Race for the Yankee Zephyr

Race for the Yankee Zephyr (David Hemmings, 1981) aka Treasure of the Yankee Zephyr; prod. John Barnett, Antony I. Ginnane, David Hemmings for F. G. H. Film Consortium, Zephyr Films, First Gty Films, wr. Everett DeRoche, dp David Monton, music Brian May, ed. John Laing, design Bernard Hides; Bruno Lawrence, George Peppard, Donald Pleasence, Ken Wahl, Lesley Ann Warren, Donald Pleasence; action thriller, search for money from crash; Eastman colour, 35mm, 100 min.

Race for the Yankee Zephyr should have been directed by Robert Trenchard-Smith: it's his kind of film, written by Everett De Roche, and even killing a couple of stuntmen in jetboats (John Hargreaves was nearly killed in Trenchard-Smith's Deathcheaters, 1976). And RTS might not have let George Peppard get away with that ridiculous camp character Hemmings let him do.

Hemmings' pacing is so leaden that Crawl for the 'Yankee Zephyr' might have been a more accurate title ... Donald Pleasence brings his usual professionalism ... the New Zealand locations are well utilised (and very well shot in Panavision by Vincent Monton) and the basic story is strong enough to have deserved more intelligent casting and less tentative treatment. Hemmings has not directed a film since. Stratton: 78-79.


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