Originally titled 13, film has a production history far more interesting than the final cut. From files, names of Julie Andrews and Kim Novak appear, latter forced out by an accident, after production started, and replaced by Deborah Kerr. Script-wise, Day of the Arrow, a Philip Loraine novel, went from Terry Southern (unbilled) to Robin Estridge, who shares screen credit with Dennis Murphy, engaged just before shooting.
The directorial montage includes Sidney J. Furie, Arthur Hiller and Michael Anderson, latter dropping out on medic’s orders, with J. Lee Thompson taking over reins.
David Niven, a vineyard manor lord, is called back to his property because of another dry season. Kerr, against his wishes, follows with their children (Suky Appleby and Robert Duncan), latter acting mysteriously at start and finish. At the gloomy ancestral home, characters include Donald Pleasence, the local ‘priest’, butler Donald Bisset, Flora Robson, Niven’s aunt who knows (and finally tells) what is going on, and Emlyn Williams, Niven’s father.
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Sharon Tate and David Hemmings loom as paper threats who speak deadpan dialog about the goings on. Kerr is our only touch with reality, and she tries to carry the pic, to little avail.