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What's on mind
love definitely more so than bullets. The premise seems
rather straight-forward, but within the context is a primarily downbeat
and melancholic angle. The crime/thriller slant is pretty low-key (as
the chase scenes leisurely tick along) with the main focus being on the
three performances; Charles Bronson, Jill Ireland and Rod Steiger and
the eventual bonds that are crafted and from that the situations that
occur. Love follows on
tragedy also with guts and grit winning out.
Police detective Charlie Congers has been picked to head to Switzerland to rescue an ex-mistress of crime boss Joe Bomposa who now wants her dead. Getting her first means a chance to probably convict Bomposa, but is she as innocent as she claims to know anything of importance about his crime ring.
I'm not particularly surprised to see this Bronson outing become a forgettable title in his career that rarely sees daylight, and those who had seen it mainly want to bombard it for being tedious and bland. I didn't feel that at all. It has a very European vibe to the get-up with a stylish and almost uncommon development. Stuart Rosenberg's textured direction (who replaced John Huston) is economically surefooted, as he works with the beautifully moody and authentic European backdrops (that the compelling cinematography frames) and constructs moments of high-strung suspense. Plentiful they're not, but those few are well-executed. I just wished that the dangerous side wasn't kept in check. Writer Wendell Mayles' (the man behind 'Death Wish') minimal screenplay is simply old-fashioned and the pacing is quite relaxed. Concisely structured. but nothing surprises well the final climaxes do come up and pinch you. Were I thought it achieved a rather powerful imprint was because of Lalo Schifran's arousing score. It was exotic, colourful and flavoured. Never did it not make some sort of impression. I would say it's up there with his inspired score for 'Dirty Harry (1971)'. He knows how to place the action or feelings on screen with music and successfully push the buttons.
A strong cast do a serviceable job. Bronson's impassively stalwart turn fits accordingly and his chemistry with an empathic Jill Ireland (his actual wife) pays dividends. She was practically in nearly every movie he made during this period. Rod Steiger puts in an outstandingly staggering performance that grows with believable weight. Henry Silva and Paul Koslo hold up well in the bad guy roles. Also featuring with fine turns are Bradford Dillman, Strother Martin, Michael V. Gazzo and Val Avery.
What could have been an excellent crime thriller is turned into a mediocre film thanks to the uninspired direction of Stuart ("Cool Hand Luke") Rosenberg. With Wendall ("Death Wish") Mayes as writer, I had high hopes for this film. Bronson plays an Arizona lieutenant who is after a drug lord (Rod Steiger), responsible for the death of a fellow cop. The FBI butts in, telling him that if he wants to help out he can persuade Steiger's mistress, (Jill Ireland, doing a good Dolly Parton) to give testimony to the DAs. Bronson travels to Switzerland to retrieve her. Lots of boring shots of him taking trains, planes and automobiles to do this. Steiger does a great job playing a stuttering mafiosa don and the film boasts many excellent character actors (Henry Silva, Paul Koslo, Val Avery, Strother Martin, Bradford Dillman, etc.) A few good action scenes, but in the end, we needed more bullets and less love...
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Bronson co-star in Love and Bullets. He as a cop
and she as a protected witness. She needed a lot of protection.
It's an average Bronson action/adventure saga, but with the unusual twist that Jill Ireland actually comes off much better than her husband does. I did enjoy her saucy portrayal of mobster Rod Steiger's moll. It's a combination of Judy Holliday's Billie Dawn and Tammy Faye Bakker. I'll tell you this Tammy Faye must have been the makeup consultant for Jill on this film.
Rod Steiger has an interesting part as a gangster with a stutter. He's persuaded by his associates to do in the woman he loves because they're all afraid she'll rat them out. Broderick Crawford's solution was to finally propose marriage to Holliday in Born Yesterday. Jill might actually have done it.
Instead she's chosen for a rub out and Bronson is the Phoenix City detective who travels to Switzerland to get her back and into protective custody. He's a by the book cop, until the end when he evolves into his Death Wish character.
Love and Bullets said to say can't really make its mind up whether it's a straight action/adventure or satire of same. Indecision costs it many points from reviewers, but Bronson fans should like it.
