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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
The critics hate this movie (Maltin included) because they can't place it in a category. It is not a serious mob film (Godfather) nor is it a comedy (Johnny Dangerously) nor is it bumbling mob dark comedy (a la the recent Bruce Willis - Matthew Perry vehicle). Rather this is a cartoon. Note the introductory cartoon credits. The opening underwater scenes (two) and closing scene (envelope construction) are absolutely unique to American filmcraft and you don't know whether to laugh or be horrified. The lead character is an Englishman, brought over by an American mob boss and who must take off his glasses to shoot and carries automatic pistols with flowers carved in the ivory grips. Is this over the top or what? The enemy hitman has a hook (due to an amputation at our hero's hands) which he replaces with a wine bottle opener, artifical flowers, pruning shears, etc. Our hero also has a much younger, beautiful girlfriend (daytime teacher - nighttime club dancer wearing a feather top) who waits for his return hoping that this time he will make her his own (see 1000 other movies with that same device). Our hero tutors the younger mob wiseguy and both their girlfriends are kidnapped and abused by Mr. Big. Okay, so some of the movie is cliche and some is esoteric. The ambush at the bridge sequence is as visually stunning as any serious mob film. The shootout at the laundry scene is as good as the same scene in The Fugitive or the ending to Terminator. The sequence where Harry is pinned down by a sniper and his boss resces him by pulling up in an armored Rolls-Royce is great as the actors have their conversation while rounds skip off the roof. This is then followed by driving down a would be bomber who carries a bundle of dynamite like Wyle E. Coyote. Being filmed in Seattle, Florida and Los Angeles you never know whether you are supposed to be in New York or Chicago or where. Look for a Confederate Battle Flag during the parade scene where Harry re-enters the crowd. Look for Burt Young (Paulie from Rocky) as an uncredited mobster escorting Harry to see Bradford Dillman. You will be watching a one-of-a-kind movie, maybe not great or even good, but a movie unlike any other. Enjoy it for what it is.
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