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1. Death Wish 2
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2. Death Wish
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3. Death Wish 3
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4. The Mechanic
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5. The Sentinel
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6. Chato's Land
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7. Parting Shots
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8. Lawman
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9. I'll Never Forget What's 'is Name
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10. Scorpio
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11. The Big Sleep
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12. The Sentinel
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13. The Big Sleep

1. Death Wish 2
Director: Michael Winner
list price: $14.95
our price: $13.46
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Asin: B0000YEEQM
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 6691
Average Customer Review: 3.45 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars perfect revenge movie
Death Wish was an excellent movie that told the story of mild mannered common man Paul Kersey driven to become a vigilante after the murder of his wife and rape of his daughter. Death Wish is very artistic and was a hit that spawned 4 sequels. Death Wish 2 set the pattern for the other movies in the series and is a different type of film from the first. The second Death Wish falls into the category of revenge films and has a gritty look to it that captures the rawness of it's subject. Some have complained about the look of the film, but it serves to make it much more visceral from the first film and one of the grittiest films ever made. There's a disturbing snuff film/documentary feel about Death Wish 2 which both repulses and transfixes, and at the same time the film also works on a much more unreal level as a revenge fantasy.
In the first film Kersey never catches the thugs who destroyed his family, but in Death Wish 2 his revenge isn't just aimed at random criminals, but at specific thugs responsible for his daughter's death. The first Death Wish was about Kersey's transformation into a vigilante, but Death Wish 2 is about hunting down specific guilty criminals and seeing that they pay for their crimes. There have been many revenge films, but there's just something much more satisfying about the way justice is served in the Death Wish series than in other films. William Lustig's Vigilante is another good film of this type as is The Exterminator, but Death Wish 2, like the rest of the series, really provides the audience with a satisfying feeling of justice. The combination of the hyper real and the fantastic make Death Wish 2 compelling viewing. As a cinematic revenge fantasy it's the best of it's kind.

3-0 out of 5 stars A sequel far from equal to the first.
For some reason it took 8 to 9 years for there to be a sequel made to the movie that most people associate with Charles Bronson. It wasn't worth the wait. Even revisiting the movie on DVD (sadly full frame, at least they could have restored it to its proper aspect ratio) did not improve my original thoughts on this follow up. Death Wish 2 is to Death Wish what Jaws 2 was to Jaws, a sequel that attempts to pass itself off as a continuation of the first film but largely recycles its plot and most memorable moments. Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) is now living in Los Angeles and he has had his still mentally withdrawn (and actually younger looking) daughter Carol moved to a nearby facility. Evidently her husband left her, as that character is not mentioned this time out, even in passing. When Kersey and his new girlfriend (played by Bronson's real life wife Jill Ireland) take Carol out for some quality family time, Paul is attacked by muggers who steal his wallet. Of course Kersey gives chase and manages to pound one mugger against a wall, but they still have his wallet - which contains his address and, of course, the muggers are gunning for revenge. This is obviously meant to recreate (or homage) the set-up for the attack by a trio of thugs who get the Kersey home address at the supermarket in the first Death Wish. The muggers attack the Kersey household, sexually assaulting both the housekeeper as well as Kersey's daughter (again), both of whom die. The major difference from the first movie is that Kersey is there and thus knows just who to hunt down after a little alone time. In the first Death Wish it was a business trip to Tuscon, in Death Wish 2 it's a weekend at a friend's rustic cabin. The rest of the movie is basically Bronson wandering around the seedier areas of Hollywood until he finds his prey - that and avoiding his girlfriend while trying to keep her clueless about what he is doing at night. Death Wish 2 delivers on the violence and sleazy exploitation, but it misses the mark in even attempting to create a compelling story. Despite there being ample oppurtunity to do so. Some Bronson fans will no doubt want this, put it remains a poor follow up to a truly great movie.

2-0 out of 5 stars A real Winner
Not sure where to begin with Death Wish 2. Significantly, it was directed by Michael Winner, who directed the first and would go on to direct the amazing third entry in this series about 'bleeding heart liberal' architect Paul Kersey and his vigilante side job.

Paul Kersey now lives in sunny Los Angeles, which like New York is depicted as a pit of human filth and depravity. The incredible cynicism of the filmmakers begins right away as Kersey's housemaid and daughter--who, remember, was violently raped in the original--are brutaly raped, with the maid murdered. Then Kersey's daughter is taken away, raped again, and decides to jump out a window rather than endure the rest of the film. Kersey then puts down his slide ruler and blueprints and takes up his old hobby of blowing away criminal scum.

The main difference between Part 2 and the original, besides an even deeper cynicism, a lower budget, and overall abysmal effort by all involved, is that Bronson actually hunts down the individuals responsible for these acts of malfeasance. His behavior now flat-out pathological, he rents a cheap office in a bad part of LA, using it as a home base for his vigilante operations. Donning ski cap and dark clothes and packing heat, he roams the streets of LA, looking for revenge.

Even the tagline is noteworthy:

Bronson's on the loose again! Seems to suggest that, in effect, it didn't matter who Bronson was playing, because 'he' was on the loose again!

Overall, it's bad. Very, very bad. Part 3 is bad, but it has other things going for it, namely that it cannot be taken seriously for a moment and it knows it, the tongue so firmly in cheek that it becomes an incredible guilty pleasure and one of the best bad movies of the 80s, perhaps ever. But Part 2, for the most part, is an exploitation movie. The film looks cheap, grimy, and rushed. It can't even succeed as a bad movie, which is pretty depressing. It feels seedy, right down to the very grainy film stock and washed out look to the picture. And to top it off, Jimmy Page contributes one of the most appalling scores I've heard in a movie of any genre. Not even his score for Part 3 was this embarassing. And yes, it is THE Jimmy Page.

