The Disappearance (1977) Poster

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A haunting film about obsession and betrayal
paul_mcmahon_au18 March 2001
This film does a fine job of putting the viewer into the position of the main protagonist, Jay Mallory. It isn't until the climax of the film when Mallory and Christopher Plummer's character, Deverell, meet that the viewer can understand the disjointed, roller-coaster ride that Mallory has been on.

The haunting piano music beautifully reflects the tension of the film. The support cast is made up of outstanding English and European actors who give the feel of the film the pace so often brought to the screen of excellent non-US films.
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Canadian "Night Moves"
mim-827 March 2016
This film, done as a joint effort from the stellar cast and crew (script, cinematography, costumes, set design), is one of the best mystery, thriller-dramas, of the seventies. Ranking right along Arthur Penn's "Night Moves", "The Disappearance", in it's 91 minute, or better yet 101 minute director's cut, version is stylish neo-noir that glides perfectly through the story of alienation and betrayal, love and loss, mistaken emotions and gloomy memories, spanning between almost futuristic backdrop of Montreal, and rustic mansions and countrysides of Suffolk. Director's cut adds only a few nice linchpins to the story, explaining minor details, that are somewhat important to the plot, and without which, few things are left to our imagination.

Never really seen in it's real glory, as intended by the director Stuart Cooper, until the 2013 blu-ray release, that comprises both director's cut and 91 minute "third version" of the film,released in the UK, assembled by unknown author, as close to original as possible, retaining the feel, flashbacks essential to the film's structure and original score, director's cut and a "hatchet job" US version, "The Disappearance" is the best example of how a really good film can be mutilated beyond recognition, by an inept studio hacks. Making a linear plot out of non-linear story which is essential to the depth of the plot, is a true crime, and the rating that this movie holds on IMDb is the rating of the so called "US theatrical cut" which made this gem bomb at the box office after a single showing, and jettisoned into obscurity for over 30 years. The example of this, is also contained on the blue-ray in a horrid 15 minute long excerpt from the re-edited and re-scored U.S. release version of the film.

Now available as envisioned, (plus a non Hollywood ending) "The Disappearance" deserves it's place among the "must see" films. More than recommended, a true classic.
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Passable movie about a hit man hired by a mysterious criminal organization
ma-cortes27 November 2009
A contracted hit-man (Donald Sutherland) working for a strange organization (his contact is David Warner) discovers a rare link between his new target and his missing spouse (Francine Racette, Sutherland's wife on real life ) while they're living in their Montreal apartment.

This slow-moving film results to be a boring and confusing story that deals about assassin's preoccupation with the disappearance his wife . The picture is full with continuous flashbacks , suspense , twists and turns. Nice performance by Donald Sutherland as a cold and tough assassin . Good supporting actors formed by all-star-cast as David Warner, John Hurt , Virginia McKenna, Christopher Plummer, and David Hemmings, also producer . This unknown movie was a flop because of flaws , gaps and disjointed scenes . Colorful cinematography by John Alcott , Stanley Kubrick's usual , an splendid cameraman who photographed ¨2001¨, ¨Clockwork Orange¨ and ¨Barry Lyndon¨. Sad and melancholic soundtrack by piano music is composed by Robert Farnon. The motion picture was professionally directed by Stuart Cooper with pretentiously arty film-making . He initially directed cinema movies as¨¨ Little Malcom¨ and ¨Overlord¨ but went on making TV movies as ¨The hunted¨, ¨Fortunate pilgrim¨ , ¨A.D.¨, ¨Long Hot summer¨ and several others. Rating : Acceptable but tiring movie .
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THE DISAPPEARANCE {Edited Version} (Stuart Cooper, 1977) **
Bunuel19769 February 2008
Ostensibly, it should be hard to understand why certain movies slip into obscurity despite being loaded with talent, but then you come across a case like this one and the possibility suddenly becomes not just plausible but inevitable. On paper, this Anglo-Canadian "existentialist" thriller certainly had potential: an impressive cast – Donald Sutherland, David Hemmings, John Hurt, David Warner, Christopher Plummer and Virginia McKenna – was mouthing the words of screenwriter Paul Mayersberg under the guidance of director Stuart Cooper (the man behind recent Criterion DVD release, OVERLORD [1975]) and being lit by the late great cinematographer (and frequent Stanley Kubrick collaborator) John Alcott; besides, the whole thing was being overseen by producer Hemmings himself. So, where did the film go wrong?

