7.2/10
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Night Moves (1975)

Los Angeles private detective Harry Moseby is hired by a client to find her runaway teenage daughter and he stumbles upon a case of murder and artifact smuggling.

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Joey Ziegler
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...
Nick
Janet Ward ...
Arlene Iverson
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Anthony Costello ...
Marv Ellman
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Tom Iverson
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Ben Archibek ...
Charles
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Boy in Bar
C.J. Hincks ...
Girl in Bar
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Stud (as Maxwell Gail Jr.)
Susan Barrister ...
Ticket Clerk
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Storyline

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 <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

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Maybe he would find the girl... maybe he would find himself. See more »


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R | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

30 August 1975 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

The Dark Tower  »

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(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paula (Jennifer Warren) tells Harry (Gene Hackman) that the first boy who touched her breasts was named Billy Dannreuther, which is the name of Humphrey Bogart's character in Beat the Devil (1953). See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Paula: Oh, that's a beauty.
Harry Moseby: Yeah, but he didn't see it. He played something else and he lost. He must have regretted it every day of his life. I know I would have. As a matter of fact I do regret it, and I wasn't even born yet.
Paula: That's no excuse.
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User Reviews

 
Take a swing at me Harry the way Sam Spade would.
1 July 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Night Moves is directed by Arthur Penn and written by Alan Sharp. It stars Gene Hackman, Jennifer Warren, Susan Clark, James Woods, Melanie Griffith, Edward Binns, Harris Yulin, Kenneth Mars and Janet Ward. Music is by Michael Small and cinematography by Bruce Surtees.

Former footballer turned private detective in Los Angeles Harry Moseby (Hackman), gets hired by an ageing actress to track down her trust- funded daughter Delly Grastner (Griffith), who is known to be in Florida. With his own personal life shaken by his wife's infidelity, Harry dives into the Grasten case with determination. Unfortunately nothing is as it first seems and it's not long before Harry is mired in murky goings on...

It sounds kind of bleak. Or is it just the way you tell it?

The locale is often bright and sunny but that's about the only thing that is in this excellent neo-noir. Harking back, and doffing its cap towards, the noir detective films of the classic cycle, Night Moves is ripe with characters who are either dubious or damaged. Protagonist Harry Moseby is thrust into a melancholic world that he has no control over, but he doesn't know this fact. As the mystery at the core of the dense plot starts to unravel, there's a bleakness, a 1970s air of cynicism, that pervades the narrative. Culminating in a finale that's suitably dark and ambiguous.

Harry thinks if you call him Harry again he's gonna make you eat that cat!

Alan Sharp's (Ulzana's Raid) terrific screenplay is appropriately as sharp as a razor. Dialogue is often hardboiled or zinging with wit, and the conversations come with sadness or desperation. Be it chatter about a fateful chess move, sexual enlightenment or the pains of childhood and bad parenting, Sharp's writing provides fascinating characters operating in a tense thriller environment.

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.

Arthur Penn brilliantly threads it all together, as he hones a great performance out of Hackman and notable turns from the support players, he smoothly blends action with pulsing unease. There's nudity on show, but in Penn's hands it is never used for gratuitous purpose, it represents dangerous fantasies or dented psyches. Small's jazzy score is a fine tonal accompaniment, and Surtees' Technicolor photography provides deft mood enhancements for the interior and exterior sequences.

Biting and bitter, Night Moves is essential neo-noir. 9/10


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