As for Bronson, he's particularly wooden in this one. Which may be appropriate as at this point, Kersey is less than sane.

But alas! The Death Wish flicks finally reappeared on DVD, right around the time of Bronson's death in 2003. Obviously recommended if you like, well, Death Wish movies, the DVDs are capable, if pretty bare bones. I would love to hear Michael Winner do a commentary track to discuss his state of mind when he directed this one.

4-0 out of 5 stars Character Development
Unlike the first part, Bronson has a strong unyielding character. He's not the least bit afraid to get the job done this time and doesn't stop untill he gets every single on of those creeps that killed his daughter. It really gives you a sense of staisfaction even if it's just a movie.

This is the cut version. Evidently, some people believe that we are not intelligent enough to view certain scenes. I think it's worth the time to search the internet for the full uncut version.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brutal reality
This film is the second appearance of the character of Paul Kersey, the liberal architect who became a vigilante after his daughter was assaulted (with spray paint) and his wife was killed while trying to stop the assault perpetrators. Kerseys daughter is visiting her father but is still in the state in which she was left in the first film, only she seems to be happier. Kersey takes his daughter and his girlfriend to a fair, then goes to get ice cream. But it seems that he is the only man in the world who can get mugged during such an activity; a gang with a kingpin played by Lawrence Fishburn steals his wallet. He chases after them and stops, but this is definitely not the last he hears of them as they use his ID to find his home then rape his maid; then he returns with his daughter and they knock him out, kidnap his daughter and rape her. She dies by throwing herself out a window. And so the plot is set for Charles Bronson's character to avenge his daughter and reenter the vigilante lifestyle.

I very much enjoyed this movie, from seeing a movie shows reality in a form that's so blunt it offends many people, to the delivery of such lines as "Do you believe in Jesus...well now your going to meet him."

In this movie, unlike its predecessor, Kersey actually knows who he is hunting, and he does not to bother those who he did not see in the apartment, while in the first movie he simply capped those who tried to mug him, or in one case a gang who was harassing a middle aged man. Rather than simply being a vigilante, Bronson is now also playing an avenger.

There is another change in Kersey in this movie; he no longer is reluctant to kill. Granted that went away in the second half of the first movie but in the sequel that reluctance is even less. Kersey now delivers lines to his enemies before doing away with them, and does it as though it's the most natural thing in the world. Having Bronson play the protagonist really aids this effect; with is calm voice he can make statements in a straightforward and threatening manner but at the same time not show any signs that he has lost his cool. As though dispatching criminals and antagonizing them were just a normal part of life for him, oh wait, it is lol.

The film that was actually released in theatres is different from the original version in terms of graphic rape scenes. The MPAA was going to give it an X rating but gave it an R after the movie was toned down.

See Lawrence Fishburn playing a rapist known as Cutter; he doesn't have quite the same effect as the paint fetish guys from DW but he's still pretty sadistic. ... Read more

2. Death Wish
Director: Michael Winner
list price: $19.99
our price: $15.99
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Asin: B0000541AN
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 3250
Average Customer Review: 4.16 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (45)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good movie. Could have been great.
This movie could have been a lot better if it had a more competant director. Today it looks dated in places, and some of the dialogue delivery approaches camp at times (again, blame Mr Winner). Plot: after his wife and daughter are attacked by muggers (one being Jeff Goldblum)and Bronsons wife is stomped to death and his daughter raped and obscenely "tagged" with a can of spray paint, architect & Korean war conscientious objector Bronson acquires a gun on a business trip to Arizona and returns home to New York to embark on a one man vigilante rampage blasting street scum into oblivion. Bronson and Vincent Gardenia both give good perfomances, and the rape scene still has the power to jolt you out of your seat, but every time I see DEATH WISH I keep thinking of how it could be updated and remade... better. Still the fun of the series is to cheer Bronson on whenever he wastes some scumbag. This was the precursor to such revenge flicks as I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE and MS .45.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Dark Knight.
It's hard to remember now, but there was a time when Michael Winner was just another director, one who produced some decent b-movies before having a freak hit that caught the mood of America at the time. 'Death Wish' was the hit - it elevated Charles Bronson to iconhood, and even today Winner's increasingly-laughable films have 'From the Director of 'Death Wish'' on the posters. This is the closet he ever got to creating a classic piece of cinema. This is based on a book, although the emphasis has been changed. Whereas the 'hero' of the novel was presented as a dangerous man who had eventually lost all reason, here, Bronson is basically Batman - Dirty Harry without restraint. As such, it's ambivalent. On the one hand, there's a primal kick in watching Bronson blow away thugs, but on the other hand it's hard to believe that real-life would be so clear-cut, and subsequent witch-hunts of paedophiles, satanists and rock fans show that it's hard to put rage back into the bottle from whence it came. The sequels became increasingly-harder to take seriously, and the bazooka-toting 'Death Wish 3' is a modern classic of silliness. As with all Winner's films, it looks like a television movie, and as with all Bronson's films, Bronson is Bronson - an older, grizzled tamplate for Schwarzenegger et al, he acts not as Paul Kersy but as Charles Bronson, movie star. It is, at the very least, interesting.

4-0 out of 5 stars Your Typical Evening On A Saturday!

5-0 out of 5 stars carbolic acid
This is the original in the Death Wish series,and its still the best.Paul Kersey(Bronson)is devastated after his wife and daughter are raped and killed,he goes on a killing rampage of revenge.As he dispatches each thug with his own brand of justice,we cheer their deaths from Kersey`s trusty 32 caliber revolver.This film is a favorite of vigilante justice supporters.

