Director Mario Siciliano
Music by Gianni Marchetti
Initial release 20 March 1969 (Italy)
Music director Gianni Marchetti
Produced by Mario Siciliano
Cinematography Gino Santini
Director Mario Siciliano
Story by Piero Regnoli
|Written by Piero Regnoli (novel)August Rieger|
Starring Ivan RassimovSieghardt RuppKirk MorrisSerge NubretDale CummingsPamela Tudor
Screenplay Piero Regnoli, August Rieger
Cast Ivan Rassimov, Kirk Morris, Sieghardt Rupp, Serge Nubret, Pamela Tudor
Similar The Eternal Sea, 36 hours to Hell, The Proud and Damned, Tecumseh The Last Warrior, Gone to Texas
Sette baschi rossi also known as The Red Berets, Seven Red Berets and Congo Hell is a 1969 Italian/West German co-production about a fictional group of mercenaries filmed in Ethiopia produced and directed by screenwriter Mario Siciliano (often credited as "Marlon Sirko") in his debut as a director. Siciliano was born in Rome in 1925, and died in Rome in 1987 at the age of 62. He was known for directing mostly action/ adventure films and spaghetti westerns.
Several of the action set pieces of the film were reused in Siciliano's 1978 Scorticateli vivi/Skin 'em Alive. It was based on the novel Rebellion by Dean Craig AKA Piero Regnoli. Like Dark of the Sun the film also features a train sequence.
Set during the Simba Rebellion in the Belgian Congo, the film begins with a quote from Martin Luther King, the spearing executions of a group of captured mercenaries and the pack rape of a French female journalist (Angelica Ott). At Mercenary Central an angry Colonel (Arthur Brauss) rebukes the only survivor of the incident, the German Captain Brandt (Sieghardt Rupp). Brandt has left important documents in the Simba village that contains information on the activities and employers of the mercenaries. The documents must be retrieved within four days. Brandt says he can recover the papers and rescue the captured journalist with a small patrol. The Colonel agrees, but the patrol is to be led by the African-American Captain Loriwood that antagonises Brandt as the Colonel informs Brandt that his record of performance clearly shows he is incapable of leadership.
His Sergeant (Kirk Morris) selects three men; a German (Gino Marturano who also acted as the film's armourer and stunt director), a black African (Wilfred Gurley) and an Irishman (Dale Cummings). As the patrol is unfamiliar with a swamp and desert they have to cross, Captain Loriwood recruits a French gunrunner called Caret (Ivan Rassimov) for the fee of $15,000. Caret is familiar with the area as he has sold weapons to the Simbas. Caret became a weapons salesman after witnessing the torture of his wife who was burned and beaten to death in front of him. He became further alienated when the French government did not want to antagonise the local situation by seeking their prosecution. Loriwood also takes along a mercenary female doctor (Pamela Tudor).