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18 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Very hard not to get caught up in.

Author: Skragg from United States
16 December 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you see this movie, you'll feel the urge to end every sentence for the next few hours with "etcetera". Anyone who's seen it knows what I mean; it's even worked into the theme song very quickly. This is one more of those stories that people probably have extreme opinions about. I can never help imagining people starting to watch it and very quickly thinking it's drivel, but still watching it 90 minutes later- not because they've necessarily changed their minds, but because there's something about it that gets you HOOKED. This is easy for me to say, since I've been very attached to it since it was just a few years old. Of course it has things going against it, some of them pretty small. The kidnappers are a mixture of comical hippies and comical, kind of late, beatniks- but that seems true of countless comedies made in around, say, 1966-67. And maybe some of the "jazzy" language didn't really fit; I don't know. It's really full of quotable lines, like the business partner (played by Milton Berle) calling a kidnapping ransom a "forced-sell situation". And one of the kidnappers glaring at the victim and saying "If it weren't for him, we wouldn't be in this mess." One thing that's easy to notice is that, quite some time before The Godfather, this film showed Mafia figures in a very down-to-earth light. In one of the great lines, Anthony Quinn is asking (though the story doesn't use this expression) his "godfather" to pay his ransom, and reminds him of the oath of loyalty they both took, an incredibly binding one, of course. The man says very pleasantly, "Life ain't like that." This would be a pretty amazing line to hear in The Godfather itself, or in a lot of later films that are thought of as "de-mystifying" that subject. It's a toss-up as to who had the best part in it, apart from Quinn himself (though Robert Walker Jr. had the closest thing to a thankless part, but he had a very good moment at the end). There was Faye Dunaway (this is evidently her first film), treating the accidental kidnapping as a way to fill up the dull day. As someone here said, she overacts and gets away with it - just look at her face in that scene where they're tearing up the living room - maybe there's no reason for such an exaggerated look, but it doesn't bother me a bit! And Michael Parks as about the most reasonable one in the group. But to me it would have to be George Maharis as "Taurus". He played the closest thing to a genuine villain in the story, but he played him as a character almost impossible not to like. Another thing is that it had a fairly downbeat ending (though more like a "back-to-the-beginning" one), without it being a dark one, let alone for the pure sake of it (which is what I don't like about, say, The Suicide Kings, a movie with a similar idea). My opinion of The Happening in general is a popular expression that says, "you have to hate it a lot not to like it a little." (But again, I'm prejudiced.)

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17 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Nostalgia may impart "The Happening" with more worth than it really had

Author: lemon_magic from Wavy Wheat, Nebraska
5 June 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I remember seeing this movie when I was quite young (10-11) and my taste in movies mostly consisted of Disney movies and "Planet Of The Apes". I went to my local movie theater to see a Disney comedy (along the lines of "The Monkey's Uncle" or some such) and stuck around for a second feature, which turned out to be 'The Happening'. Normally a young kid wouldn't be allowed to see a film with such adult themes, but no one cleared the theater between shows, so no one saw me in there. (I now think this may have been just before the MPAA rating schemes were enforced).

It was quite the eye opener. "The Happening" started out like a typical comedy caper film, with lots of surprises and plot twists, but then, to my surprise, things seemed to go sour for the protagonist and the movie became much darker. I kept waiting for some further plot twist to make everything right again so that Anthony Quinn could Live Happily Ever After. But nothing did. The ending wasn't funny or happy at all, with Quinn's character basically walking away from everything and into an uncertain future.

When the movie ended on that note, I was astounded and somewhat upset. I spent a lot of time that night thinking about what I had seen, and trying to process it. It had cast one of the very first shadows of doubt in the myth that Everything Would Be Okay Because The Hero Always Wins In The End. But it also helped me process the disconnect between the Happy Stories I always saw on the screen and the way things seemed to go in 'Real Life'.

So "The Happening" was a radical landmark film to me, and something of a turning point in my emotional maturity. That gives the movie perhaps some value that it might not possess to a more mature viewer. I've been trying to locate a copy to see how the older version of Me has changed from the naive kid, but I don't know if it will be worth it.

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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Quinn's comedy turn saves the film.