4-0 out of 5 stars CONTROVERSY IS GOOD.
I don't remember too many films from the 1970's the earned an entire OP/ED page in the N.Y. Times, but this urban classic did. Controversy proved to be good box office and Bronson became a superstar as Paul Kersey. DEATH WISH is a taunt thriller that sparked more than one water cooler discussion in 1974. Michael Winner worked this one into a poster child for street justice and inspired more than a few real life imitators (the ad campaign boasted: "Paul Kersey is going to kill 3 muggers tonight: One for his murdered wife, one for his raped daughter and one for you!"). What was more unfortunate is that DEATH WISH became a parody of itself with 4 awful sequels. Forgot the rest, cheer for Bronson here everytime he caps a bad guy. ... Read more

3. Death Wish 3
Director: Michael Winner
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Asin: B0000YEEQW
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 4001
Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (59)

You've got to give Michael Winner some credit. Critics may lambast his movies often enough, and sometimes with good reason, but at least they can be entertaining, especially the action pics that he did with Charles Bronson. DEATH WISH was a landmark box office hit, a taut thriller inspired to some extent by the firearm tactics of DIRTY HARRY and 7 years later, it spawned a sequel. As Bronson never tracked down the creeps who raped his daughter and killed his wife in DW1, in DW2, he actually does manage to nail the freaks who attack his daughter and housekeeper. DW3, for me, is a perfect end to the trilogy of Michael Winner vigilante flicks (although there were 2 more Death Wishes, albeit under different directors). As always, Chuck is taciturn as Paul Kersey, who kills more people than ever and weaselly character actor, Ed Lauter is fine as the lieutenant who wants to use Kersey to sort out a neighbourhood, and ultimately helps him clear the trash. A film like this is best expected as a fantasy. There's plenty of great action sequences such as the final battle on the streets when Kersey runs around mowing down his enemies, using machine guns, bazookas and a 'Wildey' Magnum handgun, and the bit when chief villain, Manny Fraker and his cronies chase him through the night. As a long-time Led Zep fan, I love Jimmy Page's heavy metal score and it's great to see an old 'grandad' buzz round the streets and blow away guys half his age!

having just watched this movie on TV the other night, and its upcoming release on DVD, prompted me to review this movie. And believe me it was not easy. On one hand, it's just a terrible movie.

Terrible plot, worse performances, characters that have no depth whatsoever, bad dialog, over the top violence... the list goes on and on. But if you can go into it without remotely taking it seriously, it's not too bad.

Bronson plays vigilante Paul Kersey, this time back in New York to take care of a friends affairs who was killed. The local police Captain knows full well who Kersey is, but rather than lock him up for his past crimes, he encourages him to go back to his vigilante ways, working for the police.

Kersey stays at his friends apartment building which is in a New York neighborhood that looks like something out of the post-apocyliptic future. Buidling are bombed out, trash is all around, and a ruthless street gang, painted it up with different color crayons, rules the streets.

Not much to guess here, Bronson is out to protect the neighborhoods residents and get the bad guys at all costs.

The movie is mind-numbingly stupid. The last 20 minutes or so is an all out battle with Kersey leading the residents against hundreds of gang members. One resident is armed with only a homemade zip gun. At one point he proclaims he has to go back and get more ammo. Evidently he doesn't notice the dozens of bodies of gang members lying around still clutching assault rifles.

Earlier on, Kersey not only mails away for a HUGE handgun, but also a rocket launcher!!! A freaking Rocket launcher...that Kersey picks up in a plain brown wrapper. Brilliant.

The end has Bronson blowing away the gang leader with that very rocket launcher, right out of his apratment wall. The leaders girlfriend, down on the street screams!!! Evidently she knows that was HER boyfriend, even though theres not enough of him left to even sweep up.

At that point, the gang just gives up. Ughhh.

Hey, just think of this as a live action cartoon.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cinematic Perfection
Ah, Death Wish 3! A larger body count than John Woo's "Hard Boiled" and perhaps the funniest movie ever made! "You don't really like you?" Bronson replies like a teddy bear: "No." What a crazy soundtrack by Jimmy Page...that crazy synth sound when Bronson pays in cash! And count all the times characters say "creep(s)" or "sonofab***h". For so many reasons, this is a movie that belongs in any person's vido library. It would have been nice if it got the Criterion Collection treatment...but hey, it's still great for the price. Having the DVD is nice because you can put the burning people and/or people jumping (or falling) from burning buildings on slow motion. And you notice things like the creep prancing around with a plunger! Just buy the darn doesn't get better than this: "Chicken's good. I like chicken." Totally Gonzo; totally Bronson!


5-0 out of 5 stars Bronson Kicks some Honey Buns
When the odds are against you, you can count on one man: Charles Bronson. Of the five 'Death Wish" movies I like this one the most. Bronson cleans up the neighborhood when some "creeps" decide to pick on our senior citizens. Yoy really have to like this outing. ... Read more

4. The Mechanic
Director: Michael Winner
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Asin: B00006FDAP
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 7660
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (24)

3-0 out of 5 stars CULT MOVIES 15
15. THE MECHANIC (action, 1972) Arthur Bishop (Charles Bronson) is the mechanic, a hit man hired by the Organization (a Mafia-life firm) as its own assassin. Bishop's contact to the Organization is Harry, a long time confidant of his late father. Bishop is meticulous in his work. Before any hits he studies the targets weaknesses so as not to leave any leaks. He is without feelings or remorse, the consummate professional. Bishop's next target is Harry. He carries the job through without hesitation. Harry's son Steve (Jan-Michael Vincent) lives the life of a dilenta playboy. He suspects Bishop's involvement in his father's death, and tries to find out what his ties to the Organization are. Steve comes to admire Bishop's unwavering and ruthless personality, as Bishop admires Steve's youthful promiscuity and cunning nature. They are both alike. Bishop takes him under his wing and trains him as his new partner. On their first hit together their assigned to a "cowboy ride" (a hit that has to be done quickly). It turns out to be a set-up engineered by the Organization. Bishop escapes, but someone is still out to eliminate him.

