An accidental nerve gas leak by the military kills not only a rancher's livestock, but also his son. When he tries to hold the military accountable for their actions, he runs up against a wall of silence.
A former getaway driver from Chicago (George C. Scott) has retired to a peaceful life in a Portuguese fishing village. He is asked to pull off one last job, involving driving a dangerous ... See full summary »
George C. Scott,
Trish Van Devere
A detective uncovers a formula that was devised by the Nazis in WW II to make gasoline from synthetic products, thereby eliminating the necessity for oil--and oil companies. A major oil ... See full summary »
John G. Avildsen
George C. Scott,
An idealistic rookie cop joins the LAPD to make ends meet while finishing law school, and is indoctrinated by a seasoned veteran. As time goes on, he loses his ambitions and family as police work becomes his entire life.
George C. Scott,
In Wyoming, sheep rancher Dan Logan and his teenage son Chris camp out on their land. Their sheep are grazing about while the sheep dog is guarding them. An Army helicopter is seen buzzing around but shortly disappears. Dan sleeps in his tent while Chris sleeps under the stars. In the morning, Dan finds Chris convulsing, unresponsive and bleeding from the nose while his sheep are dead. Dan races to the hospital where the doctors isolate his son and test Dan for signs of illness. A young Army doctor, Major Holliford, working at the hospital as a specialist in biochemical sciences, asks Dan about Chris's symptoms. He suggests that it could be insecticide poisoning. Dan remains in the hospital as a preliminary precaution but the hospital refuses to release him or to allow him to see his son. After a week of lies and delaying tactics from the part of the hospital staff, Dan escapes and finds his son's dead body at the morgue. He vows to find out the truth and punish those responsible. Written by
Although most of the officers are wearing the Vietnam Campaign and Vietnam Service ribbons, none of them wears a patch on their right shoulder depicting the unit they served with in Vietnam. The wearing of such "combat patches" is customary in the U.S. Army. See more »
While camping out, a Wyoming sheep rancher and his son are accidentally sprayed with a secret poison. The boy dies while the military covers up its mistake, enlisting civilian personnel in the cover-up. But will the father find out, and if so, what will he do.
It's important to keep in mind that the screenplay is based on a true 1968 occurrence. The Pentagon covered up poisonous contamination of several thousand sheep in Utah, and only admitted it after overwhelming evidence. I assume they were wary of being seen experimenting with poisonous chemical at a time when the Vietnam War was going badly. The movie itself is very methodical. The first part dealing with the cover-up shows how deception is spread among medical and military professionals. Surprisingly, however, no higher justifications such as national security are cited. It's more like an embarrassment than a security breach.
Anyway, Scott really low-keys it throughout, being good-citizen cooperative even as he's fed one lie after another about his son. Even after he finds out the truth, his rage is more intense than histrionic. I guess I was expecting him to explode in the scary way that only he can. Apparently, the actor wasn't happy with his performance (TCM), blaming it on his divided roles as both director and lead performer.
All in all, the movie's like a slow fuse being lit until it finally goes off. Just how sane Logan (Scott) is during those climactic moments is, of course, anybody's guess. Considering what's happened to him, his actions are understandable, if not excusable (innocents die). At the same time, the lessons are, if anything, more relevant now than then, especially with the rise of our national security state and its mass surveillance program.
(In passingthis is one of the few films I've seen to actually portray death throes as the person expires. Kudoes to Scott for including such a disturbing detail that traditional Hollywood avoided like the plague. More of that and audiences might take a different view of movie violence.)
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