and Rachel gives birth prematurely in a Sydney hospital.

<i>Ravagers</i> (film)

Ravagers is a 1979 American science fiction action film directed by Richard Compton and based on the 1966 novel Path to Savagery by Robert Edmond Alter. The screenplay concerns survivors of a nuclear holocaust, who do what they can to protect themselves against ravagers, a mutated group of vicious marauders who terrorize the few remaining civilized inhabitants.

<i>Family Feud Africa</i> Television show

Family Feud Africa is a South African game show produced by BBC African Rapid Blue and American Steve Harvey Global, distributed by Fremantle, broadcast on, starting from April 5, 2020. It is the South African version of the American show of the same name, and was filmed after Season 21 of the current United States version was completed, in December 2019. Fremantle offered selected production staffers and host Steve Harvey for the production.

Ernest Leonard Bulle was an academic and politician who served as a minister in the governments of Rhodesia and Zimbabwe Rhodesia. He served in the cabinet of Rhodesia as joint Minister of Finance and Minister of Commerce and Industry alongside David Smith from 1978 to 1979 as part of the country's Internal Settlement. He continued as commerce minister in the government of Zimbabwe Rhodesia between June and December 1979. First elected to parliament in the 1979 Zimbabwe Rhodesia general election, he stood unsuccessfully in the 1980 general election, which set the membership of the first parliament of the independent Zimbabwe. Bulle was a member of the United African National Council and served as the party's second vice-president.


  2. A.H. WEILER (10 June 1962). "THE LOCAL FILM SCENE: Lawrence Harvey Scans a Full Slate 'Last Revolt' Busy Director". New York Times. p. 117.
  3. Flatley, Guy. (11 March 1977). "At the Movies". New York Times. p. 49.
  5. 1 2 3 Mann, Roderick. (14 March 1978). "Richard Harris: Ain't Misbehavin'". Los Angeles Times. p. e8.
  6. 1 2 3 "Judge's transcripts show secret spending". The Guardian. 4 November 1978. p. 4.
  7. "German landscape with Hitler inset". The Guardian. 1 December 1977. p. 10.
  8. 1 2 "S. Africa sets inquiry of scandal". Chicago Tribune. 4 November 1978. p. n2.
  10. "Corruption scandal shakes pretoria". The Irish Times. 3 November 1978. p. 6.
  11. 1 2 3 4 Bart Mills, "The Celluloid Scandal", The Spectator 25 Nov 1978
  12. "Mulder rejects calls to resign as funds scandal threatens party unity". The Irish Times. 6 November 1978. p. 8.
  13. "Actor Harris linked to scandal in South Africa". Chicago Tribune. 22 November 1978. p. a6.
  14. "Harris case may be settled". The Irish Times. 23 November 1978. p. 5.
  15. Clyde Haberman Albin Krebs. (23 November 1978). "Notes on People: The Ford Children: Tales Out of School Holiday in Court Wallet Story: Thrice Bitten, Thrice Shy A Party for the Oldsters Trials of Richard Harris Referee Scores One". New York Times. p. C18.
  16. Goodwin, Cliff (31 May 2011). Behaving Badly: Richard Harris. ISBN   9780753546512.