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The Passenger (1975)

Professione: reporter (original title)
PG-13 | | Drama, Thriller | 9 April 1975 (USA)
Trailer
2:08 | Trailer
A frustrated war correspondent, unable to find the war he's been asked to cover, takes the risky path of coopting the identity of a dead arms dealer acquaintance.

Writers:

Mark Peploe (original story), Mark Peploe (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jack Nicholson ... Locke
Maria Schneider ... Girl
Jenny Runacre ... Rachel
Ian Hendry ... Knight
Steven Berkoff ... Stephen
Ambroise Bia Ambroise Bia ... Achebe
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Charles Mulvehill Charles Mulvehill ... Robertson (as Chuck Mulvehill)
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Storyline

A journalist researching a documentary in the Sahara Desert meets a gunrunner who dies suddenly. When the journalist notices that they have a similar appearance, he assumes the recently deceased's identity and accepts the consequences that it brings. Written by MuzikJunky

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

I used to be somebody else...but I traded him in.

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence, nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Maria Schneider was suffering from excruciating back pain during filming, and would often be in a medicated muddle towards the end of the day when her pain medications kicked in. In one scene, Jack Nicholson had to physically prop her up. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
David Locke: Do you speak English?
See more »

Alternate Versions

A whole seven minutes were added to the 2005-2006 re-release version, including a brief shot of a nude Maria Schneider in bed with Jack Nicholson in the Spanish hotel. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Death of a Corrupt Man (1977) See more »

User Reviews

 
Noir of Contrasting Cultures Told Brilliantly Visually in Blinding Light
12 November 2005 | by noraleeSee all my reviews

"The Passenger (Professione: reporter)" is a tour de force of visual story telling. While there is more dialog and the plot makes more sense than many other Michelangelo Antonioni films, it first and foremost uses film-making as a medium to tell its story.

The camera is always our eye, taking in sweeping panoramas of the North African desert to an architectural tour of European churches and an appreciation of the variegated urban and rural landscapes of Moorish Spain, still showing relics of older invasions, where it all comes together as we literally go from dust to dust. We are the passengers on this existential trip to try and change identities through someone else's travels logging almost as many locations as an outlandish Bond film .

Because so much of the film is dispassionately observational about natural landscape and cityscape, and windswept plazas that provide imitations of nature within a city, it stands up through time, even as the 1975 clothes, hair, TV journalist technology, and, somewhat, male/female relationships, look a bit dated and we can no longer assume that African guerrilla fighters and gun dealers helping them are more noble than the corrupt inheritors of colonialism.

The camera is constantly picking out culture contrasts - camels vs. jeeps, horse-drawn carriages blocking Munich traffic, Gaudi's serpentine architecture vs. Barcelona's modern skyline, a cable car gliding over a shimmering body of water.

And, of course, the very American Jack Nicholson in a very European film, with the many layers of meaning as he plays an adventurous broadcast reporter who ironically tries to escape the truth about himself. His young, sexy, challenging self is surprisingly effective here as we believe both his ethical lapses and his obsession.

Avoiding the narration that a film today would utilize, Antonioni well takes advantage of what now looks fairly primitive tapings of the reporter's past and current interviews to convey background and flashbacks on characters through minimal explication with overlapping sound and gliding visuals. The intertwined story lines constantly re-emphasize the point of not really knowing a person or a culture from the outside, with a repeated refrain of "What do you see?".

Maria Schneider's character skirts just this side of a male fantasy cliché, though Antonioni helped to create the type, and a few subtle plot points save her from total disingenuous sex kitten femme fatale (even as her character shrugs that one plot point is "unlikely"). Nicholson's repeated refrain to her of "What the f* are you doing with me?" takes on different meanings as we know more.

I'm not sure if this 2005 re-release of the director's cut, with supposedly nine minutes that were not in the original U.S. release, is notably pristine, as it wasn't particularly sharp, but the director's trademark crystalline blue sky is still breathtaking and is a must-see in a full screen rather than on DVD. The views practically feel like the old Cinemascope.

A climactic landscape shot brings all the violent, sensual, philosophical and narrative plot and thematic points together in a marvelous way that has been much imitated but is still powerful, as the camera looks out a window at a cool distance in the heat, key events culminate back and forth frantically in front of the camera, in and out of frame, and the camera moves through the bars and is free to roam in ever more close-ups.


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Details

Country:

Italy | France | Spain

Language:

English | Spanish | German | French

Release Date:

9 April 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Beruf: Reporter See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$24,157, 30 October 2005

Gross USA:

$620,155

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$768,744
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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