|The 7th Dawn|
Original film poster by Howard Terpning
|Directed by||Lewis Gilbert|
|Produced by||Charles K. Feldman|
|Written by||Karl Tunberg|
|Based on||The Durian Tree|
by Michael Keon
|Music by||Riz Ortolani|
|Edited by||John Shirley|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|2 September 1964|
The 7th Dawn is a 1964 Technicolor drama film directed by Lewis Gilbert and starring William Holden, Capucine and Tetsuro Tamba. The film, set in the Malayan Emergency, was based on the 1960 novel The Durian Tree by Michael Keon and filmed on location in Malaysia.
Three friends who fought the Japanese in Malaya during World War II end up on opposing sides in the Communist insurgency following the war. Ferris (William Holden) becomes a prosperous rubber plantation owner, while his mistress Dhana (Capucine) is now head of a schoolteacher's union. The third, former guerrilla Ng (Tetsuro Tamba), goes to Moscow to obtain an education. He returns an even more committed revolutionary than during the war, and Dhana is torn between the two men.
Ferris, whose friendship with Ng makes him and his holdings immune from attack, tries to steer clear of the conflict, but he is inexorably drawn in when Dhana is arrested and sentenced to death for carrying explosives for the insurgents. As an additional complication, Candace Trumpey (Susannah York), the daughter of the British Resident whom Ferris had met at the end of the war, is infatuated with the worldly Ferris. Candace, naive, offers herself as a hostage and falls into Ng's hands; he threatens to kill her if the sentence on Dhana is carried out. Ferris offers to flush Ng out in exchange for Dhana's life, but he is given only seven days to do so.
The Durian Tree was published in 1960. It was written by Australian journalist Michael Keon and the lead character Ferris was an Australian. The New York Times called it "a serious and ambitious novel" but said Keon was "a good reporter but a poor novelist." The Los Angeles Times called it "suspenseful, provocative, ultimately illuminating."
Film rights were bought by Charles K. Feldman.
There was a nude scene in the script to be performed by Susannah York, who did not want to do it. However, on location the filmmakers insisted she do it. She did one take and her stand-in did another. Photos taken of York doing the scene were later published in Playboy magazine. "Someone had a long distance camera," York explained. "I'd just like to forget about it. It's an unfortunate business."
The film generated US$2.3 million in revenue being 89th ranked in the films of 1964.
The film's score was composed by Riz Ortolani following the popularity of his score for Mondo Cane that was released in the US in 1963. The theme song The Seventh Dawn was sung by The Lettermen on the movie soundtrack. Their version can be reviewed on YouTube.Sergio Franchi recorded the song on a 1964 single - RCA 47-8409 and Roland Shaw provided an instrumental cover version.