Rage


1h 39m 1972
Rage

Brief Synopsis

When government chemical tests kill his son, a rancher vows revenge.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Release Date
Nov 1972
Premiere Information
New York and Los Angeles opening: 22 Nov 1972
Production Company
Getty and Fromkess Picture Corp.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros., Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Benson, Arizona, United States; Kino Springs, Arizona, United States; Marana Air Park, Arizona, United States; Tucson, Arizona, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 39m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1
Film Length
12 reels

Synopsis

One evening for fun, Wyoming sheep rancher Dan Logan and his twelve-year-old son Chris camp out on their grazing land, pitching a tent and building a fire. Early the next morning, Dan's dog awakens him in the tent and anxiously leads him to Chris, who spent the night sleeping under the stars. Dan soon realizes that Chris, whose nose is bloody, is unconscious and extremely ill. As Dan scoops up Chris and carries him to his pickup truck, he notices many of his sheep lying dead on the ground. While racing to the nearest hospital, Dan, a widower, stops briefly at his neighbor Bill Parker's house and asks him to alert the local veterinarian about his dead sheep. At the hospital, a young Army doctor, Major Holliford, questions Dan about Chris's symptoms and suggests that Chris may be suffering from insecticide poisoning. Dr. Roy Cardwell, the Logans' longtime family physician, then arrives at the hospital, but tells Dan that Holliford, a specialist, is better equipped to treat Chris than he is. After Holliford places Chris in an isolation ward, Roy urges Dan to be admitted to the hospital and examined by Holliford as a precautionary measure. Meanwhile, at nearby Fort Howard, Colonel Alan A. Nickerson, a group of Army officers and researchers, and Dr. Spencer, the local public health official, meet to discuss the previous night's "accident." Nickerson's aide, Major Jack Reintz, explains that just before dawn, Fort Howard helicopter pilots were testing MX3, a new chemical agent, when the nozzle on one of their sprayers got stuck and inadvertently dumped the agent in and around the Logan property. Dr. Tom Janeway, an Army researcher working at Chevington Laboratories, where MX3 is manufactured, reveals that Chris and Dan will likely die from their MX3 exposure. Janeway argues that, no matter what happens, the two should be monitored as test cases, and Nickerson orders that details of the accident be kept from the public. Although Chris's condition worsens, Holliford and Roy assure Dan, who has not been allowed to see his son, that Chris will recover. Chris dies soon after, but Holliford, afraid of losing Dan as a test subject, instructs Roy and the hospital staff not to reveal anything to him. That night Chris's death is reported on the local news, and even though it is attributed to accidental pesticide poisoning, Spencer becomes concerned that the real story will soon come out. At the hospital, meanwhile, Dan repeatedly asks to see Chris, unaware that his son's body is being autopsied in the hospital morgue. Concerned about Dan's growing agitation, Holliford orders him sedated. The next day, Roy sneaks a look at Dan's hospital records and, disturbed, confronts Holliford about his situation. Holliford admits that Dan has only a few days to live but insists he not be told so that the Army can continue testing him. Outraged by Holliford's callousness, Roy defies the command and announces he is revealing the truth to Dan. Holliford immediately arranges for Dan to be moved, but as he is being wheeled down the hospital corridor, Dan notices an orderly carrying Chris's clothes in a plastic bag and becomes suspicious. That night, Spencer tries to mollify Dan, promising him he can visit Chris in the morning, but as soon as Spencer leaves, Dan dresses and slips out of his room. Eluding detection, Dan sneaks down to the morgue and there discovers his son's body. Quietly crying and cursing, Dan flees the hospital and after a night spent walking, steals a motorcycle. While riding, Dan sees a string of Army vehicles heading toward his home and realizes he cannot return to his ranch. Armed with a newly purchased rifle, Dan instead goes to Spencer's house and, at gunpoint, demands to know what killed Chris. Spencer resists telling Dan, until Dan is startled by Spencer's cat and sprays it with bullets. Unnerved by Dan's actions, Spencer reveals all. Now filled with a vengeful hate, Dan buys some explosives and constructs several crude bombs. That night, Dan, who is growing increasingly ill from the MX3, plants his bombs at the Chevington Laboratories, cold-bloodedly killing a guard and two policemen before causing the entire facility to explode in a fiery ball. Fleeing the scene, Dan then forces a truck driver to take him to Fort Howard and shoots the M.P. guarding the entrance. After allowing the driver to escape, Dan speeds the truck toward the fort's administration building. Dan is soon surrounded by Army vehicles and, though dizzy and weak, tries to shoot his way out. Overhead, an officer in a helicopter orders Dan to surrender, but Dan collapses and, after going into violent convulsions on the ground, dies. The next day, as Dan's body is about to be shipped off to Denver for further study, Roy drives up and laments his friend's fate and his part in the cover-up.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Release Date
Nov 1972
Premiere Information
New York and Los Angeles opening: 22 Nov 1972
Production Company
Getty and Fromkess Picture Corp.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros., Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Benson, Arizona, United States; Kino Springs, Arizona, United States; Marana Air Park, Arizona, United States; Tucson, Arizona, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 39m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1
Film Length
12 reels

Articles

Rage (1972)


Riding high on his starring success in the epic war movie Patton (1970), actor George C. Scott turned film director for Rage, a grim 1972 thriller about chemical warfare. Scott also plays the leading role as Dan Logan, a Wyoming rancher. Camping with his young son Chris (Nicolas Beauvy), Dan wakes to find his sheep dead and Chris unconscious and bleeding from the nose. They seek the care of the army doctor Holliford (Martin Sheen), only to be victimized a second time. A valve on an Army helicopter malfunctioned, releasing a deadly chemical agent called MX3. Chris dies almost immediately and Dan will only last a couple of days. In the name of national security Dan is told lies and kept incommunicado, until he discovers the truth and goes on a murderous rampage. He breaks free and attacks the chemical plant with a rifle and some homemade bombs. Released a year before the Watergate debacle, Rage precedes the paranoid conspiracy thrillers about secret government agencies operating outside the law. The screenplay by Philip Friedman and Dan Kleinman also predicts the growing discontent in Middle America with a federal government perceived as unconcerned with the rights of its citizens. Dan is an innocent victim whose vigilante reaction amounts to justified domestic terrorism. The chemical weapons are outlawed by international law yet still being manufactured, and the military doctors choose to lie to the doomed Dan Logan, while using him to study the effect of their deadly chemical. Among the fine actors chosen by Scott to play the secretive, guilty medics and soldiers covering up the accident are Barnard Hughes, Paul Stevens and Richard Basehart, who seven years before had menaced the world as a villainous madman in The Satan Bug (1965), a germ warfare thriller about a doomsday virus stolen from a secret lab. Rage adds a bitter anti-government theme. The film is reportedly based on real incidents in Utah in 1968 and 1971 that killed thousands of sheep. Reviews praised George C. Scott's intentions but criticized its many lengthy position speeches, while deriding one of director Scott's visual choices: to remind us of the existence of the dreaded chemical agent MX3, the narrative flow is frequently interrupted by slow-motion observations of liquids - water from a hose, gasoline, coffee, even spittle. Variety called the show convincing but sluggish and overwhelmingly depressing. Our sympathy for Dan Logan comes to a halt as soon as he starts shooting people.

By Glenn Erickson
Rage (1972)

Rage (1972)

Riding high on his starring success in the epic war movie Patton (1970), actor George C. Scott turned film director for Rage, a grim 1972 thriller about chemical warfare. Scott also plays the leading role as Dan Logan, a Wyoming rancher. Camping with his young son Chris (Nicolas Beauvy), Dan wakes to find his sheep dead and Chris unconscious and bleeding from the nose. They seek the care of the army doctor Holliford (Martin Sheen), only to be victimized a second time. A valve on an Army helicopter malfunctioned, releasing a deadly chemical agent called MX3. Chris dies almost immediately and Dan will only last a couple of days. In the name of national security Dan is told lies and kept incommunicado, until he discovers the truth and goes on a murderous rampage. He breaks free and attacks the chemical plant with a rifle and some homemade bombs. Released a year before the Watergate debacle, Rage precedes the paranoid conspiracy thrillers about secret government agencies operating outside the law. The screenplay by Philip Friedman and Dan Kleinman also predicts the growing discontent in Middle America with a federal government perceived as unconcerned with the rights of its citizens. Dan is an innocent victim whose vigilante reaction amounts to justified domestic terrorism. The chemical weapons are outlawed by international law yet still being manufactured, and the military doctors choose to lie to the doomed Dan Logan, while using him to study the effect of their deadly chemical. Among the fine actors chosen by Scott to play the secretive, guilty medics and soldiers covering up the accident are Barnard Hughes, Paul Stevens and Richard Basehart, who seven years before had menaced the world as a villainous madman in The Satan Bug (1965), a germ warfare thriller about a doomsday virus stolen from a secret lab. Rage adds a bitter anti-government theme. The film is reportedly based on real incidents in Utah in 1968 and 1971 that killed thousands of sheep. Reviews praised George C. Scott's intentions but criticized its many lengthy position speeches, while deriding one of director Scott's visual choices: to remind us of the existence of the dreaded chemical agent MX3, the narrative flow is frequently interrupted by slow-motion observations of liquids - water from a hose, gasoline, coffee, even spittle. Variety called the show convincing but sluggish and overwhelmingly depressing. Our sympathy for Dan Logan comes to a halt as soon as he starts shooting people. By Glenn Erickson

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Although not mentioned onscreen or in studio press materials, many reviewers claimed that the film's story was inspired by a March 1968 incident in which 6,400 sheep were accidentally poisoned by nerve gas being tested by the U.S. Army at the Dugway Proving Ground near Salt Lake City, UT. According to contemporary news reports, the Army initially denied that the sheep had died after high winds had exposed them to organic phosphate contained in the gas. Several weeks later, after local veterinarians had found evidence of phosphate poisoning and argued that the sheep could have been saved had the Army administered the proper antidote, however, the Army admitted responsibility.
       Rage marked actor George C. Scott's motion picture directing debut. In 1970, he directed a broadcast television version of the play The Andersonville Trial. Rage also marked producer Leon Fromkess' last picture. Fromkess, who had been producing since the early 1940s, collaborated with J. Ronald Getty on two 1971 films, Honky (see entry above) and Zeppelin . According to press materials, Rage was shot entirely in Arizona. The "Logan" ranch sequences were filmed near Nogales, on actor Stewart Granger's old ranch at Kino Springs. Other locations included the Benson, Arizona Hospital, the Marana Air Park, thirty miles north of Tucson, and various sites in and around Tucson. For the Chevington Laboratories explosion sequence, a 5,000 square-foot building was constructed on a hilltop thirty-two miles from Tucson. Hollywood Reporter production charts add Liz Kneeland and Russ Morrell to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1972

Directorial debut for George C Scott.

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1972