The Movie, “Black Sunday” With Its 1977 Terrorists

Long before 9/11 there was, in the fictional film Black Sunday (1977), the plot devised by Lebanese terrorists to kill thousands and thousands of Americans at the Super Bowl.

The most dedicated terrorist is Dahlia, played by Marthe Keller, whose life is spared by the Israeli agent Kabakov (Robert Shaw) during an early shootdown, but this was a mistake.  Now Dahlia has joined Bruce Dern‘s Lander, a malevolent, brainwashed Vietnam War vet, for the mass killing.  Lander is a virtual Timothy McVeigh clone.

John Frankenheimer‘s film is a political thriller, one that cares not at all about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  It cares about suspense and lethal action, and, from a novel by Thomas Harris, its writing is unmemorable but involving.  Also, the pic is technically rich (direction, cinematography, etc.)  For good measure, if it was made today in our woke era, Dahlia, though on the wrong side, would be eminently assertive and confident.  Keller’s Dahlia in 1977 could be assertive but was also rather neurotic and fretful—thus authentic.

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