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Darker than Amber (film)

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Director  Robert Clouse
Screenplay  Ed Waters
Country  U.S.
6.2/10 IMDb

Genre  Action, Drama, Mystery
Story by  John D. MacDonald
Language  English
Darker than Amber (film) movie poster

Writer  John D. MacDonald, Ed Waters
Release date  August 14 1970
Cast  Rod Taylor (Travis McGee), Theodore Bikel (Meyer), Suzy Kendall (Vangie / Merrimay), Ahna Capri (Del (as Anna Capri)), William Smith (Terry), Janet MacLachlan (Noreen)
Similar movies  Mad Max: Fury Road, Irreversible, John Wick, I Spit on Your Grave III: Vengeance is Mine, Salt, Taken 3
Tagline  Travis McGee is having a conference with one of his clients. Business as usual.

Darker than amber 1970 full movie

Darker than Amber is a 1970 film adaptation of John D. MacDonald's mystery/suspense novel, Darker than Amber. It was directed by Robert Clouse from a screenplay by MacDonald and Ed Waters. It starred Rod Taylor as Travis McGee. Darker than Amber and The Empty Copper Sea (adapted as the film Travis McGee (1983) starring Sam Elliott) remain the only McGee novels adapted to the big screen as of 2017. The film also marked the final onscreen appearance of actress Jane Russell prior to her death in 2011, with the exception of a documentary appearance in 2007.


Darker than Amber (film) movie scenes

Darker than amber 1970 william smith

Plot summary

Darker than Amber (film) actionagogocomwpcontentuploads201604darker

The film is faithful to the plot of the novel. McGee and his close friend Meyer are fishing underneath a bridge when a young woman (a former prostitute named Vangie) is thrown off the bridge, weighted with a barbell around her ankles. McGee dives in and saves her, and is surprised when she insists that he not contact the police. She admits that she was nearly killed due to her involvement in a prostitution ring and a murder scheme. The trio travels to Nassau to investigate her would-be murderers, who work in male/female pairs to lure rich, lonely men traveling on cruise ships into their confidence, rob them, and then toss them overboard to drown. McGee and Meyer set out to dismantle the operation.


  • Rod Taylor as Travis McGee
  • Theodore Bikel as Meyer
  • Suzy Kendall as Vangie / Merrimay
  • Jane Russell as Alabama Tigress
  • William Smith as Terry
  • Ahna Capri (credited as Anna Capri) as Del
  • Janet MacLachlan as Noreen
  • Robert Phillips as Griff
  • James Booth as Burk
  • Oswaldo Calvo as Manuel
  • Sherry Faber as Nina
  • Marcia Knight as Landlady
  • James H. Frysinger as Dewey Powell
  • Harry A. Wood as Judson
  • Jack Nagle as Farnsworth
  • Judy Wallace as Ginny
  • Michael DeBeausset as Doctor
  • Jeff Gillen as Morgue Attendant
  • Chris Robinson as Roy
  • Production

    Other actors considered for the role of Travis McGee were Jack Lord and Robert Culp. John D. MacDonald pushed for Steve McQueen or Vic Morrow. The movie was shot on location in Florida and Nassau.

    Critical reception

    Though it did not gross well in the box office, Darker than Amber earned many positive reviews. Roger Ebert gave the film 3.5 stars out of a possible 4, writing that Taylor, somewhat playing against type by showing more warmth than his usual taciturn performances, was well-cast as McGee and that the plot managed to transcend standard detective cliches to become "a surprisingly good movie". The New York Times also gave the film reserved praise, stating that the screenplay lagged in parts despite the good material to work from (in the original novel), and that the real star of the film was its Florida setting.

    It is a cult film, due to its scarcity, and to the fact it is almost never shown on broadcast or on cable TV, and when it is, the fight scene is edited to some extent. If and when a print can be located, there are almost always missing minutes. Though many cuts of this film exist, pristine American prints seem to have disappeared years ago.

    The film played a rare theatrical screening at Anthology Film Archives in New York City, New York, on August 14, 2009.

    Box office

    The film recorded admissions of 17,351 in France.

    The film recorded a loss of $2,958,251. Producer Jack Reeves had bought the rights for another McGee novel The Deep Blue Goodbye but it was decided not to proceed with it.

    Fight scenes and rating

    Initially rated R in the United States, it later became rated PG. the film was considered graphically violent for its time, especially the fist fight scene that ends the film, between Rod Taylor's Travis Mcgee and the film's villain, Terry (played by William Smith). With the cameras rolling one actor accidentally struck the other (no one has ever revealed who struck the first real blow), the second threw a retaliatory punch, and a staged fight scene became a real fight, with real wounds, real lost teeth, and real blood all over their clothing.

    After Darker Than Amber ran its course in theaters, both Rod Taylor and William Smith would reportedly be considered for the part of Caucasian martial artist Roper in the 1973 Bruce Lee blockbuster Enter the Dragon, which would also be helmed by Darker Than Amber director Robert Clouse. The role would ultimately go to John Saxon, however.

    Darker than amber opening sequence


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