Despite the fact that Day of the Wolves (1971) was originally produced for television, it still ends up as one bad ass little heist film. Seven hoods are summoned anonymously to a remote, undisclosed location. They are instructed not to talk and not to ask questions. They are assigned numbers rather than using their own names and are told not to divulge any personal information about themselves. They train with machine guns in an abandoned desert settlement, and after a week to set out to rob the entire town of "Wellerton!"
This movie boasts no extreme violence or overt sexual themes. It's just badass criminals doing their thing! The film stars Richard Egan as the town's newly disposed sheriff who instinctively takes up arms against the criminals in spite of the fact that the town's council forced him out of office only days before. The mastermind of the plot is played by Jan Murray. There's too much trivia concerning this film to cover here, but it's important to note that this movie was a staple for late night television in the U.S. throughout the 1970s. It had theatrical releases in parts of Europe and in the UK. Despite its limited exposure, the film has garnered enough of a cult following that filmmaker Gregg Quinn is currently producing a documentary about the making of Day of the Wolves, which was the first motion picture to be shot in the new city of Lake Havasu, Arizona.
Two things this film has going for it: First, because it was made independently by a mostly "green" crew, it's production values are classical to most exploitation films, i.e. editing blips, dialog with no sound, etc. (you may, or may not be a fan of this, but in some ways it can improve an older film's authenticity...think Tarantino/Rodriquez's Grindhouse). In addition, the score was composed by Sean Bonniwell, founder of the rock group The Music Machine. The music is great and seems to give the film an edge that it otherwise would not have as with similar made-for-TV movies. The action is well paced, and all of the actors are convincing as tough guys. The film also delivers a creative surprise ending. If you like exciting heist films, you'll definitely join the cult on this one.
Reviewed by Texploited March 2010