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The Outfit (1973)

 -  Crime | Thriller | Drama  -  October 1973 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,695 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 26 critic

When the small criminal Macklin is released from prison, he learns that his brother was shot by two mob killers. He didn't know that the bank he robbed was owned by the syndicate. When he's... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Jack Cody
...
Mailer
...
Jake Menner
...
Kimmie Cherney
...
Buck's Wife
Felice Orlandi ...
Frank Orlandi
...
Madge Coyle
...
Alma Macklin
...
Doctor
...
Rita Mailer
...
Hit Man
...
Carl (as Elisha Cook)
Bill McKinney ...
Buck Cherney
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Storyline

When the small criminal Macklin is released from prison, he learns that his brother was shot by two mob killers. He didn't know that the bank he robbed was owned by the syndicate. When he's almost offed by a killer too, he pays the mobster Jake Menner a visit and demands reparation. His friend Cody helps him to gratify his thirst for revenge. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Nobody plays rougher than The Outfit...

Genres:

Crime | Thriller | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

October 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Revolte in der Unterwelt  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The picture was cast with such film noir veterans as Timothy Carey, Elisha Cook Jr., Jane Greer, Robert Ryan, Sheree North and Marie Windsor. See more »

Goofs

A killer fires a revolver with a silencer on the barrel. The gun would still make a loud sound due to the gap between the cylinder and the barrel. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Pulp Fiction (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock of Ages
(uncredited)
Lyrics by Augustus M. Toplady
Music by Augustus M. Toplady and Thomas Hastings
heard in church scene
See more »

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User Reviews

Well-made crime drama that honors the Richard Stark novel
25 February 2004 | by (North Hollywood, CA) – See all my reviews

Everyone else has covered this movie well. It is indeed a tight, well-made crime drama with an excellent under-played central performance by Duval along with many very good scenes by classic character actors like Richard Jaeckel, Joanna Cassidy (who should have starred in Jim Thompson's "Hell of a Woman"), Marie Windsor, Henry Jones and many others. But the real stand-out (to my mind) is Karen Black. In the kind of roll that is generally reduced to an over-sexed gun-moll, Karen gives her character a real humanity. In one scene during a shoot out, she saves Duval and Baker by driving into and pinning against the wall the two mob men who are just about to take down our two guys. And in another scene she calls home on a pay-phone and is very chilly with her mother, but just about breaks down in asking her father if she can "come home for a while". She has never looked better in a film.

Having read all of the Richard Stark books (Richard Stark is a pseudonym for Donald Westlake), the film catches the stripped-down, hard-boiled tone of the novels and it's central character who is on a controlled journey into vengeance. In fact the film is very much like many of the great Gold Medal paperback originals published in the 1950's and 1960's. If you like this kind of story, look for authors like Peter Rabe, Charles Williams, Milton Ozaki, Lionel White and many others. "Hard-Boiled America" by Geoffrey O'Brien (recently reprinted) covers the genre and it's authors very well and is highly recommended.

I have to comment on the music and sound in the film - absolutely top notch! Many other crime films of the period would fill scenes with unnecessary music to amp up the suspense. "The Outfit" is very restrained and the music is used mostly to accent scenes and help transitions. Excellent score by Jerry Fielding. The sound work is great as well. The guns have a meaty sound without being to loud and dry. In one surprising scene, Joe Don Baker punches out a female receptionist and you hear her intake of breath, his fist whacking her jaw and the sound of her falling on the chair. All done with great finesse despite the brutality.

One previous reviewer got it right when he talked about the last part of the film descending into a Quinn/Martin television style. I think the director, John Flynn, is responsible. "The Outfit" seemed to me to be a lot like TV - with the old, wide master shoot to establish, cut to over-the-shoulder, back to the other close-up and end with the master. The director didn't have a real sense of the style of the film. I disagree that his work is like a "shaker chair". I think John Flynn directed it blandly, not simply, because he has a limited imagination. So many scenes could have benefited from a moving camera or more imaginative lighting. Flynn's work just didn't measure up to the excellent script and the great performances. Still, he didn't kill the film and even today (2004) it remains a little gem of the seventies that deserves a DVD release with extras.


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