Private detective and former football player Harry Moseby gets hired on to what seems a standard missing person case, as a former Hollywood actress whose only major roles came thanks to ... See full summary »
Chris Lloyd does NOT get along with his father Walter. Walter is too careful, cautious, and boring to Chris, and never tries anything new, and Chris had to live by the same standards when ... See full summary »
This story of four working-class kids in a small industrial town--who go their separate ways after high school in the innocence of 1961 and come together again at the end of the turbulent ... See full summary »
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A man who spent his formative years in prison for murder is released, and struggles to adjust to the outside world and escape his lurid past. He gets involved with a cheap dancehall girl, ... See full summary »
Barry Sulivan is a cynical gangster who controls the Neptune Beach waterfront. He runs a numbers racket with the local soda shop owner: the police are in his pocket and the local hoods are on his payroll.
Private detective and former football player Harry Moseby gets hired on to what seems a standard missing person case, as a former Hollywood actress whose only major roles came thanks to being married to a studio mogul wants Moseby to find and return her daughter. Harry travels to Florida to find her, but he begins to see a connection between the runaway girl, the world of Hollywood stuntmen, and a suspicious mechanic when an unsolved murder comes to light. Written by
Gary Dickerson <email@example.com>
Harry refers to playing against Alex Karras in his football career; Karras would eventually marry Susan Clark, who plays the lead character's wife in this film. See more »
Harry rents a car when he is in Florida. When the car is filmed either from the front or the back, the car has a rear view mirror. When the car is filmed from the side, the rear view mirror is missing. See more »
Listen Delly, I know it doesn't make much sense when you're sixteen. Don't worry. When you get to be forty, it isn't any better.
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Neo-noir, with Hackman pouring it on in the best ways...
Night Moves (1975)
An odd convolution of 1940s film noir and 1970s New Hollywood. The hero is a kind of watered down Bogartnot as romanticized, and with less exaggerated one-liners (which film noir lovers will miss but which those who like realism will appreciate). Gene Hackman is terrific, and he plays Harry Moseby, a down and out ex-football player with a drained candor that makes him pathetic as much as likable. He ends up mixed up in a Dashiell Hammett kind of plot, for sure, looking for the daughter of a rich woman and then getting way over his head.
The artifacts of New Hollywood liberation are plain to see: nudity (female only) and a kind of sexed up background even when the plot is going somewhere else. This was for the sake of an audience still astonished that the movies could do such things (they couldn't before 1967) and it's still kind of raw and edgy in a lasting way. It also feels dated, too, making you wonder if it was really so sexually liberated back then.
The trail for this daughter takes us to the Florida Keys and out into the ocean. There are mysterious motives everywhere, and it's only Moseby we trust. Completely. And we even feel him starting to get a grounding for his drifting self amidst these miscellaneous people. And we see a kind of generosity that is based on this selfish need to do something right, and all its conflicting meanings. So eventually the movie is less about who killed who for this or that reason, and more about this man and his quest for clarity.
But clarity has a cost, and the movie will take several surprising turns. Not all of the plot is supported very well. We are led along at times, and frankly told things that might have been better revealed through the plot. It's not a perfectly nuanced drama in this way. These are nitpicks, for sure, because the larger feeling takes over and is commanding. And that's the lasting reputation of the film, that it pulls off this kind of modernized noir world with originality.
The director is Arthur Penn, who's great "Bonnie and Clyde" kicked off the shift into New Hollywood sensibility. (Beatty is always given too much credit for that film's audacity because he starred and funded it, but the film was Penn's at heart.) This might be called the last of Penn's great cycle from the period, and if not the equal to his 1967 breakthrough, it is in many ways more delicately felt and mature. And so in a way more watchable today a second or third time. Hackman is the one great actor here, however, and if there's a key problem with "Night Moves," it's that he almost but not quite supports the film alone. The three or four secondary characters are all of them thin, or contrived to be types, and so it falters.
See it anyway. It surprised me the way "Point Blank" from this era did. Excellent.
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