A hard but mediocre cop is assigned to escort a prostitute into custody from Las Vegas to Phoenix, so that she can testify in a mob trial. But a lot of people are literally betting that they won't make it into town alive.
As the film opens on an Oklahoma farm during the depression, two simultaneous visitors literally hit the Wagoneer home: a ruinous dust storm and a convertible crazily driven by Red, the ... See full summary »
In Phoenix, the alcoholic and mediocre detective Ben Shockley is assigned by the Chief Commissary Blakelock to bring the witness Gus Mally from Las Vegas for a minor trial. Shockley travels to Vegas and finds that Gus Mally is an aggressive and intelligent prostitute with a college degree and she tells him that the odds are against her showing up in court. Shockley learns that she will actually testify against a powerful mobster and the mafia is chasing them trying to kill them both. He calls Blakelock and request a police escort from Phoenix to protect them. But soon he discovers that someone is betraying him in the police department. Now, Shockley and Malley hijack a bus and Shockley welds thick steel plates and transforms the cabin in an armored bus trying to reach the Forum. But they will need to drive through a gauntlet of police officers armed with heavy weapons. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
According to the book "Clint Eastwood: Hollywood's Loner" (1992) by Michael Munn, the desert hideaway house that got shot-up cost 250,000 dollars to construct, and featured seven thousand drilled holes that were used to house explosive squibs which would be set off to simulate gunfire. A team of fifteen men worked eight hour days for a month rigging the dwelling with the squibs for a shoot-out sequence that would result in the demolition and collapses of the building. Special effects co-ordinator Chuck Gaspar said, "Needless to say, we only had once chance to film the take!". And Clint Eastwood said of the sequence that he wanted "not just an ordinary explosion...I wanted the house to collapse to the ground as though it was being eaten away by a gigantic mass of termites". See more »
When Shockley and Gus leave on the motorcycle they go up a slight rise in terrain before turning, but the motorcycle gang had just gone the same way and the terrain was all downhill. See more »
[calmly speaking like a stewardess to the passengers of the hijacked bus, as she is holding a gun]
Sorry for this inconvience, ladies and gentlemen, but at this time, I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to leave the bus. Please be sure and take all your belongings with you and I promise arrangements will be made for your continued journey as quickly as possable.
[Passengers stare at her dumbfounded]
[waves gun and shouts]
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A disclaimer at the end reads: "Law enforcement procedures depicted in this film do not necessarily represent those of any law enforcement agency mentioned herein." See more »
The Gauntlet is the second of six films that Clint Eastwood did with Sondra Locke, an amount that certainly qualifies them as a screen team of note. They were for 15 years a team off the screen as well.
The Gauntlet casts Locke as a hooker who is being subpoenaed as a witness in an organized crime case. She's in Las Vegas where if you'll recall prostitution is legal and apparently she's learned some interesting information. More interesting than she realizes because there are some people who want to make very certain she does not reach Phoenix where the Maricopa County District Attorney has her for a witness.
Assigned to the case is Clint Eastwood who is characterized by himself as a tired old time server of a cop. He's not by reputation with the Phoenix, PD a Harry Callahan. But to the regret of forces who want to see Locke dead and consider him an incompetent and expendable, Clint fools them all.
As a film The Gauntlet goes at a good clip and the suspense from the first attack against Eastwood and Locke does not let up for a second. The dialog between Eastwood and Locke is crisp and entertaining and the action sequences well staged. The two leads get good support from Pat Hingle as Eastwood's luckless partner and William Prince the corrupt Chief of the Phoenix PD.
I'm not sure whether Prince wants Locke dead for her testimony linking him to organized crime or for the fact she can testify to some alternate sexual practices he favors. Either way Prince is absolutely manic about making sure they never get to Phoenix alive.
For fans of Clint Eastwood, The Gauntlet is one of his best films, one of my favorites of his, and something not to be missed.
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