by Douglas Messerli
Based partly on the factual 1966 loss by the American Force of 4 hydrogen bombs while flying over Palomares, Spain, the “McGuffin” of the film is a similar loss of two atomic bombs and a nearly impregnable metal box containing something so noxious that we are not even told what it is. The pilot and navigator of the plane (Colin Blakely and Tom Courtenay) drop their load this time on the nearly uninhabited Greek island of Karos before themselves parachuting from the plane and swimming ashore now, somewhat inexplicably, dressed only in their skivvies. And a special American force, headed by a Greek-speaking Mr. Elias (Sam Wanamaker) is quickly transported to the island to seek out the deadly missiles and the mysterious metal box. As Milne’s review, quoted above, suggests, the film ends with the death of the fish in the surrounding waters and the likely destruction of all living in and visiting the island’s small village.