Desert Heat

by Randy Fuller Sep 25, 2021

1962 found Great Britain and West Germany collaborating on an action picture, Station Six Sahara.  The movie is a remake of 1938’s S.O.S. Sahara.  Carroll Baker plays a beautiful woman who turns up at a tiny oil pipeline station in the desert.  She and her husband just happen to be driving along, three days from anywhere, when he crashes the car.  Wrong turn?  “Shoulda made a left at Albakoykee.”

His attempt at killing both of them lands him in the sick bay, where he can only imagine what his estranged bombshell wife is doing with the five men who work there.  They leer at her the way the cartoon wolf saw sheep as mutton, and she leers back.  The film’s sexual heat is as real as that of the desert, which surprised at least one critic, since the British were involved.

The movie was shot in Libya, which provided some problems for actress Baker.  That country had no provision for a sexpot wandering around in her bra.  Martin Scorsese was fond enough of the film to include it in a list of a couple dozen faves.

For this arid movie, let’s look to Orin Swift and his 8 Years in the Desert wine.  It’s a $50 blend of Zinfandel, Syrah and Petite Sirah which – oddly enough – spent eight months in the barrel.  Of course, in S.O.S. Sahara, three days in the desert was too long.

The desert could hardly seem more inhospitable than in the Australian 2015 film Mad Max: Fury Road, the fourth film in the string of Mad Max movies.  To describe the scenario merely as post-apocalyptic makes it seem like less than it is, like it’s just an unusually hot day.  It is oppressive just to think about the unrelenting bleakness of a life in which water and gasoline are the only concerns.  Thankfully, we get to worry about water, gasoline and why that guy isn’t masked up.

Charlize Theron brings a feminist touch to the Mad Max series, as an able replacement for the male kingpins of past episodes.  This movie garnered some critical praise and a heap of Oscar noms – ten, winning six.

Certainly, an Australian wine is proper here – even though there is a German Riesling which inexplicably bears the name Mad Max.  Penfolds is the choice, their Max’s Shiraz sells for just $25.  By the way, it’s a nod to winemaker Max Schubert, not the movie series.

The Professionals, in 1966, assembled an all-star cast for the story of what is basically a mob hit in the old west.  Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan, Jack Palance, Ralph Bellamy and Claudia Cardinale should require more than one movie screen for all that acting talent.

The story revolves around a group of men – all trained in various ways of killing – who are hired by an American to rescue his kidnapped wife in Mexico.  Guess what, though?  She’s not kidnapped – she ran off with a bandit.

Some of the filming took place in Nevada, and there’s a wine for that.  The Pahrump Valley Winery bills itself as Nevada’s Winery in the Desert.  Their Vinho Doce Port-style wine is barrel-aged and serves as a great wine to pair with some Mexican chocolate.

Randy Fuller
NowAnd Zin Wine –
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