Carter "Doc" McCoy is a career robber, currently in his fourth year of a ten year prison sentence at the Texas State Penitentiary. After his request for parole is denied despite he being a model prisoner, Doc, unable emotionally to endure life inside, asks his loving wife Carol McCoy to contact crooked businessman Jack Beynon, a man with political connections, to secure his release in return for he being "for sale" to Beynon. Beynon is able to get Doc released, the sale price being for Doc to plan and execute a robbery at a small bank branch in Beacon City, Texas where Beynon knows that $750,000 will be kept in the vault for the next two weeks. Rather than Doc using his own men for the job, Beynon directs that the only other people involved will be the men of his own choosing, Rudy and Frank. There are to be no casualties, which is all right with Doc who is not a murderer. After the robbery is completed and the monies divvied up accordingly, Doc and Carol will cross the border into ...Written by
The Getaway has the very important "Three S's" which are so crucial to any film: Style, Substance, and Steve McQueen.
This film, right behind PAPILLON, is definitely my favorite McQueen vehicle -- it's a big, BIG film (which makes sense, it takes place in Texas), has an epic feel, yet at the same time is very gritty and very honest in its approach to storytelling. The simplistic yet larger-than-life style of THE GETAWAY makes this flick a great watch on a Saturday Night.
Oh, and you can't go wrong with Steve McQueen. At his side is *THE* girl-next-door type, the ultra-likable Ali MacGraw. Their chemistry is very obvious (which would make a lot of sense, the two had an on-set affair which was followed by a five year marriage), and it carries the film. The score, composed by Quincy Jones, hits all the right notes in all the right spots, and is definitely pivotal in giving THE GETAWAY its "feel." The supporting cast couldn't be better-suited to their roles. The bad guys are really bad, and quite despicable. Despite the sinister villains, this early 70s gem has a sense of humor. At times the more "innocent" characters are mocked by the situations they find themselves in, much to your amusement or disgust (I, for one, found laugh-out-loud moments all the way through). By the very nature of a McQueen film, the characters are all "approachable," and down to earth in their own strange way. In a nutshell, a simplistically epic film that finds the time to not take itself so seriously.
While THE GETAWAY may not be the best to bring out at a movie get-together due to its slightly slow pacing and early 70s narrative (which, unfortunately, due to the breakneck music-video pacing of most "modern" films, tends to turn off anyone with a less-than-sufficient attention span), it is definitely worth a purchase, and something that you will be proud to say that you've seen.
Long Live McQueen, and Have a RIB, Harold!
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