The story of how an Air France jet set to fly from Tel-Aviv, Israel to Paris, France was hijacked in 1976 and flown to Uganda has been a surprisingly fertile subject for film and television producers. This week another version of the tale opens in theaters. This work is entitled “7 Days in Entebbe” and stars Rosamund Pike and Daniel Bruhl. Will the new film, which opens March 16, bring more awards to this often told story?
Pike and Bruhl are both familiar to awards voters. Pike received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for “Gone Girl” (2014) and Bruhl competed for a Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe and other awards for “Rush” the year before. While early reviews seem somewhat mixed on the quality of this particular version, previous attempts to tell the story have resulted in high awards recognition.
In 2006 Forest Whitaker won the Best Actor Oscar as Idi Amin, the dictator of Uganda who sheltered the terrorists and allowed the hostages to be held in his country. While Whitaker’s film “The Last King of Scotland” didn’t focus solely on the Entebbe incident, two television movies were made in 1976 that featured highly regarded casts and strangely both of the telefilms received Emmy nominations for Best Writing in a Special Program Drama or Comedy.
The more respected of the TV movies was “Raid on Entebbe” which received 10 total Emmy nominations including one for Yaphet Kotto as Idi Amin and one for Peter Finch in his final performance. Finch had won the Oscar posthumously for “Network” the same year and received a posthumous Emmy nomination for this TV movie. The cast also featured such diverse talent as James Woods, Charles Bronson and a young Kim Richards who would go on to stardom as one of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”
The less-praised though more star-studded take was called “Victory at Entebbe” and was shot quickly on videotape. That cast included the likes of Anthony Hopkins, Helen Hayes, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Richard Dreyfuss, Linda Blair and even Elizabeth Taylor in a brief cameo role.
Whether the latest version “7 Days in Entebbe” will figure at all in future kudos remains to be seen, but be assured Gold Derby will keep readers posted should this innately dramatic story once again produce any award caliber work.