Joseph Furst and Richard Basehart in AND MILLIONS WILL DIE!

Chase - Posted on 09 January 2010

 just watched a movie that used to be shown on channel 9 in NY but I'm not sure if it ever was aired on regular TV. I have a feeling it was. It seems to be filmed in Australia but also made some fictional trips to Singapore and Hong Kong and probably a few other places as well. It looks like it might have filmed in the Philippines, too but who knows. The story is about an Environmental Force, mostly led by Richard Basehart as a Dr. Pruitt. He doesn't appear until the first 24 minutes are over! The movie is strange in that it is very straight forward and details a team that is not political but that deals with epidemics and/or nerve gas situations that might involved harming the environment. With alittle tweaking it might be a first season/early second season VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA episode EXCEPT that the filming outdoors is on actual locations: we really get to see a great deal of Hong Kong and possibly Singapore and Australia as well. Basehart looks old in it but he also looks respectable and wears really nice clothes (with one exception...a suit that is nice except for a great big brown patch on one side of the chest and ribs and arm! WTF?). The movie is almost a traveloque of those places and it takes its time. Visually it is a treat: lots of pretty jungles and rivers and seas and buildings and backgrounds and people all over the place. It moves in that respect. It is actually a straight forward story in that a revolutionary, an ex Nazi and a mob type man are planning something. They all die in a plane crash and their nerve gas gets released and kills a lot of people. Somehow one them contacted another man and he set loose one of many more planned time bombs that will release nerve gas that will kill 4 million people. When watching this, the plan seemed ...well, okay but it is quite insane now that I think about it. The ex Nazi wanted to hold the country at ransom should he be captured. His accomplice is a rather evil killer played by Leslie Nielson, who at one point, kidnaps Nelson...I mean Pruitt and threatens his life. There's a big fight and chase through a hotel that turns into a long chase after Leslie's character that becomes a fight. Susan Strasberg is in this too as the insane daughter of the insane nerve gas scientist ex Nazi. Basehart has a taller, younger, man who goes into the water ala Capt Crane. The Nazi is played by Joseph Furst who played in DOCTOR WHO as the crazy ruler of part of Atlantis in THE UNDERWATER MENACE. Again the movie doesn't have a lot of pace and yet it moves visually through many countries and shows them all scenically.  There is also a jazzy score that reminds me of the later IRONSIDES, mostly the one with Richard  Basehart as a put upon straight laced man. It is all very early 70s. Basehart drives a red car that  looks like KOLCHAK'S in THE NIGHT STALKER and talks to his secretary on a huge video phone! He even gets to ask her out for a late lunch, a lazy afternoon, and an early evening dinner. But before the movie can end that way, he's called onto another case in what looks like the launch for a series. Frankly it's both refreshing and startling to see two old codjers like Basehart and Nielson running through a major chase scene and trying stop each other. Basehart's character mentions no political affiliations like the Peace Corp but also mentions that the world is full of paradoxes like some people doing diets while others are starving and that some peple i SIngapore can't even use toilets or phones. It makes more sense when he tells it. There's a lot of tension in the movie as the bomb ticks away and his character does care for the people in Hong Kong and Singapore so it shows his compassion. I'ts a strange movie and of it's time and I"m not sure what a series would have been like. The villains and their plan take up a lot of the running time, Basehart is really the only one who is likable and has a real personality here (although his secetary seems to, too and she uses a computer to compute his chances of success but he prefers to send in a man instead of a computer to get the job done). His Australian aide might have been a good character but he's in so few of the sequences. There is also a gunfight in the jungle with little or rather NO blood, thank goodness, as the team try to recover the crashed plane in a rev war zone near the border of Singapore and what isn't stated as China but might be ? In any event it was something I couldn't stop watching so it must have something that kept me watching. I"m just not sure what yet! Basehart as always might be the answer as he's pretty good. One curious part had the team looking at a rat or mouse in their own cage test getting killed by the nerve gas. I'm still not sure why they did that? THey knew it was a killer gas. It is most disturbing that scene. I'll let you know if I have the stomach to watch AQARIANS, an Ivan Tors (FLIPPER and other sea sagas) film pilot with Richardo Montablan as the head of a team of undersea experts. I think there might be nerve gas involved i this, too.                

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