Critique: As far as spy and espionage films go The Mechanic is one of the best. Not only for those Charles Bronson aficionados (like myself), but for lovers of well-made auctioneer. Michael Winner's clever direction adds a sparkle to the genre. He sets up interesting insights into assassin's mode of work. A cut above Death Wish (1974- Bronson's best known film), in both content and script, Bronson's performance is the epitome of cool. He's perfect at playing a character that has been totally detached from the outside world, and a man trapped in a world he can only have created. In the same way that Steve McQueen used his laconic presence to great use, Winner makes full use of Bronson's craggy features.

QUOTE: Bishop: "Murder is killing without a license. Everybody kills."

5-0 out of 5 stars The thinking man's solution
Arthur Bishop (Charles Bronson) is a 'mechanic' -- a contract killer. Given an assignment, Mr. Bishop studies his target's habits, lifestyle and schedule, seeking weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Mr. Bishop then decides where and how to complete his assignment, using martial arts, weapons, explosives, or anything else deemed necessary. Mr. Bishop is an expert in a stress-filled occupation, but Mr. Bishop is beginning to experience anxiety attacks in his daily life.

Steve McKenna (Jan Michael Vincent) is the jaded son of a deceased crime boss. At Steve's urging Arthur accepts Steve as an apprentice. Arthur teaches Steve the tricks of the mechanic's trade. Their first assignment together is awkward. Their next assignment is a rush job and it blows up in their faces ...

Charles Bronson's career is marked by violent characterizations. The Arthur Bishop role is interesting because Arthur Bishop is an aesthetic -- Arthur Bishop treats contract killing as an art form. If Charles Bronson normally plays bludgeon characters, Arthur Bishop is a scalpel. And Jan Michael Vincent plays Steve McKenna both with sensitivity and with his usual attractive swagger. Coupled in a well-written plot, Bronson and Vincent's performances make "The Mechanic" a memorable film.

5-0 out of 5 stars A real cultmovie from the seventies
Pay attention very careully. The essential dramatic line is very simple. Never trust in anyone; no matter what your intentions be; remeber two very close related films with this one; Donnie Brasco and Wall street.
The script turns aroun a smart paid assasin; his works are extremely clean and he makes those murderslook like simple accidents: the long opening sequence is wonderful , a silent depict without any introduction; the film is direct and deeply absorbimg.
Later he'll meet his next victim and wil befriendof the son of that one. Obviously he made a wrong choice; you know, in this business,and that choice will become the spark of his end.
The script flow runs organical; our mechanic has several nightmares; and also he suffers from insomnia. He makes his assignments as he was a chess player; the locations are superb; specially the last one in Naples.
Jan Michael Vincent worked out as a perfect balance to the mechanic: but warning; because you never must underestimate your enemy.
The ancestral myth of Icaro appears in this sense; too much proud; too much arrogance ; a briliant intelligence without a prudence dosis; a lion with fierce moods but without any sense of the rules of game. This fortune fate will reach you sooner or later.
You may enlist this title as another clever Film noir.
Bronson made a legendary film three years before titled The rain passenger from Rene Clement; and this movie made him growing up as a heavy weight character actor.
One of the most intimate triumphs of this unforgettable actor.
Buy this one!

4-0 out of 5 stars Bronson at the top of his game
This is a great 70s movie. I haven't seen that many of Bronson's movies, but The Mechanic is by far the best of the ones I have seen. Bronson is a mechanic (or hitman) who is joined by Jan-Michael Vincent (who would later appear in the Airwolf TV show) as his apprentice. You're drawn in from the beginning even though there's no dialogue at all for several minutes. The planning and execution of the "hits" are cold and calculating, leaving the ultimate question of whether or not the apprentice will be able to succeed his master.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Whole Ball Of Wax
You'd better hope and pray that your picture doesn't end up in Arthur Bishop's mailbox, boys and girls! That slick hitman, Bishop is played to the hilt by none other than Charles Bronson! You already knew that, but I had to say it regardless. This is one of his best performances right up there with his performance in Death Wish and The Great Escape. Like Death Wish, he's the criminal that we're all rootin' for, and he carries this movie flawlessly to the end. Even the most diehard Bronson hater(if there are any-and if there is, shame on you!) will dig this movie if you like action films. I really can't think of alot more to say about the film, other than it's worth it for the great price or at least a rental for crying out loud! ... Read more

5. The Sentinel
Director: Michael Winner
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Asin: B00023P4UQ
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 8913
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6. Chato's Land
Director: Michael Winner
list price: $14.95
our price: $13.46
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Asin: B00005LOL5
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 11233
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7. Parting Shots
Director: Michael Winner
list price: $19.98
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Asin: B000641ZFE
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 20447
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

1-0 out of 5 stars Awful, embarassing dreck
What hold did Michael Winner have over Joanna Lumley, Bob Hoskins, Oliver Reed, John Cleese and Ben Kingsley that they agreed to appear in this horrible mess of a film? There is no humour, dark or otherwise here. Chris Rea can't act. He mumbles throughout and makes a very unattractive leading man. Why do aging actors sign up for ensemble productions based on a premise and script with absolutely no wit and no merit just because the director has a reputation? I couldn't believe I sat through this. In short: if you want a tasteless, depressing Brit flick, with a bizarre nod to 70s tack, complete with an overpowering soft porn sountrack, this is for you. However, if you want an intelligent, witty and truly darkly comic movie, rent anything by the highly underrated British filmaker, Mike Leigh.

1-0 out of 5 stars A stinker
Stay away from this one!I bought it for the casting.How could anything starring Diana Rigg, John Cleese, Felicity Kendal, and Oliver Reed be bad?It is. Very.