Well, for starters, the central mystery itself is not very interesting: the neglected wife of brooding Donald Sutherland – the No. 1 hit-man for an enigmatic espionage organization – is forever threatening to leave him and does exactly that at the very start of the film; unfortunately, while Sutherland is very good in his role and literally the best thing in it, the actress playing his wife (Francine Racette) is as stiff and unappealing as one of her husband's handiwork. This fact renders the knowledge that Racette is none other than Sutherland's own wife in real life as well almost impossible to believe, since this is hardly borne by their interaction here – least of all during a fragmentary sex scene that ludicrously apes Nicolas Roeg's DON'T LOOK NOW (1973) which, of course, also starred Sutherland! Actually, I had seen Racette act previously in two notable films – Dario Argento's FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET (1971) and Joseph Losey's MR. KLEIN (1976) – but I can't really say if her efforts were any better there. For the record, THE DISAPPEARANCE proved to be Racette's penultimate film before retiring to raise her three children with Sutherland. Thankfully, although most of them are practically extended cameos, the supporting cast – of whom, I thought, John Hurt comes off best – does keep one watching…but, again, the utterly predictable double surprise ending closes the film with a whimper instead of a bang.

Equally to blame for the film's ultimate failure is Stuart Cooper whose direction is pretentious to a fault and, unsurprisingly, he too faded exclusively into TV-movie limbo soon after; for what it's worth, many years ago I did get to watch two of his TV ventures – A.D. (1985) and THE FORTUNATE PILGRIM (1988) – both of which were large-scale productions. Having said that, screenwriter Mayersberg is himself well-known for his non-linear scripts but the would-be audacious time-jumping techniques abused here merely attempt to imbue an obscure and thin plot with some elusive sense of significance; incidentally, even if the 88-minute version I watched was 12 minutes short of the original, I doubt that the missing footage would made things any clearer! Unfortunately for the viewer, Stuart Cooper is no visual stylist like Nicolas Roeg, much less a master film-maker in the league of Alain Resnais! Besides, given the structure and themes of the film, at times I couldn't help but unfavorably compare it to John Boorman's vastly superior POINT BLANK (1967)...
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Slow start, but go for it
racliff5 February 2008
I had never heard of the "The Disapperance", but then again there are very few movies from the late 70s that come to my mind at all. But I do like Donald Sutherland and I try to see much of his contributions to film.

This movie almost made me give up. I found the beginning confusing, the setting boring, and the flashbacks frustrating. However for Donald's sake I struggled through. The feelings I experienced may well have been the intended design.

As the story progresses, it does become more interesting. The plot has some nice changes and I found myself more encouraged to concentrate on the developments, and eventually was actually enjoying the movie.

I don't know if I would watch this a second time, but I am glad I survived it the first time. The ending didn't surprise me, but if you are a fan of Donald's as well, you should try "The Disappearance" and see how you feel at the end of it.
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In the film, Donald Sutherland plays an international hit-man, set out to find his missing wife which is based on the novel 'Echoes of Celandine' by Derek Marlowe.
lastshotfilms8 September 2010
I was lucky enough to view Stuart Cooper's original cut of 'The Disappearance' which has never seen and is not available on DVD.

Just like his film OVERLORD which has been released by the Criterion Collection and become a classic, 'The Disappearance' holds it's own. The acting is first rate, the original music is lush and the John Alcott's cinematography is outstanding.

It is a shame that untalented producers are allowed to tamper with the original works. The original is in a non-linear format. Perhaps the reviewers should watch the original uncut/unedited version and then I would think they would revise their reviews. It is brilliant! Hopefully it will be screened at a festival in the future so all can enjoy.
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You remind me of a man I killed the night I met my wife.
mark.waltz20 March 2022
Warning: Spoilers
With a stary cast and some great Montreal location footage, this had the potential to be an enjoyable thriller, but is plodding and slow. It's very generic in the category of movie thrillers with Donald Sutherland playing a role he's played over and over again, an overly serious man with a criminal agenda involved in situations that seem to be impossible to get out of. Here he is a hitman whose wife has disappeared, and when he's assigned a hit, he finds out that the people involved are possibly behind his wife's disappearance. Of course he takes this as an opportunity to seek revenge, and pray you think that would leave two lots of chase sequences and shootouts and intrigue, the result is a movie that is painfully slow for much of the time.