An Arizona Police Inspector named Charlie Congers (Charles Bronson) is
sent on a dangerous assignment to Switzerland to bring an outrageous
mafioso(Rod Steigers)'s love interest named Jackie Pruit(Jill Ireland ,
Bronson's wife) back to USA to testify against him in trial . Meanwhile
some killers (Henry Silva, Paul Koslo) attempt to murder Jackie .
The picture contains suspense , action, thrills and is quite entertaining , though average . Excellent Rod Steiger as peculiar stuttering mobster who amuses himself with Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald films . Very good support cast formed by prestigious secondaries as Strother Martin , Bradford Dillman , Albert Salmi , Michael V Gazzo , Val Avery and many others. Special mention to Henry Silva as a nasty and sadist criminal , as ever. Pretty locations from Switzerland well photographed by Fred Koenekamp and Anthony Richmond . Atmospheric musical score by Lalo Schifrin with certain influence in Ennio Morricone music.
Rosenberg's regular direction that underlines the strength of personalities involved , undercutting the less pleasant aspects and putting the focus squarely on Bronson's tough performance and Ireland's excessive silly character. Stuart Rosenberg was one of the best TV directors of the 50s and 60s and subsequently realized segment of crime and mystery series . In 1967 directed his first film , the successful ¨Cool and Luke¨ with Paul Newman . Booth of them attempted in vain to repeat the formula in three further movies together ¨WUSA movie, Pocket money and The drowning pool¨ . However he achieved other two hit smash in the terror genre with ¨The Amityville horror¨ and again with a prison film ¨Brubaker¨. Since then Rosenberg's output has been unsatisfactory and sporadic as ¨The Pope of Greenwich village ¨ a Mickey Rourke vehicle . Rating : Passable though mediocre thriller.
Charles Bronson is at his best when playing the silent tough guy, but in
this British-backed chase thriller he is let down by workmanlike direction
and a drearily routine script. Bronson's Phoenix cop, Charlie Congers, is
certainly a silent and tough character - just the kind of role old
Stone-Face usually excels at - but there are too many weaknesses in Love and
Bullets to make it a particularly worthwhile film.
Phoenix police officer Charlie Congers (Bronson) is keen to gather evidence on Mob bigwig Joseph Bomposa (Rod Steiger). He learns that Bomposa's mistress Jackie Pruitt (Jill Ireland) is hiding out in Switzerland, so he jets off hoping to find her and persuade her to testify against him. Bomposa, realising that the game could be up, issues orders that Jackie must be silenced whatever the cost. Soon, Congers and Jackie are on the run in snowy Switzerland, with a whole bunch of hired killers hot on their heels.
Steiger is in over-acting mode here, but fortunately he doesn't have too many scenes so his opportunities to embarrass himself are kept to a minimum. The story is a simplistic chase narrative of a type seen many times before, and scripters Wendell Mayes and John Melson don't have many surprises up their sleeves to freshen this one up. Bronson fans like to see their man wasting bad guys and plunging head-first into action, but Love and Bullets pauses far too regularly for its own good and viewers looking for action will feel very short-changed. The film isn't a total loss - it has sporadic effective scenes, is always pleasing to the eye, and has one genuine moment of surprise near the end - but on the whole it is undoubtedly a lot less impressive than it could have been. Don't rush to add it to your wish list.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Begun by John Huston, who departed the production supposedly because of
that old standby, "creative differences", the action-melodrama "Love
and Bullets" is mostly noteworthy for its exotic locale, as well as
some breathtaking photography and a super Lalo Schifrin score. The way
that it often plays out may lead one to believe that it's meant to be
seen as tongue in cheek; it does get silly at times. Still, it's
attractive, reasonably well directed (by Stuart Rosenberg), and nicely
Charles Bronson actually plays a guy named Charlie; Charlie Congers is an Arizona detective sent by the FBI to Switzerland to pick up a gangsters' girlfriend, a gal named Jackie Pruit (played by Bronsons' real-life love and frequent co-star Jill Ireland). The feds desperately want her to testify against her boyfriend, who's portrayed in a typically hammy fashion by Rod Steiger. He's hired assassins including a creep named Vittorio (Henry Silva) to silence her.
