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Attempts are being made on Russian defector Richard Boone's life
The script of "Deadly Harvest" was written by the experienced writer, Dan Ullman. He wrote mainly westerns in the first part of his career. This is a story of a former Russian member of the NKVD who defected to the U.S. and assumed a new identity. In his new home in a small town, he has friends, especially Michael Constantine. But he is found out and someone, unseen for most of the film, plants a bomb in his truck. He escapes the blast which kills a hippie, leaving his companion, Patty Duke, to stay with Boone for awhile. Boone is abandoned by Washington and has to deal with the continuing perils himself.
This TV-movie, made in 1972, tries hard to shake off its TV-movie origin and its hippie portion. Duke's character and lines are especially annoying and pretentious. Boone and Constantine overact in their attempts to lift the material. Some material is derivative, such as Boone's name being that of a town (as in "The Godfather") and his reference to spies as dinosaurs in contrast with the young men in suits who all look the same (see "Scorpio" in which spies Paul Scofield and Burt Lancaster use the term dinosaurs.) The action and tension are limited and there is quite a lot of talk.
Despite all of this, there is still something about this movie that draws us in. I've seen it several times. The climactic scenes are well done. Boone's well-worn face and tired aura provide another attraction, even though he has little to say. Patty Duke's character provides us with a capsule memory of that crazy era's hippies. Murray Hamilton is the sheriff and provides good support. Boone's frustration with the new guard and Washington's unwillingness, at least at first, to help him, are of interest. There is a certain aura of doom that hangs over the picture. I think the picture is mainly of interest to fans of Richard Boone and spy pictures. Boone, of course, can be seen to advantage in many fine films.
This is one of those films that is not too good by critical standards and yet still manages to be watchable.
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