DARKER THAN AMBER (director: Robert Clouse; screenwriter: Ed Waters/novel by John D. McDonald; cinematographer: Frank V. Phillips ; editor: Fred Chulack; music: John Parker; cast: Rod Taylor  (Travis McGee), Theodore Bikel  (Meyer), Suzy Kendall  (Vangie / Merrimay), Anna Capri (Del), William Smith (Terry), Robert Phillips (Griff), Jane Russell (Alabama Tigress), Janet MacLachlan (Noreen, black maid), James Booth (Burl); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Walter Seltzer ; National General Pictures; 1970)

"Jane Russell's penultimate movie."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Robert Clouse ("Gymkata"/"Enter the Dragon") directs the glossy thriller from the crime novel by John D. McDonald and screenplay by Ed Waters. It was lushly filmed on Caribbean and Miami locations. This was Jane Russell's penultimate movie. A winning performance by Rod Taylor makes things enjoyable and easier to overlook the plot holes.

Florida private eye Travis McGee (Rod Taylor) and his cohort Meyer (Theodore Bikel) while fishing from Travis's houseboat rescue in Fort Lauderdale the beautiful Vangie (Suzy Kendall) from drowning, after she's thrown over a bridge. Vangie is a target of her former confidence ring sadist crime partners (William Smith and  Robert Phillips), and is subsequently murdered by being pushed into traffic by them. To trap the killers, a lookalike (also played by Kendall) is hired by the PI as bait on a cruise to Nassau.

It's routine on all fronts, but has its exciting moments and graphic violent fight scenes.

REVIEWED ON 6/21/2016       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"