The plot is predictable, and there isn't a smile, let alone a laugh in the whole of the film, billed as a "black comedy."Indeed, the movie hasn't a single redeeming feature.The music is irritating, and even the photography isn't very well done.Oh yes, and Rigg was 25 years too old to play the part she was given.See her in bed with a man easily old enough to be her son.Mercifully, we were spared a nude scene.In short: a stinker.

5-0 out of 5 stars At LONG LAST!!
I bought this movie because I am a big fan of Chris Rea, and have nearly every song he recorded. I don't expect singers to be good actors (the opposite is often true ... can anybody say "Madonna"?). I was pleasantly surprised at how good an actor Chris Rea is, and I loved the movie. It stands on its own as an original hilarious comedy. Anyone who likes the black comedy of John Cleese in movies like "Fierce Creatures" and "A Fish Called Wanda" should enjoy this treat. After years of buying PAL videotapes and German language only DVDs of this movie, I can finally watch it properly. Let's hope they bring out Chris Rea's other movies, "Soft Top, Hard Shoulder" and "La Passione" next!

2-0 out of 5 stars Parting Shots
I saw this on the day it was released in London and there were two people in the audience - me and someone else.
The highlight of this film is a bitchy Diana Rigg who is incredibly supposed to be married to the main character played by Chris Rea - yeah right.
I like the premise of the film too but I won't spoil it - and with such a great cast except for Chris Rea it should have been a blockbuster! But, it ain't!
But look out for Joanna Lumley (The New Avengers and Absolutely Fabulous), Oliver Reed et al.
I have the VHS but will buy the DVD too for my Diana Rigg collection.

3-0 out of 5 stars Decent, if not spectacular
Nothing about this movie really grabs you, but its decent enough. Its interesting to watch the lead actor (who is a musician and I don't believe had ever acted before), because he doesn't act like an "actor" (because he isn't). Some big names make very brief appearances (namely a hilarious John Cleese), but we could've used more of Ben Kingsley in a fun role. Some nice scenery to be sure as well. ... Read more

8. Lawman
Director: Michael Winner
list price: $14.95
our price: $13.46
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Asin: B00005LOL3
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 9659
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Burt Lancaster is excellent as the title character, a pitiless,unbending marshal out to arrest seven cowhands who left a dead man in the wakeof a drunken tear, in this stoic, modern take on a classic Western theme. Heconfronts a rancher baron, trigger-happy gunmen, and the cowardly hypocrites ofa frontier town: the usual bunch of Old West types sculpted into intriguingcharacter by a crack cast. Robert Ryan brings a sad dignity to his formergunfighter tamed into a meek town marshal, and Lee J. Cobb is introspective andthoughtful as the aging cattleman weary of his life of violence: "It took gunsto take this land, guns to keep it, and guns to make it grow.... Each time webury the cost." Robert Duvall, Albert Salmi, and a young Richard Jordan (as anidealistic cowpoke whose sense of honor gets a workout in the complex conflicts)also star.

The first American feature by British director Michael Winner (who went on tomake numerous tough Charles Bronson pictures, including the first three Death Wish movies) is lean and tough, with a streak of "passing of an era"melancholia, but surprisingly old-fashioned. The hard-edged, unsentimentalviolence, arid, austere look of the picture, and distracting overuse of zoomshots mark it as an unmistakable product of the early 1970s, but it's not somuch cynical as sorrowful in its clash of ideals, and never less than clear-eyedin the presentation of harsh frontier realities. --Sean Axmaker ... Read more

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my top 5 all time favorite Westerns
The plotline is simple. Jarrod Maddox (Burt Lancaster), is an aging lawman, still extremely capable, who arrives in town and gives notice that the men involved in a killing will return with him for trial "or I'll kill them where they stand".

What unfolds is truly interesting, given depth by the rich characterizations of Lee J. Cobb, Robert Ryan (two exceptional supporting actors), Albert Salmi, Joseph Wiseman, Sheree North and others (look for Robert Duvall in a pre-Godfather role, as well as Ralph Waite, pre-Waltons) and a story that does not move in a conventional direction.

More than once I have read reviews of this film that criticize its ending. I strongly disagree with this assessement. I think that the ending completes the drama fittingly. The ending is violent and disturbing, even dark, but this should lend itself toward reflection, not scorn.

5-0 out of 5 stars One man who doesn't bow to people who break the law
One of the most underappreciated westerns ever made, LAWMAN stars Burt Lancaster as a hard-bitten, taciturn lawman from the town of Bannock who rides seemingly for a hundred miles to the town of Sabbath to take in a group of cowboys who, in a drunken shooting spree, had shot up his town and killed an old man.

But his appearance in Sabbath causes considerable hostility among the townsfolk, because they owe their livelihoods to that same bunch, led by Lee J. Cobb, and are unwilling to give it up. Lancaster, unsurprisingly, is unmoved. Therein hangs this solid, almost psychological, sagebrush saga.

Lancaster, as usual, is brilliant in his role of an efficient, cold-blooded lawman, and Cobb is equally special as the leader of the group of cowboys being sought. This is not your typical good guys/bad guys saga: what happened in Bannock was a tragic accident, and Lancaster may be pushing his authority a bit too far. Robert Ryan, always one of the better and more overlooked actors in Hollywood, gives one of his greatest performances as Sabbath's aging, pragmatic marshal.

