By Richard Winters
My Rating: 4 out of 10
4-Word Review: Kidnappers can’t get along.
A teenage girl (Pamela Franklin) is kidnapped by a group of professional killers who then demand a large ransom from her rich father (Hugues Wanner). Things deteriorate as the criminals begin fighting amongst themselves and eventually it all goes awry, which leads to ironic results.
Writer/director Hubert Cornfield creates a picturesque setting and a certain new wave look that subtly runs through it. The music has a new age sound, which helps to create a kind of metaphysical mindset. There are also some good camera angles and interesting edits, so it takes you awhile before you realize that this is just a lot to do about nothing.
The caper itself is too general and formulaic and in the end makes it a lame excuse for a movie. The infighting by the criminals is not that interesting. The characters are so one-dimensional that you really don’t care what happens to them. The twist ending is not that clever and in many ways simply signifies what a waste of time this really is.
Marlon Brando overacts with a part that doesn’t require it. He uses the hip lingo of the day like ‘freaky’ and ‘man’, which doesn’t really mesh with the middle-aged man that he was. His blonde wig looks awful and his trendy clothes including his big belt buckle gives him too much of a kitschy appearance. The attempts at making him a sort of anti-hero that is brave, sensitive, and concerned for his victim’s welfare despite being one of the perpetrators doesn’t work and makes the character a cliché like everything else in the movie.
Franklin is wasted. She goes through all the expected emotions of a kidnap victim, but barely utters a word in the process.
The neighboring policeman is put in to help create some tension, but ends up being annoying instead. However, Jess Hahn as Wally is quite good playing the film’s only believable character. He has very much of an average Joe type of looks and seems at the start to have an insignificant role, but ends up being the only one that holds it up together while the rest become whacked out.
Despite an interesting cast that also includes Rita Moreno and Richard Boone I found this to be a very cardboard thriller that runs out of gas after an okay beginning.
My Rating: 4 out of 10
Released: February 19, 1969
Runtime: 1Hour 33Minutes
Director: Hubert Cornfield
Available: VHS, DVD