Twilight's Last Gleaming

1977

Drama / Thriller

2
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 80%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 74%
IMDb Rating 6.8 10 2943

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
May 27, 2021 at 06:25 PM

Director

Cast

Paul Winfield as Willis Powell
Burt Lancaster as Gen. Lawrence Dell
John Ratzenberger as Sgt. Kopecki
William Smith as Hoxey
720p.BLU
1.3 GB
1280*694
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
2 hr 24 min
P/S 4 / 32

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by doug56-874-20850 8 / 10

Definitely worth watching, possibly owning if out on DVD WS

Based on the novel 'VIPER THREE', it's an early, if not one of the first to challenge the motivation for going to war in VIET NAM. Great acting by some of the best, Burt Lancaster and Richard Widmark, who alone make it a 'must see' in my book. In addition to , Charles Durning, Paul Winfield, Burt Young (ROCKY) Joseph Cotton and others. The use of 'split screen' to show multiple events unfolding simultaneously, really helped in building the tension. It was the first movie I saw using it. It did seem to grind long a little at nearly two and one half hours, but that could have been due to my being a slightly restless and impatient 20 YR OLD. I haven't been able to catch it on TV whether it aired or not. Looking forward to its release on DVD in widescreen if not already out( I haven't found it). Love to get a petition going like the one for Rolling Thunder, but really don't know how.

Reviewed by projectthor 10 / 10

Ten Years Ahead Of Its Time, but still as powerful

This movie is a highly exciting and fairly riveting computer hardware and political thriller, which has some deeply disturbing, if not cynical things to say about some of the powers that be in the United States Governemnt. It also handles the subject of nuclear hijacking and terrorism really well. Like The Flight Of The Phoenix and The Dirty Dozen, Robert Aldrich's direction delivers the goods in this potboiler of a political thriller. One that was seriously laced with both liberal and conservative politics. Indeed, this cinematic masterpiece is very explosive, brutal, violent, and doesn't hold back on anything. One of the finest in action cinema.

The action in the film begins on a Sunday Morning in Autumn in 1981 (the near future for this 1977 release) and centers on former US Air Force Brigadier General Lawrence Dell (the late Burt Lancaster), a Vietnam veteran who served five years as a POW. Upon his return, Dell became a vocal advocate of disclosing the truth behind US involvement in Southeast Asia and IndoChina in the hope that a post-Watergate America would forgive its government and have renewed faith in its leaders. Regarded as a dangerous embarrassment by the higher-ups, Lawrence Dell is framed on a manslaughter charge and sent to prison. Still determined, he recruits three inmates (played by the late Paul Winfield, Burt Young, and William Smith) to help him escape and take over a nearby SAC base in Montana, that he helped design. Once in control of the base, and armed with the launch codes, Dell non-negiotiably demands from the SAC Command Center that U.S. President David Stevens (Charles Durning) reveal the truth about the Vietnam War to the American people by reading National Security Council document 9759 on national television. SPOILER ALERT! A security file revealing the United States of America's real reasons for entering the Vietnam Conflict in the first place. Files, it would seem, that no one in the United States Government, wants to be made open to the general public. If these demands that the top-secret Vietnam War files are not made public, Dell promises, at the turn of two keys, to send the nine Titan missiles to their targets in the Soviet Union.

In many ways, the plea for 'open' government and revealing the shameful, if not truthful, secrets of both a controversial war and former administrations makes this science fiction/action thriller the first film of the Carter administration.

Twilight's Last Gleaming is a stunning indictment of the arrogance, if not bureaucratic close-mindedness, of certain government decision makers and the lengths to which they will go to maintain both the "business as usual" stance and the "covering up of the brutal truth". At the same time it also dramatizes both the cynicism of the Post Watergate Seventies and the danger of our unthinking faith in technology. Tellingly, it comes as a deep shock to the military that their usually reliable computer systems and detailed procedures seem to have gone haywire on the day of the siege (of the missile silo that Dell and his people are in), leaving them powerless to stop Dell.

Robert Aldrich's film--shot in the former West Germany with no cooperation from the US military--is a fascinating, tension-filled effort. One that could be accurately described as a Cold War thriller with a serious social commentary that was ten years ahead of its time. Especially with the United States and the United Kingdom Of Great Britain still recovering from the loss of the Vietnam War.

