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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Sixties rarity: Nine Hours To Rama, 1963

Another of those long-unseen 20th Century Fox Cinemascope "prestige" films, benefiting from exotic locations and a tense story, even if we know the outcome, from a popular bestseller of the time. I caught it at the time before it vanished ...

NINE HOURS TO RAMA depicts the life of Nathuram Godse the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi. How Godse planned the assassination is shown in the film. How he became a Hindu activist who (unfairly) blamed Gandhi for the killings of thousands of Hindus by Muslims is revealed in a series of flashbacks.

Directed by Fox veteran Mark Robson (he had more success with the thriller THE PRIZE that year) with a polyglot cast browned up as Indians and set in India, it features German Horst Buchholz as the assassin, and Jose Ferrer as the weary police inspector on his trail, trying to catch him before it is too late. It is startling now to see the likes of Robert Morley, Harry Andrews, Diane Baker, Valerie Gearon, Francis Matthews etc as Indians, alongside Marne Maitland and other natives, J.S. Casshyap is an effective Mahatma as the film tries to make sense of those violent years. 
It is though colourful and tense, and Buchholz more or less looks authentic. It took several decades though for a more realistic picture of Gandhi to emerge, in Attenborough's 1982 film. 
1963 was the year of the Kennedy assassination, and like THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, NINE HOURS TO RAMA was taken out of circulation for a while,. 

1 comment:

  1. Again a movie I haven't seen since it came out but as a child, even a precocious one, I found it boring. Still, Robson is a director of note and it has a good cast so maybe I should give it another chance.