This movie's not that bad


I just got done watching this is part of the Paul Newman collection from WB - I was expecting a dull, talky "thriller," but instead I got a pretty good thriller. Newman is watchable as always, although he's not given much to work with as far as characterization. It's the character's amoral nature that comes through: He nearly kills a totally innocent mail carrier just as part of a spy operation, and then later he suggests killing his boss in order to save himself.

Some other interesting touches:
James Mason saying he won't have to "play the pompous ass anymore. I'll get to be myself for a change." Maybe Mason himself was tired of playing "pompous asses?"

I also liked the trick on the traditional spy thriller that had the villains willing to walk away from the whole situation and let the "good guys" go free. And the "hero" was willing to go along with it, too!

What's the Spanish for drunken bum?

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I liked the film a lot, however I thought the ending was kind of lame, almost like Huston was thinking. . . . where am I going to take this now. . . I think the ending could have been better.

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I never thought I'd get a reply to this so soon. Like I said in the original post, I actually liked the ending a lot.

What's the Spanish for drunken bum?

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He took it to the same place that Bagley, author of the book, "The Freedom Trap" that this film is based upon did.

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Yeah! I just watched it and thought it was good. I can't believe how many negative reviews this film gets. I happen to love both the outlandish superspy films and the dour, understated spy films. And given that this is one of the latter types, it's quite good.

Interestingly, that scene where Newman escapes from the house and is being chased by the dog is awfully similar to what the Coen brothers did in "No Country For Old Men". They must have seen that and thought they'd do their own version of it. Terrific scene.

As for the ending, I thought it was good simply because it was so unconventional having the "hero" just deciding to let the "bad guys" go. Why does that bug so many people? I think it's great because we have a guy in Newman's character who just thinks 'to hell with it, there's no point in killing more people'. I love that.

I'd definitely recommend this film to people who like slower moving, thoughtful spy movies rather than the kiss, kiss, bang, bang silly stuff.

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Just watched it. I too thought this would be slow and talky but when I saw Walter Hill's name in the credits I knew I was in good hands. The prison escape sequence is awesome, the whole time I was thinking "how are they going to do this"--fun, underrated movie.

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Contains spoilers.
I watched this by accident, didn't know what to expect and ended up enjoying it and being held by it to the end.
I liked the ending up to the point where the woman wasted the "bad guys". I think it would have been far more satisfying if all of them had indeed just walked away from it.

And just think what the Coens could have done with Percy Herbert.

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Wow that dog chase was awfully similar, I did not realize that. I don't recall there being any background music during that scene as well which makes it more similar. On a side note, I found the scene where newman books it out of the mansion by jumping out of the second floor window to be quite humorous. I kept rewinding it and saying "ouch" that had to hurt like a mother. The stunt mans legs look like linguini as he touches the ground, and then to top it off his chest and face slams into ground as his hands look helpless. Th sound of the fall and replaying it over and over again was pretty funny in a painful kind of way.

The car chase is def up there on the best chases of all time. Real cars, real stunts and real crashes. Some of the steady cam shots like of the front tires sliding away are brilliant. Did not expect an exciting scene like that.

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there's some eerie minimalist music playing during the dog chase scene


http://www.last.fm/music/Disuse

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Minor spoilers
I like the nasty cynical edge style of some of the scenes. Newman's character doesn't seem to really care about doing whatever he has to do. hat's why I liked the groin kick followed by pistol whip of the woman.

Really appreciated that the Mercedes didn't burst into flames after plumeting off the cliff (God I hate cliches!)

Liked the way Mason and his buddy were shot. Especially liked the way Mrs Smith put a few extra rounds into them in order to make sure and that the strikes of the bullets appeared somewhat believable.

I like the way Newman beats then drowns the dog. These days a character can kill a hundred people, but, Hollywood won't allow a scene where a dog gets hurt. I don't think we can say that the Coens were inspired by this since No Country was filmed exactly as Cormac McCarthy wrote it - including the dog scene.

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Well Mr McLaurel I agree with you that the movie is kind of interesting in a perversly historical way considering the talent that was involved in putting it all together (top notch cast, Walter Hill, John Huston et al). I did like the English and Irish locations. But the whole thing lacks any sort of cohesive life; it's as if it was still born.

Consider:
Newman's character Reardon- absolutely no backgrounding. An American working for British Intelligence? Perhaps? And that Australian accent???

British Intelligence - the economy model! 3 people work there including Reardon?? When Mackintosh is dead and Mrs Smith (the PA) goes "out in the field" (as you do), who's answering the phone?? I mean OK this isn't a James Bond film, but even John Le Carre's Circus had a few more people in the corridors than this down market scene.

Dominque Sanda is gorgeous, but she appeared to sleepwalk through her part, only waking up and displaying some emotion (almosy humourously so) in the last minute of the film.

The soundtrack??? It's like Maurice Jarre attempted a jaunty little reboot of the Anton Karas Third Man theme. But it just doesn't fit a "suspense" film of this nature. I reckon it would have better suited a "Carry On..." comedy.

I could go on, but...! It just goes to show that all the creative talent in the world can't guarantee a successful film.

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