Elderly mobster Edmond O'Brien hires a hit man to eliminate his rival. There are albino alligators, skillful chase scenes, and Chuck Connors as a one-handed psycho who can fit various deadly weapons on his stumpy arm. Written by
Oddball take on the gangster movie courtesy of screenwriter Robert Dillon and director John Frankenheimer. Richard Harris is Harry Crown, a killer in the employ of mob boss Frank Kelly (Edmond O'Brien). Frank hires Harry to rub out Frank's chief rival, Big Eddie (Bradford Dillman), but Big Eddie ups the stakes by kidnapping Harry's new lady friend Buffy, played by Harris's real-life wife Ann Turkel. It takes place in a slightly futuristic milieu, and the fact that it's intended to be a satire and is never exactly taking itself that seriously is its main appeal, with the cartoon opening credits establishing the tone early on. It comes up with some effective images along the way, like the scores of corpses wearing cement shoes that have been dumped into the ocean (accompanied by Harris's narration) and the sight of actual alligators in the sewers. There's also the rousing music score by Henry Mancini to add to the fun factor. The problem is that the movie just doesn't have a whole lot of energy; it falls flat a lot of the time. It plods a little too much and seems longer than it is. In any event, the cast certainly gives it 100 (as opposed to 99 and 44/100) percent, with a droll Harris in the lead, and highly amusing performances by O'Brien and Dillman. Turkel, Janice Heiden as Clara, and Kathrine Baumann as Baby all provide the movie with appreciable eye candy. In fact, Baumann figures in what is one of the better sequences in the movie when Harry is working to prevent a bomb from going off; the sequence has fine tension. A good unlikely chase sequence involves a school bus, but one of the most enjoyable elements is seeing Harry take on Big Eddie's enforcer, Marvin "Claw" Zuckerman, played to the hilt by the wonderful Chuck Connors, so named because he puts claws, guns, and other implements on the end of his arm where Harry had hacked off the real deal some time ago. This could and should have been more fun overall, but it does have its moments. Fans of the actors should be satisfied. Six out of 10.
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