HECATOMB by Bruce Palmer


Email this review


This is a brilliantly conceived melodrama though in execution it seldom rises above one of the better John Huston movies. The plot is an amalgam of incidents which mercurially resemble moments from the October Revolution, the Spanish Revolution and Castro's Revolution, all three at once. Alessandro Martin has returned to his native South American country, Costa Plata, to overthrow the not-so-wicked dictator, Vizarra. Alessandro models his revolution on Lenin's dictum for success: terror, murder and destruction. Like Lenin, he is possessed. Even Dictator Vizarra reads Alessandro's fiery novels and poems, which are published abroad, and admires them. When the revolution bursts open, Vizarro is keen enough to retaliate With Alessandro's own methods. He will fight terror with terror. The dictator orders that 100 innocent men, women and children be executed on the docks during each hour that the revolution continues. (A hecatomb was the Greek ritual of sacrificing a hundred oxen or cattle at one time.) Alessandro faces an insoluble dilemma. When British and American interests offer outside aid to the dictator, the revolution collapses, which is rather ironic. If never profound, the story is still often magnificently exciting with beautifully mocked-up characters in gun-metal Cinemascope.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster