A group of six thieves selected from different areas are sent a letter that promises them a minimum of $50,000 and includes a plane ticket. The letter instructs them to grow a beard. After being given a blindfolded ride from the airport, they arrive at a ghost town and meet with the boss (Number #1, Jan Murray). All of the “Wolves” are assigned a number, wear identical overalls, and are instructed never to take off the gloves that they are given. They are only to address each other by their numbers; in that way, if one is caught, he can’t rat-out the others. Number #1 reveals to them that they will take over a town, and clean it out. Using the ghost town for training, they develop their tactics to fleece the town.
1971 heist movie starring Richard Egan and directed, written and produced by Ferde Grofe Jr. the son of the renowned composer who had previously worked in the Philippine film industry. It was the first movie to be made on location in the new town of Lake Havasu City, Arizona. This was the last feature film made by actress Martha Hyer and was also the last film made by actor Percy Helton who died about five months after filming wrapped (Helton’s last released film was Legend of the Northwest, released in 1978 but made in the 1960s and shelved for a decade).
Director: Ferde Grofé Jr.
Cast: Richard Egan, Martha Hyer, Rick Jason
Reviews of The Day of the Wolves often cite the similarity of the basic storyline of the film with Quentin Tarantino’s debut movie Reservoir Dogs. In both stories, the criminals are anonymized by the gang leader to prevent repercussions should any one of them get caught: in The Day of the Wolves the criminals wear beards and are identified by numbers, and in Reservoir Dogs they are identified by the names of colors. However, Tarantino is equally likely to have drawn inspiration from another cult movie, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, in which the criminals are also identified by the names of colors.
The Day of the Wolves was the first film for most of the film crew; several of those went on to achieve notable success in the Hollywood film industry:
Peter MacGregor-Scott … Production Manager, incorrectly listed as Assistant Director in the credits, MacGregor-Scott went on to produce many major US films, including the Cheech and Chong movies, The Fugitive, Batman Forever, and, most recently, The Guardian.
Ric Waite … Emmy award-winning cinematographer who worked on many of the most successful films of the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. He collaborated with Walter Hill on several films, including The Long Riders and 48 Hrs.
Calmar Roberts … Assistant Cameraman, became the principal cameraman on many major motion pictures, including the Lethal Weapon movies, Jurassic Park, and Basic Instinct.
Mike Scott … Grip. Went on to become Camera Operator on many feature films including Die Hard, Speed, Speed 2, and Thelma & Louise.
First film for cinematographer Ric Waite.
The production was a non-union shoot and used a mixture of professional and local amateur actors and crew. Most of the crew credited in the movie were local Havasu people.
The first scenes in the movie of Smokey Roberds, Hank Cappa and Andre Marquis pulling robberies were needed in order to bring the movie up the required running time, and were shot last.
The movie was shown theatrically in some locations in the United States, but played mostly as an in-flight movie, and later on TV.
Final film of Percy Helton.
The only one of Ferde Grofé Jr.’s feature films to be shot on US territory; the others were shot at various locations in the Philippines, South America and other parts of the world
The use of incendiary devices for the explosion scenes at Swansea mining town caused the buildings to catch fire.
The movie was shot entirely on location, no sets were constructed.
France: Le jour des loups
Romania: Ziua lupilor
Spain: El día de los lobos
Sweden: 7 djävulska män
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