More Lost Films

Jun.12, 2020, filed under rambling


As the internet gradually catches up with obscure facts and more people take time to add their random knowledge to the global database of information, previously futile searches sometimes become fruitful. Thus progresses my search for lost films missing since either my childhood or (more usually, given the presence of a Blockbuster on the corner round from our house) my university rental days.

A good few years ago, I wasted a good chunk of my life searching for a film I knew I’d seen, but which no one believed existed. The film ends up with some American flyboys convincing some upstanding English airmen to build aeroplanes out of tractors and stick it to the Nazis with them. Google variously returned Memphis Belle (NOPE) or Biggles (STILL NOPE), and I’d give up for a few months before coming back to it.

Then, back in 2008, I found it. In the UK, it was called Sky Bandits, although elsewhere it went by the name Gunbus.

Scratch that off the list.

There was another film on my list of “films I have seen no one else seems to have.” This one starred Michael York and it was set in the Sahara, and involved an English explorer/diplomat type discovering a lost tribe, eventually being made blind, and the tears of the priestess restored his sight in time for him to find out there was an alien spaceship in their cave system. I was pretty sure it was late 80s and also starred Simon MacCorkindale.

It was that last point that threw me.

Today, I discovered the internet has caught up with my search for this particular film. It was The Secret of the Sahara, and while Simon MacCorkindale wasn’t in it (and doesn’t deserve the bad rap for Manimal, incidentally, which was a child of its time and appreciated by those of us who were of an age to do so), Ben Kingsley and David Soul were.

I’ve tracked down a copy of it on DVD and it shall be winging its way to me presently. No doubt it will not be as good as I remember, but anything that has stuck with me for that long has got to be worth a punt.

Next up, to see if can I track down a couple of Robert Powell films that I think were called Harlequin and The Survivor, the first of which was a retelling of the relationship between Rasputin and Tsarina Alexandra, and the latter of which was an adaptation of — maybe? — a James Herbert novel…

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