Rod Taylor plays an former naval commander, Bill Anderson, in this Spanish film that's also
known as "Hot Spot."
Bill Anderson is a retired American boat captain living on his
sailboat in Marbella, a resort town on
the southern coast of Spain. It's a hot spot -- a hideaway for the rich and
famous and a popular vacation destination for English tourists.
One night, Anderson (who is called "Commander" by all who know
him) spots a woman go overboard on a nearby yacht. He dives in and rescues her, but
then the owner of the yacht deliberately smashes into Anderson's sailboat.
The damsel in distress is Deborah, played by Swedish actress Britt Elkand.
Deborah is the former mistress of a decadent, evil tycoon, Patrick Arnel -- the
guy who rammed Anderson's sailboat. She jumped ship trying to get away from him.
Anderson and Deborah conspire to get even by plundering the tycoon's fortune.
They enlist the help of the local police inspector and a trio of unlikely conspirators to pull off the
heist: a counterfeiter, Germán/Herman (played by Fernando Fernán Gómez), a pickpocket
, Juan/John (Francisco Rabal), and an actor, Mario (Óscar Ladoire).
Of course, treachery and buffoonery ensue.
There's romance too. Rod and Britt quickly become an item. Then,
55-year-old Rod also romances Mirian (Emma Suárez), the 18-year-old daughter the
daughter of Germán.
The highlights of this film are the beautiful scenery and Rod's mah-velous
array of resort wear. Be prepared for lots of bare breasts and a cheesy '80s
soundtrack. Your mileage may vary.
The only commercial home video release of "Marbella" was on VHS.
Here's the whole movie, converted and uploaded to Vimeo:
A STRAY CAT'S STORIES
A glimpse into the making of "Marbella" comes from an unusual
source -- a book titled "A
Stray Cat Struts: My Life as a Rockabilly Rebel." It's the
autobiography of musician James McDonnell, aka Slim Jim Phantom, the
drummer for the Stray Cats.
He was also Britt Ekland's husband from 1984-92, and he includes
in his book a full chapter about being on location with her in
Marbella. Among his own adventures in that lush setting, he also
shares behind-the-scenes observations and tells stories of carousing
with Rod Taylor.
"He and I got along right away," Jim writes. "I don't think he
knew any rock and roll bands from the past 20 years, but we talked
about a bunch of things, and he had met James Dean, so I had plenty
to ask about."
There was also quite a bit of boozing. The two couples -- Jim and
Britt and Rod and his wife, Carol -- would often have dinner
together. Then the ladies would retire and the guys would stay out
and close down the nightclubs. Jim was impressed by Rod's stamina:
Mr. Taylor was back at the set at 8 a.m.
every morning and kept going all the way through. ... He sat in
his makeshift dressing room on the dock and drank local red wine
nonstop. When it was time for his scene, he snapped to it and
delivered his lines in a professional manner, and when the
director called cut, he tuned out again. I've seen certain guys
who could turn it on and off, but he was the best.
The action in "Marbella" was filmed along the docks and aboard
boats at a marina. Jim observed that "everything was loud and
slightly chaotic but functioned well."
That is, until it started to rain.
A few wet days caused the crew's nerves to fray and had
the producer cursing the heavens, but "Britt and Rod continued to
turn up, be ready and sit in their respective dressing rooms," Jim
During these rainy days, Jim said he would "bounce around the set
between the dressing rooms and hang out and drink with Rod while he
told me stories about Hollywood in the 1950s and working with
Hitchcock. A few times, we would just go to one of the pubs along
the waterfront and someone would come to get him if there was a
break in the rain."
Jim also tells a lengthy story about a sumptuous dinner at a
restaurant owned by a friend of Rod's -- a former boxer from
"Rod was naturally a blustery guy, and when he got together with
his boxer buddy, they shadowboxed each other, roughhoused, and were
really loud an animated," Jim wrote. He noted, however, that "Rod
Taylor was a world-traveled gentlemen and movie star who boxed a
little and liked the sport and liked to drink." Jim had less kind
things to say about their host, who stuck Rod with the check.
It was an ill feeling that lingered even when the couples got
together back in Los Angeles. "We always talked about the
boxer who freeloaded at his own restaurant," Jim wrote, "and Rod
seemed like he was still mad about it."
Another reason for Rod to be mad was mentioned in Stephen Vagg's
biography "Rod Taylor: An
Aussie in Hollywood." Nevertheless, Rod seemed to take it in
stride: "Rod says the film's director [Miguel Hermoso] and producer
[José Frade] had a massive fight with each other during filming, so
he worked for two weeks for free to help them out."