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The Spanish Prisoner (1997)

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An employee of a corporation with a lucrative secret process is tempted to betray it. But there's more to it than that.

Director:

David Mamet

Writer:

David Mamet
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Popularity
4,933 ( 569)
3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Campbell Scott ... Joe Ross
Ricky Jay ... George Lang
Rebecca Pidgeon ... Susan Ricci
Richard L. Friedman Richard L. Friedman ... Businessman
Ben Gazzara ... Klein
Jerry Graff Jerry Graff ... Businessman
G. Roy Levin G. Roy Levin ... Businessman
Hilary Hinckle Hilary Hinckle ... Resort Concierge
David Pittu ... Resort Manager
Steve Martin ... Jimmy Dell
Christopher Kaldor Christopher Kaldor ... Dell's Bodyguard
Felicity Huffman ... McCune
Gary McDonald Gary McDonald ... Ticket Agent
Mike Robinson Mike Robinson ... Security Person (as Michael Robinson)
Olivia Tecosky Olivia Tecosky ... Flight Attendant
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Storyline

Joe Ross is a rising star. He's designed a process that will make his company millions. He wants a bonus for this work, but fears his boss will stiff him. He meets a wealthy stranger, Jimmy Dell, and they strike up an off-kilter friendship. When the boss seems to set Ross up to get nothing, he seeks Dell's help. Then he learns Dell is not what he seems, so he contacts an FBI agent through his tightly-wound assistant, Susan Ricci. The FBI asks him to help entrap Dell. He accepts, a sting is arranged, but suddenly it's he who's been conned out of the process and framed for murder. Bewildered and desperate, he enlists Susan's aid to prove his innocence. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Who can you trust with a billion dollar idea? See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements including tension, some violent images and brief language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 May 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La prisonnière espagnole See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$124,011, 5 April 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$10,200,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Mamet's real-life wife since 1991, Rebecca Pidgeon , portrayed the disingenuously ingenuous Susan. See more »

Goofs

When Susan bikes up to Joe's apartment, we see her through the window. All the trees are without leaves, suggesting late autumn, winter, or early spring. However, in the rest of the film, the trees are in full leaf (which also conflicts with the supposed March time-frame). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Airport Security: What is the purpose of your trip, please?
Joe Ross: Business.
Airport Security: Thank you and welcome to St. Estéphe.
See more »


Soundtracks

I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now
Written by Frank R. Adams (as Frank Adams), William M. Hough (as Will Hough),
Joseph E. Howard (as Joseph Howard) and Harold Orlob
Arranged by Play-Rite Music Rolls, Inc.
Played at the carousel
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Runs rings around `The Usual Suspects'
6 October 1999 | by SpleenSee all my reviews

You heard me. Even if you prefer, say, Kevin Spacey's performance in `The Usual Suspects' to Campbell Scott's here (to each his own), at least this is a film that plays fair with us. We begin at what is, from the protagonist's point of view, the beginning of the tale; things happen that are interesting in their own right and not simply because we know that there's meant to be a mystery lurking somewhere; we are given information as we go along; and later revelations actually explain earlier puzzles. Mamet doesn't force us through a maze. Rather, he lets us watch someone else walk through the maze, and it's a pleasure.

I'm determined not to spoil this pleasure, so I'm unable to say anything at all, really, about what the movie's about. I can't even tell you to what the title refers. I can't even tell you whether it refers to something peripheral or central. I'd better watch my mouth. As the slogan of a poster in the film says, in letters screaming above a drawing of a torpedoed battleship, `Somebody talked.' Not me.

All of the cast turn in good performances - that's right, all of them. I'm tired of remarks about how Rebecca Pidgeon got her role because she's the director's wife. It could well be true, and it could also be true (for all I know) that she's an actress of minor abilities, but her abilities are more than sufficient to make us believe in the character she plays here. How, exactly, is she so very different from Campbell Scott, or from Steve Martin, who, everyone will surely concede, gave the performance of his life? This just isn't the kind of story suited to emoting-while-pretending-not-to acting. All of the characters must dissemble in front of at least one other of the characters (THAT gives nothing away, trust me), and all of them are just a little bit unsettling.

I'll close by putting in a word for Carter Burwell's score. The music consists of a single labyrinthine tune, which twists about until we THINK we've caught it, and then stops: it provides a perfect thumb-nail sketch of the film as a whole. Also like the film as a whole, it's simply fun. Unlike so many directors Mamet doesn't act as if he's working in a disreputable genre, in which it's somehow bad form to allow the audience to have too good a time.


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