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Last Embrace (1979)

Harry breaks down and loses his job after his wife is assassinated - could it be his turn next ?

Director:

Jonathan Demme

Writers:

Murray Teigh Bloom (novel), David Shaber (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Roy Scheider ... Harry Hannan
Janet Margolin ... Ellie Fabian
John Glover ... Richard Peabody
Sam Levene ... Sam Urdell
Charles Napier ... Dave Quittle
Christopher Walken ... Eckart
Jacqueline Brookes Jacqueline Brookes ... Dr. Coopersmith
David Margulies ... Rabbi Josh Drexel
Andrew Duncan ... Bernie Meckler
Marcia Rodd ... Adrian
Gary Goetzman ... Tour Guide (as Gary Getzman)
Lou Gilbert Lou Gilbert ... Rabbi Jacobs
Mandy Patinkin ... First Commuter
Max Wright ... Second Commuter
Sandy McLeod Sandy McLeod ... Dorothy Hannan
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Storyline

When his wife is killed in a restaurant shoot-out, intelligence man Harry Hannan (Roy Scheider) has a breakdown and finds that his department doesn't want him back. Someone's trying to kill him and it could be them, though a cryptic Jewish death-threat suggests there's something else going on. His only ally seems to be mousy Ellie Fabian (Janet Margolin) who has managed to move into his New York apartment. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It begins with an ancient warning. It ends at the edge of Niagara Falls. In between there are 5 murders. Solve the mystery. Or die trying. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 May 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Det sjette offer See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,537,125
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jonathan Demme: as a man on a train. See more »

Goofs

In the scene in the synagogue, Harry appears to be going through a register book when he finds his grandfather's name. Actually, he's reading a tractate of the Talmud, which is entirely in Aramaica and Hebrew - and he's holding it upside down. See more »

Quotes

Dave Quittle: [following Harry around tombstones until he's discovered] Harry, if I wanted you dead, do you think I'd be walking around here.
See more »

Connections

References Vertigo (1958) See more »

Soundtracks

The Forties
Music by Miklós Rózsa
Arranged by Joe Reisman
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Embracing Hitchcock
21 December 2012 | by tomsviewSee all my reviews

Many directors have tried their hand at a "Hitchcock" - that unique blend of romance, glamour and suspense combined with great stars, and shaped by a distinctive directorial style. Of all the efforts, I have always liked Jonathan Demme's "Last Embrace" best. Did he get the mix right? Well not exactly, and critics at the time were quick to point out where he had missed the mark. However, instead of just being a flawed Hitchcock homage, I think "Last Embrace" stands up well as an enjoyable movie in its own right.

Harry Hannan, a secret service agent, has fallen foul of both the government agency he works for, and a mysterious killer who leaves notes for intended victims written in ancient Aramaic. He receives help from a woman, Ellie Fabian, who he initially finds annoying and intrusive, but later, his feelings for her change. The plot is complex and contains many layers. It features an ending at Niagara Falls that has strong echoes of Hitchcock's classic "North By Northwest".

It seems Demme had doubts about the finished film. He felt he had tried so hard to get the Hitchcock style that he had neglected content. But surely he is too hard on himself as he made up for any shortcomings by delivering a film of considerable style and mood. Based on a novel, "The 13th Man" by Murray Teigh Bloom, Demme and his team created a new story around the basic plot with the result that the film, in my opinion, emerged as the superior work.

Demme called on the services of Miklos Rozsa for the music. Rozsa scored only one movie for Hitchcock - "Spellbound" - but his style was distinctive and the score for "Last Embrace" brings to mind that famous romantic thriller.

Where "Last Embrace" lost out in comparison to the great Hitchcock films such as "Spellbound", "Notorious", "North by Northwest" and "Vertigo" was not only in the absence of a little more humour but also in the weight of its stars.

Hitchcock's best films featured stars that were already Hollywood icons - James Stewart, Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman and Grace Kelly. Although Roy Scheider, was a fine actor he was never an icon. On the other hand, Janet Margolin is so little known that comparisons with Bergman, Kelly or even Kim Novak are superfluous, she also projected a more neurotic edge than Hitchcock's cool blondes. But she was beautiful and talented. I still remember in 1993 being shocked to see her name on Premiere's list of actors who had died that year - she was only 50. I think she brought a lot to this movie especially when it is seen simply as an intriguing and well-made thriller.

Demme has not repeated the Hitchcock homage, but has gone on to hone his own distinctive directorial style - "Silence of the Lambs" gained him an Academy Award - one prize Hitchcock never received. "Last Embrace" is not easy to find these days but let's hope that right now, somewhere in a studio warehouse, the masters are being dusted off ready for a belated, but well-deserved DVD release.


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