Overall, "Love and Bullets" is fun to a degree. It's not really remarkable in any way, but it moves along well and has some good moments. Bronson is in fine form and he and Ireland (whose bimbo shtick ultimately wears a little thin) naturally have good chemistry. Steiger is amusing; in one interesting character touch, he has a stutter. A solid bunch of familiar faces have supporting roles, although some, like Silva and Strother Martin (who plays Steigers' lawyer) are under utilized. Also co-starring are Bradford Dillman, Michael V. Gazzo, Paul Koslo, Val Avery, Billy Gray (the kid from "The Day the Earth Stood Still" all grown up), Albert Salmi, John Hallam, Robin Clarke, and Andy Romano.
The movie gets off to a shaky start, but soon recovers, and fortunately isn't too predictable. Fans of this cast should find it to be a mild diversion.
Six out of 10.
I like Charles Bronson. In some film fan circles this is considered a crime, but I've learned to live with it. Ánd then there is "Love and Bullets". Considering the production values this must have been a major release in it's day. And watching the trailer you could guess why people went to the cinema for it. Seeing it in the day and age of Jason Bourne is a different story: A crook is on the phone. He calls his boss who is outside. We hear the phone ring, the boss hears it, walks into the house and after an excruciating long period of time reaches the phone. In a Matt Damon outing this scene would probably take 15 seconds, even if he had to use the 1979 model of a phone used here. Look at the geographical distance covered in the film. Bourne, Bond or any given thriller hero might cover this mileage in 2 minutes. Bronson takes about an hour. He walks, he sleeps and has to deal with Mrs Jill Bronson again. And as I've said before: she was an acting disaster. I hope their marriage was okay, she nearly ruined some Bronson movies all by herself. Lalo Schifrin's music is intriguing, but the very short motive is overused a zillion different times. But overall Charlie is okay, Rod Steiger is ridiculous (but hopefully on purpose), the scenery helps and the final scene makes you smile as you do in most classic Bronson outings. And as opposed to other reviewers: it is on DVD and has been for a long, long time through Carlton Entertainment in Europe. Sound of outdoor scenes is awful. All in all, this was the last big budget film for Bronson. It should have been slightly better. It could have been.
I've always had a special place for this movie in my heart, as a kid. And now at 28, it still is if not better with age. Come on its has Bronson, Steiger and a great musical score. Oh and don't forget great locations. Movies that come and go, that stay in the lime light that are rubbish get better praise then this. And to be honest there isn't anything wrong with this film, it a classic late 70's movie. If you love Bronson it is for you, if you don't but love the 70's then you still may enjoy. It has its bad points and troubles from the start of production but nothing to make a big deal out of. It didn't do out in US but in the foreign markets it was still a huge success which is why Charlie stayed a huge bankable movie legend. The film is attacked like it was a major problem or something, the same with Bronson's Borderline which has also aged well, because it is a thriller drama about real things which audiences didn't want then. Anyway Love and Bullets is still a great movie and doesn't deserve any of the bad reviews it's had over the years, so don't listen to em, watch it for yourself. Its better then most rubbish released today thats for dam sure.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Every good writer turns out an occasional flop, which is exactly the
kind of film Wendell Mayes conceived as 'Love and Bullets.' By 1979,
Mayes was at the end of a prolific career in which he wrote screenplays
for three Otto Preminger films (including 'Anatomy of a Murder'),
Ronald Neame's blockbuster 'The Poseidon Adventure,' and the adaptation
of 'Death Wish.' His next-to-last film credit, however, was this dull,
meandering chase story from Lew Grade's ITC Entertainment firm that he
co-wrote with John Melson, a scribe only noted for 1965's 'Battle of
'Love and Bullets' was one in a series of disappointing roles for Charles Bronson as the 1970s closed. Bronson was a favorite actor of Sir Lew Grade, but their collaboration proved mostly a failure. While 'Love and Bullets' and 'Borderline' made chump change at the box office, Bronson dropped out of the entertaining 'Firepower' and paired up with director J. Lee Thompson for the sleazy political thriller 'The Evil That Men Do.' 'Love and Bullets' is an ordinary crime film, casting Bronson as a police lieutenant, his wife Jill Ireland as a damsel in distress, and Rod Steiger as a European-based Mafioso. While it is impossible to figure out how much of Mayes's work actually reached the film, 'Love and Bullets' feels like an incomplete project, with most of its 103-minute run time following Bronson and Ireland across the Swiss Alps. Very little happens to keep a viewer interested and the movie feels much longer than it actually is.