Probably Michael Winner's best film as a director, LAWMAN was shot on location in central Mexico and has some stark photography by British cameraman Robert Paynter, giving it a look not out of place in a Sam Peckinpah or Sergio Leone film. It is violent in places, but it makes for very good viewing, especially for those who appreciate westerns of this type.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Difficulties of Law Enforcement in the Old West
I am compelled to write a review of Lawman in an attempt to dispell some oft repeated misunderstandings about the film. The most common error applied to the film is that it is morally ambiguous. Lawman the film is not morally ambiguous as such. The Lawman, Jered Maddox (Lancaster), is clearly the most outstanding and praiseworthy figure or character in the film. The confusion comes in only if we attempt to univeralize morality in a Kantian fashion, thereby making the actions of the Lawman "immoral" because of his willingness to use force. The fact that the majority of the other characters are immoral or simply utilitarian (looking only to their self intersest) in their moral views does not in any way mystify the issue to those willing to clearly look at the circumstances of the story. A bunch of drunken cowboys accidentally killed an old man and refuse to return to the scene of the crime to stand trial, insisting it was an accident and that it should not matter anyway. Maddox, knowing full well the kind of arrogance and blatant disregard for juridical authority he is up against, states "I'm going to take these men back with me or kill them where they stand." Maddox is under no illusion about the outcome of the trial if and when it does take place. He knows the leader of the cowboys, Bronson (Lee J. Cobb,) is a wealthy cattle baron and will be able to "buy the circuit judge cheap." But he is committed to his duty. Maddox is his duty: the guardian of the law. We find this very hard to accept and understand today in our era of feel good humanism which seeks to muddy everything in the waters of "moral ambiguity." Why can't he compromise? That is exactly what the cowboys who killed the old man want, a compromise, i.e. they want to get off without any trouble and without accepting any responsibility for their criminal actions. They want Maddox to "be reasonable." Maddox refuses, however, to be disuaded, bought-off or bullied into giving in; he is unmoved and unwavering his devotion to his duty, knowing full well that his duty is both dangerous and unpopular with the demos. Maddox does briefly consider giving in after a little female persuasion, but realizes he can do no such such thing. "You can't change what you are. If you try, something always calls you back."

Most of us are simply not like Maddox and thus find ourselves disliking the Lawman and feeling sympathy for the criminals. After all, Maddox is a killer too, as he readily admits. The difference is that Maddox's job is to protect the law under the very difficult circumstances of trans-Pecos Texas in 1887. Since humans are not by nature just or lawful (for why would we need "the law" otherwise?) the guardian of the law cannot himself be just (by the ambiguous and selfish standards of the demos) or there would be no legal order. When facing men willing to use force and other illegal means to evade the law, the Lawman must have extraordinary means at his disposal. The function of the Lawman is not be to moral as such but rather to make it possible for others to be moral. We find this distasteful because of our belief in "equality" and other nonsensical Enlightenment anthropological concepts. It is indeed an awesome responsibility to be the guardian of the law under such circumstances. At least in this case, however, the Lawman is up to it. He will not be bought-off or bullied. Lawman the film is Shane, High Noon and Rio Bravo rolled into one, and better than all of them precisely because of its realistic view and assessment of human depravity.

Those familiar with Eastwood's Unforgiven will notice some striking similarities. The writer of Unforgiven (David Webb Peoples) had doubtlessly seen Lawman and paraphrases some of the dialogue. For example, "being fast don't count for much." The difference between Lawman and Unforgiven is that Maddox is clearly the protagonist of the film, whereas in Unforgiven the Lawman, Little Bill, attempts to adapt his behavior to the moral standards of the community and thus becomes "morally ambiguous." Maddox, however, is not interested in conformity to anything but his duty. What makes Lawman a better film than Unforgiven is that it does not attempt to play on present day sympathaties. Lawman scorns identity politics and the over-all moralizing atmosphere of Unforgiven. In Lawman there is the hint of the feeling of loss for the time when a man could so unreservedly stand and devote himself to his duty as Maddox does.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb Film--BUT DON'T BUY THIS VERSION! FAKE WIDESCREEN!
Superb acting, superb directing, superb dialogue. . . feel free to read my rave of the version with the same cover, ASIN 079283853X. The movie is so good, I had to give it 5 stars even with what I'm about to write.

This "widescreen" version is an incredibly blatant ripoff. All they did was chop off the top and bottom of the already reduced TV image. Let me stress: YOU GET NOTHING EXTRA ON THIS VIDEO, AND YOU LOSE LOTS! It's such a shame because this movie deserves widescreen release. So in the meantime, buy 079283853X :-)!

5-0 out of 5 stars Astoundingly Underrated--Brilliant, Complex--One Caution
First, the caution: the "widescreen" VHS version is a sham! It doesn't show you the actual original widescreen film, it simply chops off the top and bottom of the already reduced TV image! So just buy the regular VHS or the DVD,and make some noise on chat boards and elsewhere till they release a true widescreen version of this beautiful, beautiful film.

Okay, this is the longest review I've ever written, but here's why. I watch a LOT of movies (I'm a film and lit prof). IMHO, this is the most underrated film I've ever seen.

First off, DON'T THINK OF THIS FILM AS A WESTERN! If you do, you'll miss out on a great artistic experience, and that would be a shame. It is a film that, among several other things, bravely challenges the macho ethic while presenting characters of enormous moral ambiguity, all the while featuring a) some of my favorite direction ever, and b) simply unmatchable acting. Oh yeah, it takes place in the West :-).

Winner's directing is incredibly thought-provoking, literally second-by-second. Never, ever have I seen a more thoughtfully directed film--every once in a while he over-thinks, but it's more than forgivable. Just two of many elements: The cuts from scene to scene are ALL great, and there are no wasted moments, everything provokes thought.

