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The Foreigner (1978)

European secret agent Max Menace arrives in New York City, waiting for his contact to tell him his assignment. He becomes entangled with an assortment of odd characters and situations, but ... See full summary »





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Cast overview, first billed only:
Eric Mitchell ...
Max Menace
Anya Phillips ...
Patti Astor ...
Fili Harlow
Dee Trik (as Deborah Harry)
Zazu Weather (as Terens Séverine)
Robin Crutchfield ...
Fido Hex
Kitty Sondern ...
Kit Bag
Duncan Hannah ...
King Bag / Shake
Steven Kramer ...
Susan Morris ...
Mo Bag
Amos Nitrate
David Forshtay ...
For Bag
Pusante Byzantium ...
Skratch / Rumanian
Ana Marton ...
Fullee / Rumanian
Chirine El Khadem ...
Mr. Kool


European secret agent Max Menace arrives in New York City, waiting for his contact to tell him his assignment. He becomes entangled with an assortment of odd characters and situations, but never learns why he's there. Written by Erich Mees

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Release Date:

1982 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Der Fremde  »

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Did You Know?


Max Menace: When we dream that we dream, we are beginning to wake up.
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User Reviews

easily the best movie of movie history
27 December 2004 | by (ulan bator, mongolia) – See all my reviews

spoilers within, but absolutely nothing can spoil this movie, so no spoilers in fact.

one can see why such a great movie inspired such another great movie like 'permanent vacation'. to think of what it's all become since this, now that order has returned. and wasn't this made the same year the apocalypses sounded with the star wars parade? it just stuns me to think how mediocre popular films are compared to something as hugely magnificent as this.

Menace comes to town and is under the constant threat of cat-women in an obvious homage to feuillade (and if it isn't an homage to feuillade, who cares and if they aren't cat-women, who cares too, though they sure look like them). the usual causality in ordered movies is made fun of and ridiculed and shattered in sequences like the one where we find two leathered women knocked on the floor, the lights having been lit up, the shot having emerged from a sea of night city lights.

the cinema has not ever witnessed a sequence as emotionally powerful as the one in which Menace tries to throw the kitten out of the window. both the montage before and after collide unto and away from this masterful kitten sequence, making it the most powerful in my long time as cineaste.

the love affair between Harlow and menace beats anything by bresson, and we all know bresson was great. but this is just sublime. pressing their faces against the wall, returning to the silent age of movie making.

Menace gets locked into an apartment by some weirdo dame and the dialog between the two reaches artistic heights unreached by anything ever or before, at least from what i've seen. if dialog in movies mirrors normal conversations in life, this movie testaments to the sublime nature of dialog in modern cinema, that which belongs to the loony bin mode, the cosmic, which we in our chronic mediocrity, pandering to the 'bitch-goddess', as d.h.Lawrence would say, continuously try to avoid. the sheer copy- mimesis- of normal people that cinema has returned to being. this, nah, this is a cinema of sheddin off layers of skin, discovering new languages and planets.

the conversation between the punks, organizing their offensive on Menace and banging their heads on walls, is sheer genius. the cinematic orchestration, even better, absolutely sublime.

the position of the camera is absolutely God-like, filming Menace's conversation from a distance in the beginning, with the river beyond them in an exemplary use of depth of the image both the conversation with that first agent and, as Menace walks away, the hilariously suspicious interchange of looks with some guy. these are truly amazing moments in the history of the cinema.

the conversation with the cab driver is of historical importance, light years in front of silly nonsense like collateral and night on earth, and yes, far better than Melville.

the first image of Menace, walking towards us down a well lit corridor is stunningly beautiful.

Menace starts out alright asking for help and some such stuff but ends in a bad patch, watching him walk down the street battered and drunk is yet another cinematic pleasure.

i dunno, it actually isn't that stunning, but it's still absolutely stunning. very recommendable stuff.

p.s. the grumpy gremlins at IMDb only allow 1000 word essays, so i'll stick the second part of my review in my blog: http://theblobarchives.blogspot.com/

4 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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