Bronson plays Charlie Congers, an Arizona police lieutenant who is asked by the FBI to track down Jackie Pruit (Ireland), a Southern call girl. Pruit is the devoted lover of mob boss Joe Bomposa (Steiger), who rules from his Swiss villa. The feds believe that Pruit knows everything about Bomposa's operations in the U.S. and can be forced to testify against him if returned to the country. Congers, having seen a police officer murdered by Bomposa's drug ring, agrees to the job and gets sucked into a cat-and-mouse game with Bomposa and Vittorio Farroni (Henry Silva), an assassin hired to kill Pruit before she tattles. The film is a standard chase drama; Bronson engages in hand-to-hand combat, throws an axe, and fashions a dart gun from the rod of a floor lamp.
Considering the amount of talent that Wendell Mayes had, this plot is incredibly underdeveloped; for Bronson addicts, it can be a trying experience. There are occasional action scenes and your odd explosion, but we are mostly treated to Bronson and Ireland trudging across snowcaps and riding on trains, dragged out even further by Stuart Rosenberg's horrendous pacing and constant dissolves from one scene to the next. Rosenberg, who directed 'Cool Hand Luke' and replaced John Huston on this film, either had no idea of how to develop the material or completely misfired in trying to give it life. The film has underlying humor that works at times, but is mostly centered on Jill Ireland's character, which is one of the most annoying I've ever seen.
Like Love and Bullets' scriptwriting, its actors are deep in talent but underutilized. Charles Bronson gives the only decent performance, simply because he's the lead actor and has more to work with. Ireland portrays a blonde, Southern bubblehead who dons wigs and passes her time by making dolls; her character is grating and as a fan of Ireland, I resent the fact that she is made so unlikable in this film. Ireland also falls conveniently in love with Bronson during the movie's second half and it doesn't look very convincing. Rod Steiger bombs as a stuttering Mafioso, rarely talking below a yell and undergoing his grammar school audition for 'The Untouchables.' Henry Silva and Paul Koslo play decent smaller roles but never supply enough menace for a viewer to care about them. The only element that truly stands out is breathtaking photography by Fred Koenekamp and Anthony Richmond, which captures the Swiss Alps' enveloping qualities. Lalo Schifrin, known for his sleek music throughout the 1970s, disposes of 'wakka-chicka' and uses a more conventional style that is pleasing, but at times mushy.
While Bronson is very likable, 'Love and Bullets' feels like a project that was abandoned before ending up in ITC's hands as a last resort. Compared to other gems like 'Death Wish,' 'The Mechanic,' 'Hard Times,' and 'Breakout,' 'Love and Bullets' easily ranks as one of Bronson's more forgettable credits. Bronson, unfortunately, would step down from these glossier projects to begin his run at the Cannon Group, starring in workmanlike films like 'Death Wish II,' '10 to Midnight,' and 'Murphy's Law.' Jill Ireland maintained her presence in Bronson's films until dying of cancer in 1990. Stuart Rosenberg later directed the Robert Redford vehicle 'Brubaker' in 1980 and 'My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys' in 1991.
At the moment, 'Love and Bullets' is only available in VHS copy on the Internet and, considering its dubious place on Bronson's résumé, may take a while to reach DVD. CBS/FOX Video retailed a VHS tape with good color and mediocre sound in 1989. The 'big box' presentation ruins all of the scenery that was intended for theaters, but these same images can be seen in a travel guide or by hopping on a plane to Europe. Unless you're a Bronson die-hard or admire his relationship with Jill Ireland, 'Love and Bullets' is a negligible film that only deserves a rare showing on late-night TV.
* ½ out of 4
Roving Reviewer - www.geocities.com/paul_johnr
This action flop has aged so well to the point when you leave out Charles
Bronson and Jill Ireland and most of the cast, the film moves into the
realms of a minor (but most certainly unintentional) masterpiece. The
undoubtedly had a pleasant paid holiday in Switzerland while making the
film. Charles Bronson preferred Europe, so this ridiculous change of
was probably thrown in as it suited producer, director and
Paul Koslo (the actor perpetually with the worst hair in Hollywood) is as always a lackey and fallguy who gets blown away. But this film really comes into its own with such a towering performance from Rod Steiger that one has to wonder why he wasn't nominated for an Oscar. 100% brilliant comedy send up - his speech impediment is a masterstroke, masterly executed. Steiger can be watched and rewatched endlessly, he's such a scream, while the end of the film one of the best blasts you'll ever see.
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