Burt Lancaster contributes a fine performance as the righteous, populist Brigadier General. One can definitely understand why this right-winged patriot resorts to such methods to reveal the truth, and the extraordinary lengths that go with such tactics. Charles Durning, as always(when he plays heroic and sympathetic characters)is superb as the saintly President Of The United States, who comes to empathize Lancaster's viewpoints and high hopes. Paul Winfield offers some sound wisdom as convict Willis Powell. Burt Young has some minor comic moments as the other convict(his messing up of his fake identity to the Military Police guards at the missile silos is memorable). And finally Richard Widmark is excellent as the SAC General who goes out of his way to stop Dell from starting the nuclear countdown to World War III.

Further more, the late Jerry Goldsmith composes his usual, if not excellent soundtrack for the film, and veteran director Aldrich uses some remarkable split-screen techniques that add to the film's tension and speed up the complicated expository passages.

The film also has an extraordinary cast of familiar character actors that consist of Shane Rimmer, the late Ed Bishop, Phil Brown, the late William Hootkins, John Ratzenberger, Garrick Hagon, and a range of familiar screen legends that include the late William Marshall, Gerald S. O'Laughlin, the late Leif Erickson, the late Richard Jaeckel, the late Melvyn Douglas, and the late Charles Aidman.

Despite some minor impossibilities, Twilight's Last Gleaming is both a gripping right-winged and left-winged action conspiracy drama that will have you on the edge of your seat until the very bitter end. Especially where it "SPOILER ALERT" involves some members of a shadowy branch of American Special Forces, determined not to have that secret document about the bush wars in Vietnam revealed.

Reviewed by ma-cortes 6 / 10

Exciting and gripping picture in which a maverick general takes a missile base hostage threatening to begin WWIII

A renegade USAF general, Lawrence Dell (Burt Lancaster) and his band (Paul Winfield , Burt Young , William Smith) , escape from a military prison and take over an ICBM silo near Montana . They have invaded Silo 3 and are prepared to launch nine nuclear missiles . Head saboteur General Lawrence threatens to provoke World War 3 unless the government and President of the United States (Charles Durning , though Paul Newman was offered the role , but turned it down) carry out their conditions , as they demand the followings : ¨Ten million dollars , Air Force One (it was only painted on one side) and you Mr President¨ as he must reveal details of a secret meeting and confess the Vietnam policies and crimes .

Thrilling film about nuclear threatening that contains noisy action , suspense , intrigue , thrills and being pretty entertaining . One of the very few films made in the late 1970's to be shown with an intermission and an extended use of split screens functioning to a large degree in tightening the intrigue . The movie's weakest point is the television style and some ridiculous dialogues as when an enemy appears and Paul Winfield tells ¨Perhaps he might be a midget¨and Lancaster responds : ¨There are no midgets in the United States Air Force¨. Based on a novel by Walter Wager titled ¨Viper three¨ with interesting screenplay from Ronald M. Cohen and Edward Huebsch . The secret policy is closely based on the 1957 book "Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy" by Henry Kissinger, in which the future Secretary of State outlines a strategy committing the US to promoting regional conflicts to deter the Soviets' initiating full-scale war. Top-notch acting by Lancaster as a thinking madman who holds America to ransom by kidnapping atomic missiles . Burt Lancaster initially turned the script down when he was first approached about the project, but eventually agreed to do it after Robert Aldrich became attached to the picture. This is Burt Lancaster's fourth collaboration with director Robert Aldrich, after Apache (1954), Veracruz (1954) and Ulzana's raid (1972). Very good support cast such as Roscoe Lee Browne as James Forrest , Joseph Cotten as Secretary of State , Melvyn Douglas as Zachariah Guthrie , Richard Jaeckel as Capt. Stanford , William Marshall as Attorney General , Gerald S. O'Loughlin as Brig. Gen. O'Rourke , Richard Widmark as Gen. Martin and final film of Charles McGraw , Lionel Murton and Leif Erickson . Atmospheric cinematography by Robert Hauser , all of the scenes were shot with two cameras running . Thrilling and suspenseful musical score by the master Jerry Goldsmith .

The motion picture was professionally directed by Robert Aldrich , he even turned down a large salary and a 10% profit stake in ¨A bridge too far¨1977) in order to make this film and he finished the film ten days ahead of schedule . Here Robert Aldrich gave a tense and brilliant direction . Aldrich began writing and directing for TV series in the early 1950s, and directed his first feature in 1953 (Big Leaguer ,1953). Soon thereafter he established his own production company and produced most of his own films, collaborating in the writing of many of them . Directed in a considerable plethora of genres but almost all of his films contained a subversive undertone . He was an expert on warlike (Dirty Dozen , The Angry Hills , Attack , Ten seconds to hell) and Western (The Frisko kid , Ulzana's raid, Apache , Veracruz , The last sunset) . Rating : acceptable and decent movie , it's a must see for Burt Lancaster fans .

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