Sundown (October 31, 1941)

Gene Tierney in Sundown

Released on October 31, 1941: (running time 1 hour and 28 minutes) In the heart of Africa, a mysterious woman living with the natives helps British soldiers defeat gun smugglers intent on war.

Directed by Henry Hathaway

The Actors: Gene Tierney (Zia), Bruce Cabot (William Crawford), George Sanders (Coombes), Harry Carey (Dewey), Joseph Calleia (Pallini), Reginald Gardiner (Turner), Carl Esmond (Kuypens), Marc Lawrence (Abdi Hammud), Sir. Cedric Hardwicke (Bishop Coombes), Gilbert-Emery (Ashburton), Jeni Le Gon (Miriami), Emmett Smith (Kipsang), Dorothy Dandridge (Kipsang's wife), William Broadus (village headman), Ivan Browning (signal man), Frank Clarke (pilot), Frederick Clarke (Ibrahim), Eddie Das (Pindi), William R. Dunn (Kipsang's victim), Al Duvall (Magabul), Riccardo Freda (pilot), Wesley Gale (native boy), Gibson Gowland (chuchgoer in wheelchair), Jester Hairston (native boy), Darby Jones (camel man), Walter Knox (father), Tetsu Komai (Kuypens' Shenzi aide), Lawrence LaMarr (Shenzi informer), Prince Modupe (Miriami's sweetheart), Curtis Nero (Corporal of Askaris), Hassan Said (Arab reader), Woody Strode (tribal policeman), Horace Walker (lecherous old man), Blue Washington (Askari veteran), Kenny Washington (Sergeant Kumakwa).


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Some days I'm really 'up' for a good WWII movie. Some of the finest pictures of the first fifty years of motion pictures are about war, and the men and women who fight for their country. But about a third of the way into this picture there was a conversation that stopped me cold. You see, I was of fighting age during the height of the Viet Nam war, and like many Americans of this age, I have conflicting feelings about that war. I have conflicting feelings about how nations manipulate information in order to sway their citizens' feelings about war. If the people are not behind the war, it will not be easy to win that war. War propaganda is probably as important, or maybe more important, than the actual might of the fighting men. The only thing that I know for sure about that war or any of the wars that we fight is that I am terribly fortunate to live in a country where I have the freedom to wonder. I am very proud of the men and women who have fought since the founding of this nation to guarantee that freedom.

In this film we are at a British outpost in Africa - remember that for many years 'the sun never sets on the British Empire.' Anywhere you go on the face of the globe, there are British outposts protecting British trade and interests. Well, WWII has begun, and fighting is coming to Africa. And an Italian deserter announces the importance of keeping Africa out of the hands of the Germans by saying that Britain must fight the Germans in Africa so that they won't need to fight them at home. I immediately flashed back to McNamara and others telling us with sincerity that we must fight communism in Viet Nam so that we wouldn't need to fight the commies at home. If Viet Nam falls, more countries will fall to communism like dominoes, and soon America will be conquered. We must fight, and we must win against the enemies of freedom. Were they correct? Was the Viet Nam war a fight that we should have spent our blood and treasure on? After forty years I still do not know. I can go either way on any given day. Maybe that is part of the meaning of the 'fog of war' - there are so very few absolute black and white answers.

Anyway, don't let my 'sadness of war' feelings keep you from this first class adventure in the wilderness of Africa. You will find tremendous adventure and manly battles against each other. You will also discover a mysterious lovely European woman living among the natives with strange powers over all. Mystery, intrigue, spies, love and war in the wild and primitive Africa.

GEne TierneyGeorge Sanders and Bruce Cabot
Gene Tierney - 1941Bruce Cabot and George Sanders
Harry CareyGene Tierney
Harry Carey - 1941Gene Tierney in Sundown
Zia, mysterious lady of Africathe battle rages
Gene Tierney as Zia, mysterious lady of AfricaThe final battle