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Frederick Forsyth's The Shepherd


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I've just seen a trailer on YouTube showing that Disney are releasing a version of The Shepherd starring John Travolta.  It looks like a winner!!  I think a little bit of wee came out in the excitement!!!



Take care all!  Chris

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I agree, this looks good, December 1st is the streaming date.


I've been looking at the posters for this release and think someone in the production department has been busy with the image editing tools.

The Vampire has twin booms, but I can only make out one.



Edited by robc
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I watched it a couple nights ago.  Some personal observations:  I haven't read the book since I was a kid, probably 50 years ago, but from what I remember the film follows the story pretty well.  The film is a bit hampered by the short running time..character development is nearly non-existent, and the drama playing out in the vampire cockpit seems quite rushed.  I think it would have been better to spend longer building up the tension and the pilot's increasing desperation.  Special effects were so-so.  Mostly CGI, and not all that believable in spots.   I presume this was shot on a fairly limited TV budget.  The Vampire appears to be seen taxiing under its own power, and I think there are a few flying shots that used an actual flying aircraft, albeit darkened down with night backgrounds added in with CGI.  The flying shots of the Mosquito are all CGI, but the closeups of Travolta in the cockpit are obviously a real aircraft.  For being lost at night over the North Sea, the cockpit of the Vampire is very well-lit.  The obvious soundstage lighting seemed really jarring to me.  One thing that I was dreading was if Travolta would attempt a British accent.  Fortunately he doesn't..there's a throwaway line about his character being Canadian (I don't recall if that's from the book or not.)  I do think he should have shaved..I don't think an oxygen mask would work over a beard.

Anyway, overall pretty good.  Us rivet counters can find plenty to nitpick, but it captures the story pretty well.  Definitely worth a watch.


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It was OK, but I listened to the “real thing” straight after because it didn’t do it for me. The pilot’s internal monologue is critical to building up the tension and demonstrating his mood changing from nervousness to anger to frustration to resignation to his fate, and dropping that made no sense. There’s no communication except hand signals with the Mosquito pilot in the story, and  that’s quite important. And they messed with the ending in a way that completely undercut the core element of the story as originally told.

Back to Fireside Al next year…



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On 12/30/2023 at 10:51 AM, Pete F said:

It was an excellent short film. Perfect for Christmas.


I don't know how easy this is but is it possible to determine what version of Mosquito it was?

The Mosquito they  used for the cockpit shots and as a model for CGI was the MkII that is now at East Kirby (was at Elvington). 

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Not seen this one, but have seen one of two of Frederick Forsythe's novels on the big screen.


The Day of the Jackal made back in the 60's starring Edward Fox as the assassin was brilliant casting and the film had a period feel about it and kept to the book.    Unlike that abortive Bruce Willis movie  Jackal that was very loosely based on a similar theme.


I recently read one of his latest novels named Cobra where a particular operative was hired to clandestinely take down the world's drug racketeering operatives. Brilliant novel that would make a brilliant film!

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If you enjoyed Cobra, you should enjoy the book that preceded it & which features some of the some themes & characters, "Avenger" I actually thought it had a tighter plot that Cobra which ventured into the realms of convenient coincidence a bit too often, though still highly entertaining. Speaking of films based on Forsyth's books, the movie of "The Dogs of War" wasn't a patch on the book to my mind, I felt Christopher Walken as Cat Shannon was a huge miscasting.


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