Author: theowinthrop from United States
15 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a mediocre film, but Anthony Quinn's performance raises it. Quinn usually did not play comic parts. His physical appearance was cruelly handsome, and it encouraged dramatic roles either as villains (as in his early roles) or as anti-heroes (Zampano in LAS STRADA) or as heroes (Zorba). He rarely played comedy. A typical early comedy part was in THE ROAD TO MOROCCO, where his evil sheik is a foil for Hope & Crosby, and his biggest joke is when his butt gets burned with a torch in a fire. Films like THE HAPPENING were rarities, where he was actually being funny himself.

Quinn is a former mobster in Oskar Homolka's gang, but he is now married to Martha Hyer, and partner to Milton Berle in a legitimate business. He is also wealthy. A gang of hippies led by George Maharis (including Faye Dunaway and Robert Walker Jr.), decide to kidnap Quinn for a ransom to be used for philanthropic reasons. They succeed in snatching Quinn, and he tries to get the various people in his life to pay the large ransom. But they all refuse.

What follows is like TOO MANY CROOKS and RUTHLESS PEOPLE, where the kidnapping victim goes after the person (here persons) who should pay the ransom. Using timed threats, Quinn convinces Homolka that Berle and Hyer are behind the kidnap plot, and are going to reveal mob secrets to the police if they aren't paid. He also convinces the police (Jack Kruschen) that they have done away with him and are about to flee the country. He also threatens a nervous Berle that he will tell the authorities about every crooked act that Berle was responsible for in building up their business.

But there is more to the story. Quinn discovers that the hippie Maharis is actually quite corruptible - the money is far too tempting to be wasted on philanthropy. Quinn's revenge includes a lesson for this young hypocrite too.

There are some great moments of comic energy in the film. When Hyer reveals the lack of feeling she has for Quinn, she brings up the subject of the multi-million dollar showplace mansion. She and Quinn paid an interior decorator (whom Quinn could barely stand) to do the house - and he did it in modern art. It turns out neither Hyer nor Quinn like modern art. In the last act of mutual agreement they have, they smash every bit of the decor to bits, apparently enjoying the entire explosion as though it was a great sex act! Not a brilliant comedy, or a memorable one, but it had some good points due to Quinn.

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13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Sometimes, your worst enemies can be your best friends.

Author: Razzbar from usa
20 February 2000

A rude awakening awaits a Miami gangster played by Anthony Quinn, as he is kidnapped, and then betrayed one by one by all the people he thought he could count on in life.

Quinn does a beautiful job of playing someone who suddenly realizes just where he stands in the world, and who he real friends are.

I guess this movie could be called a "dark comedy" in some regards, it nevertheless leaves you feeling good at the end as you see how masterfully Quinn's reassembles the pieces of his shattered world.

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

An action/comedy with a lot of big names but not much of a storyline

Author: rcpfau-1 from United States
6 March 2009

I worked for Marian/Polan talent agency. And I was an extra in this movie down in Miami. I had some car scenes during a chase. I met Milton Berle when I did the show girl scenes at the Fountain Blue hotel. I only met Anthony Quinn's double. I was chosen by Anthony Quinn to play the double for Faye Dunaway but my mother would not let me dye my hair blonde for the part. I am still upset over that. Working as an extra I learned that many scenes use doubles. Me at age 18.

I have the movie on tape. I thought it was quite a good action film. But it was not my favorite Anthony Quinn movie. It seemed too disjointed. I believe this was Faye Dunaway's second movie. In the same year she made Bonnie and Clyde which was a much better movie. I loved the scenery of Miami as I am a born native of Miami. The movie is a good look at Miami, the way it was before it was ruined.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Sure, it's not perfect but there's some groovy stuff here

Author: Neff-2 from Southern California
22 December 1999

Hey, the premise is pretty good: some fairly appealing but terminally bored young people kidnap a restaurateur (Anthony Quinn), and then they find that neither Quinn's wife nor his business partner partner want him back. After spending some time with the old coot Quinn, they end up feeling sorry for him, and they help him wreak vengeance on the people who have been making his life miserable all these years. The performances are a bit idiosyncratic: Michael Parks working on his James Dean thing, but with blonde hair; George Maharis trying to look like a hippie in a ducktail; Robert Walker Jr being typically odd and, of course, a very young Faye Dunaway overacting broadly and getting away with it. Some of the hijinks might seem slow and lame, but some of it is funny, and I can't vouch for others' musical taste, but I like the theme song.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

