Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.So then Gold. A piece of seventies kitsch set in South Africa. Where Roger Moore working in a gold mine (he incidentally got his qualifications by corresspondance course) has to battle the consequences of a dastardly plan by second in command Bradford Dillman to flood it thus making money for himself (and not the actual owner who doesn’t know anything about this Ray Milland) as the gold price would increase whatever the human costs.
Roger is of course a handsome dude and he knows it. What other actor can in the first scene handle a mining disaster with more than the regulation buttons open thus showing his cleavage. And they say men can’t multitask.
He along the way falls in love with Susannah York. The wife in the film of Bradford Dillman. Now I don’t blame Roger for that. In my teenaged years Susannah York along with Julie Christie were the English versions of Catherine Deneuve. The sort of woman who you didn’t only lust after but would die for. So it was disappointing to see her in a film where essentially she was Moore’s main squeeze and nothing more. But she would disappoint me here far more than that.
Of course she falls in love with Roger because he’s Roger. And because Dillman doesn’t satisfy her. Well of course not. Not only is he the main villain on screen but he can’t handle dust. And he works on a mine (though of course in the offices). So not only is he evil. He’s also an evil wimp.
John Gielgud is also in it as the leader of the bad guys. Proving that not just Laurence Oliver could ham it up in trashy films. Nor is he above product placement as he strategically places a bottle of Martini to the screen
It is I would admit entertaining in a put your brain in first gear and relax kid of way if it wasn’t for one thing. This is 1974. So it’s not just South Africa. It’s apartheid South Africa.
So the actors I mentioned (note none of them with a dark skin) were happy to work in a film promoting a racist state. Including…oh Susannah how could you! There is only one black actor with any significant role….and that’s relatively minor in relation to the whole movie. Remember that non-whites were the majority in South Africa but were unable to vote. The film is just as undemocratic in it’s depiction of life at that time.
For example before Roger moves in on Susannah he goes to a bar where he eventually picks up a brunette. Her hair colour being the darkest thing in the room.
There is a scene where Roger confronts another white employee of the mine and says not to attack people with a skin darker than his. But the next scene is of him in a stadium where three quarters of the place are filled with black people and one quarter white. But it’s only the light skinned that are able to get to have food and drink from the marquee afterwards.
So what do black people do in the movie? Well aside from mining they carry suitcases in airports and serve drinks in hotels.
“Ben dry white wine” shouts Ray Milland to a black waiter. Note not even the courtesy of a please.
Of course apartheid by name is not mentioned. But it does permeate this movie through the sin of omission. Really it should be banned and should be banned now.
Until the next time.