Once Before I Die (1966)

Once Before I Die (1966)

“We should be able to do everything — to see everything in this beautiful world — at least once, shouldn’t we? That’s right, isn’t it?”

When a beautiful young Swiss woman (Ursula Andress) flees through the jungles of the Philippines with her lover (John Derek) after the attack on Pearl Harbor, she watches a sadistic lieutenant (Richard Jaeckel) become increasingly invested in killing the Japanese, and befriends a young virgin (Ron Ely) hoping for a sexual experience before he dies.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Refugees
  • Richard Jaeckel Films
  • Ursula Andress Films
  • World War II

Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary writes, “John Derek directed and starred with his onetime wife Ursula Andress in this peculiar WWII action drama,” a “bleak and brutal” film in which it’s “hard to tell what’s going on at times.” He points out that at least “Andress (more sensitive and vulnerable than usual) is always watchable”:

… “Richard Jaeckel is perfectly cast as a bald, psychopathic soldier”:

… “and, surprisingly, Derek’s direction (so awful in his films with Bo) is often interesting, particularly when using superimposures and freeze frames.”

Indeed, in his debut film, Derek seems to be having plenty of creative fun with all sorts of cinematic tricks, making this a visually intriguing outing above all else.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Creative direction

Must See?
No, though it’s actually worth a one time look.


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