By Richard Winters
My Rating: 5 out of 10
4-Word Review: Murder, mystery and sex.
A down-and-out private eye (Allen Garfield) becomes embroiled in a complex case involving murder, intrigue, and a lot of sex.
This is one drive-in flick that definitely does not skimp on the sex. Not only is there a lot of it, but it is very explicit and done in outlandish ways. One features a couple having sex during the national anthem, while another has Garfield having sex with a prostitute while in front of a picture of Jesus. The most notorious though involves Garfield making love to a dead body while ragtime music plays in the background.
Garfield is quite amusing as a character that is always running his mouth off about something although the excessive shots of his nude overweight, out-of-shape body is enough to make anyone sick. Paul Sorvino is also funny in a cameo bit as a policeman plagued with a terrible case of smoker’s cough.
Although she delivers her lines well Madeleine Le Roux as the female lead is not sexy at all. Her face resembles that of Cruella De Vil’s in the Disney version of 101 Dalmatians and her body is very flat making her nude scenes unexciting. She also doesn’t seem too young either. Certain camera angles make her look like a youthful 30 while others give the impression that she is pushing 45.
The film is directed by John G. Avildsen who later went on to do Rocky and The Karate Kid. You can also spot famous schlock director/producer Lloyd Kaufman with a full head of curly hair playing a hippie.
For fans of low-grade, T & A, drive-in fare this one pretty much hits the target and makes the most of its low budget, underground roots although it is unable to sustain the slam-bang funny pace that it has at the beginning with a second half that is not as outrageous or inspired.
My Rating 5 out of 10.
Released: August 17, 1971
Runtime: 1Hour 27Minutes
Director: John G. Avildsen
Studio: Cambist Films
Available: VHS, DVD, Amazon Instant Video
Posted in 70's Movies, Black Comedy, Drive-In/T & A, Low Budget, Movies Based on Novels, Movies that take place in the Big Apple, Movies with Nudity, Mystery, Offbeat, Sex
Tagged Allen Garfield, Entertainment, Madeleine Le Roux, Movies, Review
By Richard Winters
My Rating: 7 out of 10
4-Word Review: Convict becomes a stuntman.
Cameron (Steve Railsback) is on the run from the cops who unknowingly comes onto a movie set and inadvertently causes the death of one of the stuntmen. Eli Cross (Peter O’Toole) the film’s God-like director takes a liking to Cameron and decides to hire him on as the replacement stuntman. Cameron is initially reluctant as he has no experience, but decides it would make a good cover from the police who are still after him. He starts an affair with the film’s leading lady Nina (Barbara Hershey), but finds that it may be Cross that he should be the most afraid of and who may be planning to film Cameron’s death during a difficult underwater stunt in order to add realism.
This is another one of those film-within-a-film type movies with this one faring a bit better than the others. One of the best ingredients it has is showing the behind-the-scenes politics that go on during any film production as well as hitting-the-nail-on-the-head with its caricatures.
Railsback is fun in a rare leading role. The way he can get intense as well as convey the rugged, ragged personality of a war-weary veteran on the run and just trying to survive is completely on-target. His best moments are simply his frightened and confused facial expressions that he has while going through many of Eli’s elaborate stunt routines and not sure if he will be coming out of it alive or not.
O’Toole is in peak form and was nominated for the Academy Award playing an egotistical director, which he modeled after David Lean. Having a director make a film advocating the horrors of war and violence, but then beat-up or threaten numerous crew members any time they make a mistake is perfect irony. My favorite moment of his is when they are showing rushes of Nina’s scenes from that day to her parents and then to their shock he throws in a few scenes showing Nina naked and in bed with another man. Then the next day he informs Nina about it simply to upset her and get the needed reaction that he wanted for the scene.
Hershey is splendid as a Hollywood actress who at times is quite jaded while at other moments is very naïve, child-like and emotionally fragile. Allen Garfield as the film’s exasperated and beleaguered screenwriter is also quite good. I also liked Chuck Bail who essentially plays himself as a stunt coordinator who tries to teach Cameron the fundamentals of the business.
Dominic Frontiere’s booming orchestral score is quite distinctive and at times even stirring particularly during the chase sequence. There is an abundance of ironies and twists that keep things interesting throughout and at points a bit surreal, but it’s missing that one final delicious twist or payoff and has an ending that seems a bit like a copout.
My Rating: 7 out of 10
Released: June 27, 1980
Runtime: 2Hours 11Minutes
Director: Richard Rush
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Available: VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video
Posted in 80's Movies, Action/Adventure, Drama, Dry Humor, Movies Based on Novels, Movies with Nudity
Tagged Allen Garfield, Barbara Hershey, Chuck Bail, Entertainmnet, Movies, Peter O'Toole, Review, Steve Railsback