With David Warner, John Hurt, Christopher Plummer and Virginia McKenna in support, it's a major disappointment to see good actors wasted in a film that moves slowly to resolve each situation Sutherland finds himself in. The photography is good and the editing tight, but the plot seems to be giving the indication that the writers thought very highly of themselves as they put the script together. It's another film that thinks it's much more intelligent and complex than it is, and the result is a convoluted mess that is totally disappointing. Roman Polanski's 1987 thriller "Frantic" is a much better film with a similar premise. There are reasons why certain films fall Into obscurity, and this is an example of one.
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I'm sick of my life
kapelusznik1828 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS***Canadian thriller with a shocking scene in it where a box of Kellogs Cornflakes, my favorite serial, being shot to pieces as it's used by the person bring shot at as a human shield. The film has to do with this top Canadian hit-man Jay Mallory, Donald Sutherland, who's two timing wife's Celandine, Francine Racette, disappears on him and instead of being happy & relived, she's wasn't worth the trouble, he goes all out in both Canada & the UK to find her and bring her back to him.By the time the movie ends we have no idea on which side Celandine is on but by then her husband, who was by then completely out of the picture, couldn't care less.

After doing a number of "Shy's"-hit-jobs in Canadian mobster talk- Mallory is given a job or "Shy" to do in England by his boss Deverell, played by Christopher-known to his friends as "Chris the Plummer"- Plummer, that sounds a bit fishy to him.As Mallory soon suspects it's Deverell who's setting him up and is using his lost wife Celandine to do it. As we soon see Celandine's psycho act of her losing her mind is to throw off all suspicions on what she's really up to which by the time the movie is over she doesn't know herself.

***SPOILERS***The deadly serious Jay Mallory starts to lose his touch as a 1st class hit-man and lets his guard down for the first and last time by him thinking that he can quit the mob and live to tell about it. The ending tells it all shot in the Canadian dead of winter that he as well as we in the audience not to mention the Kellogs Corn Flake serial box never saw it coming. It was foolish for Mallory to feel that his life as a hit-man was far behind him not realizing that those that he hit have friends and relatives who won't forget what he did as well as the mob whom he by leaving it he tried to double-cross!
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The Disappearance the film just disappears
mm-3920 July 2020
Warning: Spoilers
The Disappearance the film just disappears. There is an interesting concept of a hit man who looks for his missing wife which becomes part of the assignment . Sutherland, Plumber and supporting cast all play solid roles and there is interesting locations, and filming shots, music.! Regrettable there is so many layers to the story The Disappearance just disappears for the viewer. Spoiler!!! I believe Sutherland's wife was involved like the Siren legend in the whole film and for the tragic ending. 5 stars. The ending needed an explanation.
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"The Disappointment" is more like it
broadfoot3 November 2003
The Disappearance, to me, is a Hitchcock wannabe that simply isn't. It's a slowly paced, talky thriller that just doesn't cut it. Donald Sutherland and the cast are great, but there are so many British actors in the cast that the term "Canadian-Made" sounds like a cheat. If this is a Canadian movie, wouldn't it have been better if they had put all Canadian actors in the cast? Also, if the movie takes place in Montreal (a mostly French-speaking city), wouldn't it have made more sense to have Sutherland's character do his foreign assignment in somewhere like Paris, France, instead of in England? After all, this is not a British movie, it's Canadian.

It surprised me that Sutherland and Francine Racette were married and had 3 children.

I recommend this only for fans of deep psychological thrillers. As for me, I think I will be putting a "Previously Viewed" label on this one and dropping it in the drop-off slot at my local video store.

Rating: **
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Grow up, all of you who consider this "brilliant", "a must see", "a true classic"
RodrigAndrisan14 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Good start, some suspense, some tense music, filmed from above, and you say, I will see a great movie. But, in spite of several big names like David Hemmings (also producer of the film), David Warner, John Hurt, Christopher Plummer, all real actors, The Disappearance do not offer us anything. I never considered Mister Donald Sutherland a great actor except... because of his stature. Only now I understand why Fellini chose him precisely in the role of Casanova, to make a total caricature of Casanova (Fellini is famous anyway for the fact that he preferred non-professionals to real actors, he preferred mugs, expressive faces with grimaces...) In any case, you do not cast Donald Sutherland as a killer, it's ridiculous. You cast Lee Marvin or Jack Palance for that, they are more than Actors. I am not convinced of anything, all that Mr. Sutherland does in the whole movie is to stand frowned, teeth clenched, angry that her wife disappeared. And, if the start was so promising, the end it's absolutely disappointing. We discover that it was his wife the one who hired the killer and, in the last scene, the killer himself is shot. Probably by Santa Claus, because it's winter time...
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Missing Wife!
foxmasters17 February 2021
A man with a mysterious background, Mr. Mellory, whose thoughts are dark, lives a slow life with his wife, which is sometimes accompanied by murders and dinnerparties. At the same time, he is afraid of being killed himself. One day, when he returns, he notices, that his wife is not at home. She told him, that she perhaps would leave him one day. But he is not the type of letting her go - he begins to look for her.
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