Harry is a married writer who has an affair with a woman whose husband knows that she is unfaithful. As a result of his work, Harry has trouble distinguishing between fantasy and reality ... See full summary »
Lt. Commander Finchhaven, a ghostly relic from the First World War, he had fallen down dead drunk on his first assignment and been consigned from the great beyond to sail the seas until a ... See full summary »
In the poor, desolate northern provinces of the mountainous feudal Sunni kingdom of Afghanistan (before the Soviet-engineered republican revolutions), the status of the proud men and their ... See full summary »
David Raybourne is an American journalist covering political news in Italy during the 1970's. He is involved with the Red Brigades when trying to help a friend (Alison King), who ... See full summary »
A cop is gunned down on Xmas eve. Jerry Beck, the homicide cop given the job of hunting the killer, investigates some leads which bring him into contact with a group of white supremacy ... See full summary »
Penelope Ann Miller,
Abner Procane, top Los Angeles burglar, finds that somebody stole his plans for his next ambitious heist. He hires Raymond St. Ives, crime books writer, to negotiate the return of those ... See full summary »
J. Lee Thompson
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
Robert Dillon's script was considered by producer Joe Wizan to be a black comedy along the lines of Dillon's earlier one for "Prime Cut" (1972: d. Michael Ritchie). Director Frankenheimer, on returning to the USA after much time in France, was faced with a situation wherein years of bad reviews of his films were taking their toll. He accepted this project, and wanted Robert Mitchum for the main role, but the producers wanted Richard Harris, fresh from the hit film "A Man Called Horse".
Critically however, the released film was felt to be a total fiasco, many reviewers holding that it represented the director's career at rock bottom. The film's dark, bleak humour and use of caricature were considered testimony to a certain sadism on Frankenheimer's part, and evidence of his growing contempt. In later years, even the great director plays down this most unusual gangster satire.
It concerns a hitman trapped between rival gangs, and takes place in a vaguely futuristic city, which seems spatially to constantly re-define itself. It is filmed obliquely, so one is never on sure footing as to how to react. What is most interesting about this peculiarity, are the number of bizarre, surrealistic pop-culture set-pieces in a world of futile violence and rampant egos. Only despair and nihilism at the absurdity of it all enables the characters to hold on to whatever shreds of honour they can maintain although they all succumb to personal pride at the expense of everything else.
Frankenheimer directs with a stylistic over-kill at times which sits uneasily with a certain lethargic quality, although it probably guarantees the film a cult audience in the future. Perhaps the film is best seen as a failed, but intriguing attempt to reconcile the director's frequent recourse to stylization with genre-based social satire. Still, the film seems uncertain of its aims, and tends to flounder in its often considerable visual panache. The remarkable opening sequence however, is amongst the oddest ever put to film, and typifies the film's sense of comic despair. A curio.
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