Tag Archives: Terence Stamp

Legal Eagles (1986)

legal eagles

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 5 out of 10

4-Word Review: Searching for stolen paintings.

Successful district attorney Tom Logan (Robert Redford) suddenly finds himself in a big mess when defense lawyer Laura Kelly (Debra Winger) approaches him in regards to her quirky client Chelsea Deardon (Daryl Hannah). She feels that Chelsea is innocent of the charges against her and hopes to have them dropped before it goes to court. When Tom looks into the case he finds that there’s much more to it than initially assumed, which leads the three into danger, stolen paintings, murder and even a weird love triangle.

If you are expecting anything having to do with a legal drama then you’ll be highly disappointed as there is very little time spent in the actual courtroom. Instead you get what amounts to an ‘80s action flick with explosions, car chases and even shootouts as these two lawyers go through things that no other lawyer in the history of the universe has ever went through either before or after.

The main selling point, and the only thing that actually works, is the casting. Redford with his laid back style is terrific in this type of comedy and I enjoyed the way he tries to remain cool-under-pressure despite being exasperated with two very kooky females, who both have an interest in him, coming at him from both sides. Winger is fun too as a well-meaning young attorney who tries hard, but still seems a bit ‘rough-around-the-edges’. Hannah is also perfectly cast in a role that works well with her slightly flaky, free-spirited persona and she even has a scene where she performs a fire-laden performance art piece that she wrote herself.

The first hour has a nice balance between the interpersonal relationships of the three as well as an intriguing mystery, but the second half leans too much into the action and gets overblown. The supposedly ‘exciting’ finale only helped to get me bored and annoyed. It’s the chemistry of the three stars and the romantic entanglements that ensued between them that had me interested and are what made the plot unique. The film should’ve emphasized this area more and even played it up. Having things end up working out so conveniently between the three despite the fact that both women were for a time seemingly competing for Redford’s affections misses out on a lot of potential fireworks and amusingly comical scenarios.

Familiar faces pop up in minor roles including a young Christine Baranski as a fledgling member of Tom’s legal team as well as Terence Stamp in a role that ends up being so small and insignificant I was surprised he agreed to take it. The film also features Rod Stewart’s hit song ‘Love Touch’ that climbed to number 6 on the pop charts, but isn’t heard until the very end when it gets played over the closing credits.

My Rating: 5 out of 10

Released: June 20, 1986

Runtime: 1Hour 56Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Ivan Reitman

Studio: Universal

Available: VHS, DVD, Amazon Instant Video

The Collector (1965)

the collector 2

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 8 out of 10

4-Word Review: Collecting women like butterflies.

Freddie (Terence Stamp) is a withdrawn loner who collects butterflies for a hobby. One day he manages to win a lot of money in a football pool and uses it buy an old, isolated house in the English countryside. The place has a very large cellar, which gives him the idea that it can be used as a prison. It is then that he decides to kidnap beautiful art student Miranda (Samantha Eggar). He keeps her in the cellar, but fixes it up making it seem almost like an apartment. He treats her with the upmost respect and even knocks before entering her room. He buys her art supplies so she can continue her work and makes an agreement with her that he will let her go after 4-weeks, but hopes in between then that she will fall in love with him.

The film puts an interesting spin on the old ‘psycho kidnapping a beautiful woman’ theme and for the most part succeeds. The viewer ends up feeling almost as sorry for Freddie as they do his victim as it becomes clear that through his social awkwardness he is in even more of a prison than she. The way the two try to communicate and connect, which only ends up driving the them further apart is fascinating and their contrasting views about the book ‘Catcher in the Rye’ as well as the paintings of Picasso are equally revealing.

Stamp gives one of his greatest performances in his already illustrious career playing a character who weaves from being menacing to vulnerable and childlike. Eggar makes for an appealing victim and apparently turned Stamp down years earlier when he had asked for her date while the two were students in acting school.

the collector 4

William Wyler’s direction is perfect as he wisely decides to pull back without adding any unnecessary Hitchcock touches and thus allowing the interactions between the two characters to propel the film. His superimposed, colorful shots of butterflies seen over the closing credits are a nice added touch. My only minor grievance is the Maurice Jarre score, which seemed too melodic without enough of the dark foreboding undertones that music for a thriller should have.

If you’re looking for the conventional thriller you may be disappointed as the emphasis is more on the psychological than the suspenseful. There are a few good tense moments including Miranda’s final attempt to escape during a nighttime rain storm, but for the most part the compelling element comes from the way these two multi-layered people deal with each other and ultimately reveal things about themselves that they didn’t know existed. The story also makes an excellent point of how everyone to a certain degree is trapped in a prison and the challenging if not impossible effort it can sometimes be to bond with others especially when reaching across different social-economic lines. The only thing that does get ruined is the ending, which no longer has the novelty or shock value that it once did.

the collector 3

My Rating: 8 out of 10

Released: June 17, 1965

Runtime: 1Hour 59Minutes

Not Rated

Director: William Wyler

Studio: Columbia Pictures

Available: VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video

The Mind of Mr. Soames (1970)

the mind of mr soames 1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: Man child faces world.

Due to a complication at birth a man (Terence Stamp) is born into a coma and for thirty years he has stayed that way. Now due to medical advancement they can stimulate the part of the brain that is asleep, thus allowing him to awaken into consciousness. The problem is that he will be a virtual infant and have to taught at a much quicker pace than a normal child.

Outside of a few implausibility’s the story is handled in an overall realistic manner. The pacing is tight and compact and the cinematography by Billy Williams is outstanding with excellent framing. Stamp plays the part with conviction and overall makes a believable grown up baby.

The story itself is much more complex than it initially looks as it takes a good examination into the science approach vs the humanistic one. It shows how truly complicated the human being is and the great balance it takes to successfully raise one. It also takes a few good potshots at the obtrusiveness of the media.

The stories most interesting angle though comes when the adult child escapes and goes out into the real world where we see what a tight inner fabric society is and the complete inability that the ‘pure’ human, with no prior connections to it would have.

However, in the end this movie is a disappointment as it gives us no conclusion and we never see the end result. Was this man child successfully raised? Which approach was the best and did he ever fully adapt to the world around him? We never know because it never tells us. The whole idea for the film looks to have been made only to bring up certain issues with no attempt at a complete story.

the mind of mr soames 2

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Released: October 12, 1970

Runtime: 1Hour 32Minutes

Rated GP

Director: Alan Cooke

Studio: Columbia Pictures

Available: DVD-R