UK / 1985 / Handmade
Director: Dick Clement
Writers: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais, Bill Bersky
Cast: Michael Caine, Brenda Vaccaro, Leonard Rossiter, Valerie Perrine, Jimmie Walker, Billy Connolly, Dennis Dugan, Ringo Starr, George Harrison
Michael Caine plays the laid-back governor of a Caribbean island colony in Dick Clement’s fresh and enjoyable British comedy. Caine already has problems dealing with his turbulent Latin American wife Brenda Vaccaro, who wants a posting to somewhere more lively, and a further thorn in his side is local rebel leader Billy Connolly, who has sworn to communicate only in song while the islands remain under British colonial rule. But when Connolly tries to win Cuban support for his cause, Whitehall wakes up to the colony’s potential and diplomat Leonard Rossiter (in his last screen role) is dispatched to Cascara to inform Caine that the island has to be abandoned and its inhabitants evacuated within three weeks.
Comic complications escalate when mineral water of a superb quality is discovered on the island and Rossiter secretly encourages the rebels so that British intervention, Falklands-style, can be arranged. And Caine ends up at the centre of a raging political storm as Cascara is invaded by tourists, the media, idealistic ‘environmental activist’ Valerie Perrine, Cuban advisers, British and American commandos and a German-led band of mercenaries who have been hired by French interests to destroy the competition to Perrier. As the island becomes the focus of world media attention, Connolly decides to take his message to the UN and his ‘concert for Cascara’, featuring George Harrison (one of the film’s two executive producers), Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr, is a huge success. The island wins its freedom but French bombs destroy the water supply and the future looks bleak…