Two examples: 1. Two macho guys are talking about all the land they own, and this weird flute theme slowly rises, creating an odd dissonance--suddenly we cut to a mouth playing the flute, then we realize it's Lancaster: Mr. Macho himself, out to get the other two, but differentiated from them through his flute playing--yet he then has to grab a gun because of a simple knock on the door, and we're reminded of his reality, and then we're presented with the sad irony of his throwing open the door and pointing the gun at his long-lost love...just moment after moment after moment, nothing wasted. 2. A shot of the marshal in bed with a prostitute jumpcuts to a close-up of a beautiful desert flower on a cactus, a subtle echo of both the dissipated marshal and the prostitute--but it's not a gratuitous shot, because behind the flower we then see 4 guys riding in to the climax of the film. Every symbol or image in this film is neatly tied in with the action: nothing feels cheap or forced. Virtually every scene is as thoughtfully constructed as the two moments I just described.

The moral complexity of the film. Everybody has a different reaction to this film, and that reaction tells the viewer something about him/herself--what more do you want from art? (Aside from that it entertain, which this film does.) Most of my students find themselves defending a group of men who begin the film by randomly shooting and burning a small town and are so arrogant that they then refuse to attend even a sham trial. Winner achieves these myriad reactions through his brilliant work with Lancaster, Cobb, and Ryan, all of whom are as multilayered as one could hope for in 100 minutes. For me, Lancaster's character is a near-hero, yet I understand why many of my students despise him. Rarely, very rarely, is a U.S.-studio film this morally complex and ambiguous.

The acting. The first scene between Lancaster and Ryan consists of two marshals standing around talking about a case for about four minutes, essentially giving necessary background plot--not the stuff of riveting cinema, right? Yet it's without question one of my favorite scenes in film history. That's how good the acting is in this film. Lancaster puts across sarcasm and disgust with a subtlety few others can equal, concluding, "Just good cowboy fun. (pause) They killed an old man." Ryan's weathered, cynical face takes on the slightest bit of interest as he says, "Kin?" These are two guys who have transcended the cliches of their acting generation and simply become uniquely superb actors. Don't expect Method (and I've nothing against Method!); just expect Lancaster and Ryan at their absolute peak. Same with Cobb, and the supporting cast is just about perfect, led by Richard Jordan and Sheree North. (An aside: a strong case can be made that North's character--essentially the only woman with a speaking role in the film--is the most admirable, strong, and intelligent person in the film: another thing that sets this apart from typical "Westerns," or typical anything!)

I've found in my studies that it's pretty random what gets labelled a "classic" and what gets forgotten--it has so much to do with studio politics of the time, what other films came out that week, how a film is promoted (the promo for Lawman is horrid), the personal taste of the hip critics, etc. If you like thoughtful, beautifully acted and directed films, PLEASE GIVE THIS FILM A CHANCE: I think you'll like it! Thanks for reading this whole thing :-)! ... Read more

9. I'll Never Forget What's 'is Name
Director: Michael Winner
list price: $29.98
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Asin: 6305768374
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Sales Rank: 29394
Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars FLASHBACK: London. 1967.
This film works wonderfully as a timepiece. What I like so much about Winner's films of the '60's is how much he wizzes around the city. We are treated to location after we really get a look at time and place like very few films of the period. Lots of cars and mini-skirted dolly birds with exaggerated hairdo's and eye make-up.

The story is rather lame. '60's London is the star of this show. It's such a time tunnel that you'll feel quite dazed when it's over...but I think you'll be entertained.

Carol White was always nice eye candy. She plays Oliver Reed's girlfriend. She stumbles and staggers through her lines (in one scene she almost falls over, in another she 'reacts' to the people in the room before she even has entered it,) but you forgive her because she had a sort of innocent charm, like this film.

Reed is at his cool best. He was also at his handsomest in 1967. He handles his part with great ease.

Orson Wells camps it up, maybe a little too much. Marianne Faithfull says the 'f' word...but little else. She looks dreadful, her hair reminds me of those shaggy little rugs people used to put by their beds in those days, in fact maybe that's what it was.

If you like and/or are interested in '60's London...don't hesitate buying this. Otherwise I'd be reluctant to recommend it.

P.S. Almost forgot, the photography is excellent. So sharp and clear and so very London, 1967.

5-0 out of 5 stars There's a sort of idiot-honesty about you I find refreshing
In "I'll Never Forget What's 'Isname," Oliver Reed plays Andrew Quint, an extremely successful 32-year-old advertising executive. While Quint's professional life is a success, his private life is a shambles. Quint goes through a moral crisis, and he leaves his wife, dumps his mistresses, and chops his desk to bits with an axe. Sickened by the corrupt world of advertising, Quint attempts to find meaning in his life by taking a low-paying job at a humble--but respectable--literary magazine run by old school chum, Leonard. Leonard is not a success by anyone's standards. In fact he secretly covets Quint's sports car and envies Quint's success with women. While Quint adjusts to his new poky little office, ex-boss, Jonathan Lute (played by Orson Welles) pursues Quint and pressures him to return to the world of corporate advertising. Jonathan is determined to get Quint back by hook or by crook. Quint deftly juggles his soon-to-be-ex-wife and two demanding mistresses while forming a relationship with Leonard's very available assistant, Georgina (Carol White). Quint's search for some meaning to life seems destined for disaster.

