118 minutes – Drama
Festival release date: August 22, 1981 (Montreal World Film Festival)
Release date US: November 13, 1983
VHS release date: 1989
Distributor: Magnum Entertainment
The title of this film is taken from John Donne’s Holy Sonnets # 10 which is sometimes titled Death, Be Not Proud. Despite some promise in the concept there is not much in this film to be proud of either. The story centers on Patrick McGoohan who appears as John Kingsley, an abrasive but popular radio talk show host. While he is on the air, his family is taken captive by terrorists and so, in a way, is he when they invade his studio. To save his family he is forced to play the part of host to a bizarre trial. And so we have Kingsley and desperate men. The terrorists he confronts wish to debate the plight of one of their comrades imprisoned for manslaughter, live on the airwaves. And the listening audience must decide the verdict as an elite special force mounts a rescue operation to save the hostages. While this sounds like pretty exciting stuff, the film falls flat in many areas. Patrick McGoohan, confined to a small space like a radio studio, is totally over the top in this film. Filmed in Montreal, there were rumors at the time that the director had not shot enough footage and the film languished for months and months because it could not be effectively edited into a cohesive story. When it was ultimately released that seemed to be the case and the film suffers because of the editing, and by extension, poor direction. Of note is the fact that the wife of Patrick McGoohan’s character is played by Margaret Trudeau, but there is little of her on screen.