CANNON MONTH: Sahara (1983)

What gets this movie made?

Could it be that British Prime Minister’s son Mark Thatcher got lost in North Africa during an auto rally? Maybe the idea that Brooke Shields could be the next Indiana Jones? Or did Menahem Golan love The Sheik so much that he’d pay for this and Bolero?

That meant bringing in Brooke’s manager mother — momager — Teri, who would say, “I don’t want anyone looking at her like a woman yet. It’s not time.” She also asked for eight rewrites and two directors — John Guillermin was one — quit before the cameras rolled.

As for Menahem, he said, “Brooke is the most beautiful creature on earth She is the genie of the desert and Lambert (Wilson, who plays her love interest) is a wildman, but educated. He wants to rape her, but he controls himself. We are not afraid here of clichés. I want a beautiful romantic blockbuster where all American kids will identify.”

Yes, American kids identify with sexual assault.

With costumes by Valentino and no expense spared, this didn’t really it the screens. It just kind of made its way two months late — and only west of the Mississippi — after poor previews.

Gordon (Steve Forrest, Mommie Dearest) has created a new racing vehicle for the Trans-African Auto Race but dies before he can enter. His daughter Dale (Shields) disguises herself as a man — I mean, as much as she can — and enters the race as her father with the help of his friends.

So yes, to get Brooke Shields in a Cannon movie, one that she’d dress like a man and not be the sexy Brooke audiences wanted for the entire movie, cost Cannon $1.5 million just to get her in the film. Her mom got $250,000 to be an executive producer.

Menahem had written the original script and wanted to direct it, but Teri claimed that it had “too many rape scenes and too much gore.” As it was, Menahem kept overruling director Andrew McLaglen and tried to direct the movie. This led to an accident where Golan pushed Brooke to drive a convertible faster and faster. The car flipped, launching him, her and a cameraman from the vehicle. No one was seriously hurt, but that’s an example of how nuts this movie was to make.

But hey — it has a score by Morricone!

So many of the movies this month were researched with the help of Austin Trunik’s The Cannon Film Guide Volume 1: 1980-1984. You need to buy this book.

You can listen to The Cannon Canon episode about Sahara here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.