" If you have a life, make sure it's real, it could be an illusion "

Author: thinker1691 from USA
14 March 2011

Of all the films one sees, there are a select few which you start out expecting one thing and end up with something completely different. Here is one unusual movie called " The Happening " which features the magnificent talent of the late great Anthony Quinn. The story written and directed by Ronald Austin begins with a group of young lay-abouts (Michael Parks, George Maharis, Robert Walker Jr. and Faye Dunaway) who take life as it unfolds or 'happens' and thus accept their motto ' Go with the flow baby. ' As with everyday, they do nothing, plan nothing and exact the same, allowing events to just take shape. On one particular day, they stumble upon a well-to-do suburban family, enjoying their upscale social life. However, that family is governed by a powerful, but retired Mob Boss, Roc Delmonico, (Anthony Quinn) who's wife Martha Hyer) believes he is to be kidnapped and held for Ransom. What Roc discovers is that all the people in his life who he believed cared for his safety and well being, create excuses for not being able to rescue him. Thus he is left to his fate at the hands of Kidnappers. Dismayed and deeply disappointed, Roc begins to suspect he has been deluded into thinking he was an important figure, Concluding the opposite, he joins his kidnappers and plots his revenge. A kooky, but surprisingly underrated film, Quinn gives a superb performance and thus elevates a comedic movie into a Classic. Oscar Homolka and Milton Berle make brief appearances. Well recommended for anyone seeking something different. ****

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

This is one of my great "Treasure Trove" films

Author: btnaylor from United States
28 August 2011

OK, it's got Tony Quinn, who, depending on your view, either chews the scenery, or put in a GREAT performance, in every film he's in. I first saw him in "la Strada", and my theory is that, if he's good enough for Fellini, he's good enough for me. The last five minutes of Zorba the Greek" will live in my heart forever...this man had the heart of TEN men! Howver, in this movie, he had to play a relatively subdued, nuanced, role...which he handled like a Gig Young, or a Tony Randall---(i.e. perfectly)! The real treat was seeing three of the greatest young actors of the time: Faye, Michael Parks, and George Maharis, having a lot of fun playing things out. I cannot fathom why Parks and Maharis did not become major stars---Parks, in particular, was AMAZING--perhaps he was (wrongly) deemed to be a Jimmy Dean wannabe. Dunaway--who has NEVER given even a merely above-average performance (she is our "GREAT American ACTRESS!)---gave clear signs of her future greatness to be seen later in "Bonnie & Clyde", the amazing and prophetic "Network", "Chinatown" and all the fabulous work she has done. BTW, I am NOT writing as someone who has only recently first seen this film years after it was made: I saw it then, when I was 12, and was astonished by its greatness. It's very hard to find now, but I saw it again a few weeks ago in an art-house---and it STILL holds up. It's a TERRIFIC film! FIND IT. WATCH IT. A GREAT FILM. The director was a genius---he's like an Eisenstein---look at the techniques he invented--they are in EVERY film now!

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11 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Ungroovy, man

Author: John Seal from Oakland CA
18 December 1999

The Happening is one of those unfunny counterculture comedies that sprang up like so many magic mushrooms in the late sixties. In this one some hepcats and a hippie chick (Faye Dunaway in one of her first roles) kidnap super square Anthony Quinn in order to rake in the ransom from Quinn's mafia buddies (led by the always fun Oscar Homolka). Somewhere along the line Quinn takes charge of his own kidnapping and complications, if not hilarity, ensue. A perfect example of Hollywood totally misreading the teen zeitgeist of the period, The Happening also features one of the Supremes worst songs as it's title tune.

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13 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

It Ain't Happenin'

Author: ttbrowne
14 March 2002

Funny thing is I'm a child of the 60's & 70's. I remember seeing this when it was first released and I loved it! I saw it recently as an adult and it sucked the big one. Oh well. Pass on this film, It has nothing to say and just isn't funny. Unless you're 13. Put it in the same category as X Men. Good now, sucks later.

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