Cast & Crew
At the end of World War II in Malaya Ferris, Ng, and Dhana, three leaders of the guerrillas who fought the Japanese, part company. Ng, a Malayan-Chinese, goes to Moscow to complete his education, and Dhana and Ferris remain in Malaya. Eight years later Ferris is a successful plantation owner very much in love with Dhana, his mistress, who is now a prominent schoolteacher. Communist terrorists have launched a campaign of murder and destruction to drive the British from Malaya, but Ferris' interests are not touched. It is discovered that Ng is back in Malaya leading the terrorists, and Ferris reluctantly promises the British Resident to talk to Ng. Ng, though pleased to see Ferris, will not agree to a compromise. Returning from the meeting, Ferris meets Candace, the Resident's daughter, and agrees to attend a ball at the Residency that evening. A grenade is tossed among the dancers at the ball, and Ferris saves Candace's life by throwing her to the floor. In retaliation the British burn the village where Dhana teaches (which is thought to house many terrorists), despite Ferris and Dhana's protests. Dhana, whose sympathies are divided between the terrorists and the colonists, is arrested when police, acting on a tip, find grenades in her bicycle basket. She is sentenced to die but is offered her life if she or Ferris will reveal Ng's hideout. They refuse. Candace pleads with Dhana, who only asks Candace to look after Ferris after her death. Candace then goes to Ng and offers herself as a hostage, hoping her father will release Dhana. Ng holds her captive and distributes posters announcing that Candace will be killed unless Dhana is released by a certain time. Realizing old loyalties are dead, Ferris promises to flush Ng from his hideout. He needs 10 days to do this and Dhana has only 7 days to live. The Communists are routed and Ferris captures Ng and rescues Candace, who shoots Ng as he is about to kill Ferris. The dying Ng confesses he planted the grenades on Dhana's bicycle, hoping to start a revolt. Dhana is executed and several days later Ferris leaves Malaya, probably never to return, though Candace declares her love.
Yap Mook Fui
R. William Koh
Hew Thian Choy
Charles K. Feldman
F. A. Young
The 7th Dawn
He plays Ferris, a post-war Malaysian plantation owner who used to be a mercenary. Ferris' comfortable life is turned upside down when a fellow ex-mercenary, Ng (Tetsuro Tamba), is recruited to lead a Communist uprising against the reigning government. When it's discovered that Ferris has close ties to Ng, the government arrests Ferris' girlfriend, Dhana (Capucine). Ferris is then forced to juggle his dual loyalties with both Ng and Dhana. Bouts of action and romance ensue, as expected, and Holden looks great while running through the jungle.
In Golden Boy, his biography of Holden, author Bob Thomas suggests that the actor was in need of a serious drying out long before he reached the Malaysian jungle to shoot The 7th Dawn. Holden was in Paris, filming Paris When It Sizzles (1964), when producer-screenwriter Karl Tunberg showed up to try to convince him to appear in The 7th Dawn. Tunberg knew that Holden's participation would all but guarantee financing, and could also mean a hit picture.
Tunberg's first meeting with Holden, however, was a preview of the actor's tendency to go on drunken binges. As Tunberg approached the enormous gates in front of the Parisian mansion where Holden was staying, he heard a strange cry, almost like that of a wild animal. Tunberg looked around, but didn't see anything. Then he heard the cry again. Glancing up, he saw an obviously intoxicated Holden hanging from the top of the gate, swaying around like a monkey. Holden then climbed down, and invited his shocked guest into the house to discuss the script.
During their conversation, Holden made an alarming announcement: "I'm sure you put a lot of work into it, and it's a beautiful script," he said. "But you see, I'm not going to do any more pictures. I hate being an actor. I hate the bastards who run the business. I hate everything about it. And now I'm going to bed." Luckily for Tunberg, the actor entered a hospital and managed to quit drinking long enough to generate some enthusiasm for his chosen line of work. Another visit to the hospital before he started filming The 7th Dawn (the earlier attempt was only a brief stop gap measure), and Holden was ready to go.
But Tunberg faced another problem. He was not happy with the casting of Capucine, a former Paris model, as the Eurasian agent for the Communists and was convinced she would ruin the picture. Capucine was having an affair with the film's executive producer Charles K. Feldman who was trying to force her on Tunberg, director Lewis Gilbert and Holden. "At a meeting in Holden's suite at the Connaught Hotel, the three men vowed to make a stand against Feldman," according to author Bob Thomas (in Golden Boy: The Untold Story of William Holden). Holden called Feldman and said, "Charlie - Karl, Lew, and I are agreed that Cap isn't right for the role. If you insist on her, we'll all take a walk. Understand?" Tunberg then departed for Japan to find other actors for the film but learned through news reports while he was there that Capucine had been cast. Gilbert had backed down and Holden had gotten drunk again.
Finally it came time to film The 7th Dawn but things only went smoothly for a while. During a very tough shoot that involved dangerous filming in the jungle, Holden started drinking heavily again, and made no attempt at all to hide the fact that he and Capucine, were having an illicit romance (the actress had just split up with Feldman). Holden was married at the time, not that it seemed to bother him very much. America's gossip columnists were more than happy to sort through the debris, but Holden's career survived, and The 7th Dawn was a minor hit.
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Producer: Karl Tunberg, John Dark
Screenplay: Karl Tunberg (based on the novel by Michael Keon)
Music: Riz Ortolani
Cinematography: Frederick Young
Editor: John Shirley
Production Design: John Stoll
Art Direction: Herbert Smith
Set Decoration: Josie MacAvin
Makeup: John O'Gorman
Cast: William Holden (Ferris), Susannah York (Candace Trumpey), Capucine (Dhana), Tetsuro Tamba (Ng), Michael Goodliffe (Trumphey), Allan Cuthbertson (Cavendish), Maurice Denham (Tarlton), Sydney Tafler (C.P.O.), Beulah Quo (Ah Ming).
by Paul Tatara
The 7th Dawn
Filmed on location in Malaysia, in and around Kuala Lumpur. Opened in London in August 1964. Working titles: Wherever Love Takes Me, and The Third Road.
Released in United States 1964
Released in United States 1964