Action of the Tiger is a film that Warner Archive introduced to me. Deep cut genre action films from the late 1950s are a blind spot for me. I was always more of a horror kid, so high action never exactly got my attention. Action of the Tiger is a random crew on a mission movie to rescue people from Albanian Commie Pirates. Never let it be said that that the 50s lacked for imagination.
Director Terence Young is better known for his later work on the Bond movies. As the journeyman talent that hammered the iconic feel of the Connery era, you can see some of his stylistic choices on display here. Still, what is to be made of a movie so by the numbers that WB included a pull quote from Henry V on the back cover? What in the name of Yakko, Wakko and Dot was that all about now?
Sean Connery has a slight minor role. I put this here because otherwise the Bond nerds would scream that bit of trivia at me. For the other bit of trivia, I get that the movie’s title is a reference to Henry V. Still, I don’t care. It’s not like The Dogs of War had Christopher Walken turning to the audience and asking if he could be let loose. So much going on for a movie about a lady rescuing her blind brother and some orphans.
Van Johnson is the typical late 50s/early 60s lead. Basically, he looks like he won the role by being under studio contract for the longest time. Martine Carol made her English language debut as the female lead. She never got a chance at Hollywood success, because she would die from a heart attack roughly 10 years after this film was released. The only one who came out of this movie smelling like a Rose was Sean Connery. It’s kinda hard not seeing why he worked so well with Young on Dr. No in 1962.
It’s not funny how off-balance this film plays. Van Johnson doesn’t have a point until the damsel in distress recruits him. Afterwards, it’s period sexual tension as the two men on the boat fight over who gets to ruin Martine Carol’s life first. By the time the boat arrives at Herbert Lom’s doorstep, it’s hard to understand who is the real villain in Action of the Tiger.
The Action of the Tiger Blu-ray comes with no special features. However, the real win is Warner Archive constantly dipping into their archives for the latest Blu-ray treasure. As time goes on, I applaud and support companies that are willing to expand audiences rather than placate them with known entities. Check this one out!