Tag Archives: Elliot Gould

The Silent Partner (1978)

silent partner 2

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 8 out of 10

4-Word Review: Bank teller outsmarts robber.

This is an ingenious, slick, and really fun caper movie that puts a whole new spin on the old bank robbery theme. Here Elliot Gould plays a bank teller named Miles who, by sheer accident, becomes aware that a man named Harry (Christopher Plummer) is planning on robbing his bank. Miles decides to take the money from his till and put it into his lunchbox. Then when Harry robs the bank it is actually Miles the teller that gets the money while Harry goes away with very little. Yet this is only the beginning as Harry and Miles continue to play a crafty game of cat- and-mouse, which leads from one interesting twist to another.

Gould plays against type here and he does quite well. Usually he tends to be loud, argumentative, and anti-authority, but here he is quiet and unassuming. It’s the type of character you think wouldn’t have the guts to pull off what he does, which makes him all the more intriguing. In fact he just keeps surprising you all the way along, stringing the very psychotic and dangerous Harry in ways you couldn’t imagine. It is only his final move that seems to be testing the odds too much.

Plummer makes a terrific adversary. He is dashing and handsome as ever, but with an intensely sinister edge and an icy cold gaze.

Susannah York as Miles’ love interest Julie is wasted. Her character seems thrown in for good measure and at no time seems interesting. There is no chemistry between them and the whole love angle is forced and unnecessary. Celine Lomez, as Elaine the other female character, is different. She is stunningly beautiful and much cagier. She plays between both Harry and Miles and you are never sure which side she is really on. Her acting isn’t spectacular, but she is sensual and has a nice French accent. Her gory and gruesome demise though is unwarranted and works as a drawback to the movie.

There are a few other negatives about the film. One is the drab setting that takes place in Toronto and yet we hardly see any of it. Having the bank itself set inside a boring shopping mall is not too visually exciting. The same goes for Miles’s bland apartment. The supporting characters, especially the other bank employees are incredibly dull. Their lines and basic presence all seem to have been written in simply as ‘filler’. A young John Candy plays one of these co-workers and his comic talents are wasted.

Still the story is creative and has enough unique twists that it overcomes the technical shortcomings and manages to be a highly entertaining flick.

silent partner 1

My Rating: 8 out of 10

Released: September 7, 1978

Runtime: 1Hour 46Minutes

Rated R

Director: Daryl Duke

Studio: EMC

Available: VHS, DVD, Amazon Instant Video

Little Murders (1971)

little murders

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 7 out of 10

4-Word Review:  They shoot at people.

Patsy (Marcia Rodd) is a woman who practices the art of positive thinking despite her dismal urban surroundings. She meets Alfred (Elliot Gould) who is very detached and dropped out of society and no longer shares any hope in humanity, but she decides to marry him anyways and ‘reform’ him.

For a black comedy this one has got to be tops. It stays on a grimly humorous level from the beginning and doesn’t let up especially with its wicked ending. Everything gets the offbeat treatment and if it starts out conventional it is soon turned upside down until it is absurd. The funniest scenes involve Patsy taking Alfred home to meet her parents where things become very odd until they are absolutely hilarious. The wedding scene is also a classic where Donald Sutherland plays a hippie minister and gives a speech about masturbation that is as outrageously funny today as it was back then. Yet it is the surreal scene of seeing Alfred riding a subway car while dripping with blood and nobody saying anything that leaves the strongest impact. The targets that this film satirizes are just as potent today as they were back then. The film also manages to dig a bit deeper than most and successfully analyzes the myriad of societal complexities while not siding with any particular social movement or philosophy.

Rodd is terrific in her film debut and Gould is good in a surprisingly restrained performance. Jon Korkes is also excellent as an infantile adult son in an over-the-top send-up of grown children still living at home. However, it is Vincent Gardenia that ultimately steals it playing a hard-liner conservative father who finds himself becoming literally imprisoned by the increasingly insane world around him.

Although still potent this outrageous story seems to have lost some of its zing through the years and doesn’t seem to be as offbeat or ‘out there’ as it once did. It also lacks any type of cinematic flair and at times seems to be nothing more than a filmed stage play.

However, for fans of black comedy and relics of a bygone era it doesn’t come much better than this. Although it has softened a bit there are still enough bizarre and funny moments to please those with an acquired taste.

My Rating: 7 out of 10

Released: February 9, 1971

Runtime: 1Hour 50Minutes

Rated R

Director: Alan Arkin

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Available: VHS, DVD