Former football player and present private detective Harry Moseby gets hired on to what seems a standard missing person case, as an aging Hollywood actress whose only major roles came ... See full summary »
A boat has been destroyed, criminals are dead, and the key to this mystery lies with the only survivor and his twisted, convoluted story beginning with five career crooks in a seemingly random police lineup.
This, the second adaptation of Raymond Chandler's novel, is much closer to the source text than the original - Murder, My Sweet (1944), which tended to avoid some of the sleazier parts of ... See full summary »
Former football player and present private detective Harry Moseby gets hired on to what seems a standard missing person case, as an aging Hollywood actress whose only major roles came thanks to being married to a studio mogul wants Moseby to find and return her stepdaughter. Harry travels to Florida to find her, but he begins to see a connection with 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>
Are you the kind of detective who, once you get on a case nothing can get you off it? Bribes, beatings, the allure of a woman...
That was true in the old days. Before we had a union.
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Coming back to NIGHT MOVES a quarter of a century later is a confronting experience. I was admirer of Alan Sharp's (HIRED HAND and LAST RUN) and now it's easier to see how he'd distorted the American crime movie with the influence of the European art cinema. Much the same thing is happening in Sam Mendes' current films.
The process is knowing and resonant and the film shows Arthur Penn at the top of his game, though it didn't find the same public his most famous work. This dark intrigue stuff works, partly because it's too dense to be immediately absorbed and because the characters are so vivid - even if it is hard to believe that all these great women want to take off their shirts for Gene Hackman in his tan rug. It is however one of Hackman's best outings - whether he liked it or not.
Lots of great detail - the contrast between Hackman's study with the black and white TV where sports will kill his eyes and Yullin's tasteful home, which makes us share Hackman's loathing of the character, feeding dolphins, the glass bottom boat or the theatre viewing (which respects the different format of the two cameras for once.) The performances are consistently vivid, reflecting well on Penn, with soon to be stars Griffith (particularly memorable) and Woods running level with largely forgotten character people. Janet Ward, for one, really registers.
Even if it needs theatrical viewing to be appreciated, Bruce Surtees' dim lighting, characteristically shading eyes, is atmospheric but the post "New Wave" fad of dispensing with establishing shots and opticals is now confusing and jerky. The score irritates too.
The line about paint drying has now passed into common usage but I like "blind, Albino, s**t-eating alligators" as much.
I used to use this one to teach screen writing decades back. I rate that a good call.
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