Two escapees (Robert Shaw and Malcolm McDowell) are on the run in an unspecified but seemingly Latin-American country. Everywhere they go they are observed and hounded by a menacing black ...
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Two escapees (Robert Shaw and Malcolm McDowell) are on the run in an unspecified but seemingly Latin-American country. Everywhere they go they are observed and hounded by a menacing black helicopter. Written by
Jonathon Dabell <BC602070@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>
This project was in the works for a long time before the film finally emerged. There were various changes of cast and director, and many writers, including James Mitchell and Stanley Mann, produced drafts of the script before Robert Shaw, who was also a novelist, agreed to do a final rewrite immediately before shooting was due to begin. Although he assured Joseph Losey that he would finish it before the first day of shooting, he did not, in fact, complete it until the end of filming, with changes being seemingly made almost every day. The film was a box-office failure and was mostly shown in Britain in a heavily-cut version, although television showings have been complete. See more »
Music by Julián Palanca See more »
Rugged maniacal brute MacConnachie (a fabulously ferocious and galvanizing performance by Robert Shaw) and wimpy intellectual Ansell (a sound portrayal by Malcom McDowell) are a couple of escaped fugitives who are on the run in some unspecified foreign country. The pair find themselves being relentlessly pursued by an ominous black helicopter.
Director Joseph Losey makes excellent and inspired use of the harsh, sprawling, and desolate countryside. Shaw's stark and intriguing script eschews pretense and exposition in favor of stripping down the premise to its mean'n'lean existential essentials whereby the plot basically becomes a gritty meditation on survival and the ruthless extremes people will resort to in order to stay alive in a hostile and pitiless world. Shaw and McDowell play off each other exceptionally well as a couple of radically contrasting fellows who are forced to depend on each other so they can persevere through a grueling ordeal that's beyond their control or understanding. Several scenes involving close calls with the helicopter register as quite dangerous and hence are positively harrowing to watch. The striking widescreen cinematography by Guy Tabary, Henri Alekan, and Peter Suschitzky offers a wealth of breathtaking aerial shots. Recommended viewing.
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