The character of Andrew Quint ironically mirrors many of the dilemmas Oliver Reed had in his own life. Oliver Reed was a rabble-rouser with a penchant for trouble, and "I'll Never Forget What's 'Isname" is a great film for any Oliver Reed fan. Although the film is relatively short, it is packed with action and drama. The story flows seamlessly, and no scenes are wasted. The film is very much a product of the 60s--complete with dolly birds running around in Mary Quant-style mini-dresses, and layers and layers of that 60s eye-make-up. The sexual freedom of the 60s peeks through--especially through Leonard's lascivious envy of Quint's social life. But in spite of the fact that the film is so obviously a product of 60s culture, it does not seem dated at all. Quint's rejection of professional success, and the moral quandaries created by the need to succeed are still relevant issues today. While the story deals with serious issues, everything is treated with a light ironic touch, and both Oliver Reed and Orson Welles fit neatly into the film as antagonists who both know the game all too well. Orson Welles is simply marvellous as the corrupt, wily, decadent Jonathan Lute--a man who will go as far as necessary to sell whatever product he represents. This is my favourite Orson Welles role next to Citizen Kane. The scenes with Welles are some of the best in the film, and the character Welles plays has a way of popping up in the most unexpected places. This disturbs Quint, but adds to the mood of the film. Oliver Reed and his co-star, Carol White had an off-screen romance as a result of this film, and Oliver Reed and Orson Welles maintained a close friendship for the rest of their lives. Watch for Marianne Faithfull in a small part as Josie--one of Quint's mistresses--displacedhuman

5-0 out of 5 stars Still fresh...
Considering this movie was made over 30 years ago, it is surprising how fresh it still feels. Orson Welles' character, the diabolical ad agency owner, is compelling and witty. He brings amazing dimension to the story, with laceratingly sharp observations about Western social values.

Oliver Reed is captivating as Andrew Quint, the disenchanted ad agency executive. He exudes sexual and physical power in a way that is nearly unequalled in films on either side of the pond. I need to say something about a barely constrained raw power that Oliver Reed's Quint brings to screen -- it frequently erupts in surprisingly believable acts of violence and fistfights. I tend to think of fistfights and car chases as hokey Hollywood stuff (seriously, how many fist fights have you witnessed in real life?). But, it works, for the most part, in this movie.

Quint resigns from his high-powered position in a spectacular act of rebellion. He seeks to return to a truer calling in life - working as an editor for a declining literary magazine. After whole-heartedly chucking his job, he then goes half-heartedly through the motions of breaking off relations with his assorted blonds. But, not really. In fact, he acquires another blond or two along the way. The break-ups, both professional and personal, are all on the surface. It may be just a European thing or a sixties thing, but movie's characters are strangely bland and accepting about sexual infidelity.

The female characters, a wife and a bevy of girl friends, alas, are nearly interchangeable - stamped from a cookie cutter. Maybe that was intentional; because, it seems, Quint never comes to grips with his angst. He fails to recover that sense of integrity he sought in his attempts to shed the trappings of ad agency success. There is a faint question in the air at the end: does he to come to peace with himself, finally?

The movie provides a terrific glimpse into the social culture of the Sixties, when Britain was in its ascendancy as the celebrated crown jewel of pop culture. But, as I said, it doesn't seem that dated - even the clothes still look fairly okay (the hairstyles and makeup, though, NOT!). Ahead of its time in many ways, the movie has comments on the environment and society that are still valid and compelling today. Orson Welles' character delivers a very insightful speech on the extraordinary generation of waste - both literally in how landfills are swallowing up the country and in the quality of society's intellectual output. The movie is cagey in its revelation that even the hallowed halls of the academic elite harbor decay and moral corruption.

I enjoyed the commentary provided by Michael Winner on the DVD edition. It's chatty - gossipy, in fact, with rare details about the actors' personal lives. As for the title, I still don't get it; and Winner's comments about it are obtuse. Frankly, the title sounds like a slap-dash comedy, which this is not.

5-0 out of 5 stars Capital portrayal of the "angry young man".
From the opening shot, you know this film is not just another movie from the 60's.

Many films from this era showcase the "angry young man" character rebelling against some unfocused facet of society that they feel oppresses them. "The Girl Getters", also starring Oliver Reed, and "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning" are two such samplings from Britain that are quite memorable (also of note is the even rarer portrayal of the "angry young woman" in "The Girl With Green Eyes").

Oliver Reed is marvelous as the angry young man in this slice of life film set in Swinging London. Reed's disillusioned character has reached a point where the swinging lifestyle has become empty and unsatisfying, and he wonders if there is something more to life than just having fun.

Of course, Welles is on hand, and although his part is relatively small, it it pivotal nonetheless. As Lute, the millionaire advertising executive, Welles exudes the frightening presence of a man who is not to be denied anything he wants. Lute is pragmatic, cynical, and amused at Reed's faniciful idea of working for a cause instead of working for cash.

Even though Reed owns the film, one standout in the cast to be mentioned is the milquetoast character who asks Reed to join his failing literary magazine. Burdened by a harping wife who is unhappy with the poor life of a scholar and wants "things" likes sportscars and washing mashines.

Of course, Carol White is the foxy and quintessential London swinger, and would easily give Felicity Shagwell a run for her money.

These type of films are all too rare. Although there are a few American films that touch on the same issues with the same styling ("The Sweet Smell of Success" and "Love With the Proper Stanger" both spring to mind), the British just had a knack for making solid "class struggle" films. They also had the actors that would make the films work and the characters believable. Reed and his fellow cast members excel in this one, and Welles is wonderful. Don't pass it up!

5-0 out of 5 stars Oliver Reed as a disillusioned advertising executive
Oliver Reed stars as Andrew Quint, a successful advertising executive who has been balancing his family life with the demands of his mistress, Josie (Marianne Faithful), when he decides he is not really happy and decides to break free from his life. Andrew does this by showing up with an ax and demolishing his office. So, while his outraged boss, Jonathan Lute (Orson Welles) pursues him, Andrew goes on a bittersweet tour of Swinging London trying to get his head together. When this film came out in 1967 it was a controversial film because of its explicit language and sexuality. However, while the film is extremely tame by contemporary standards, "I'll Never Forget What's 'is Name" remains a potent testament of the disillusionment of the late Sixties. Harry Andrews, Michael Hordern, Wendy Craig and Frank Finlay are key members of the supporting cast in this film. The DVD edition contains audio commentary by director Michael Winner, who would later direct "Death Wish," which is just ironic on so many levels. ... Read more

10. Scorpio
Director: Michael Winner
list price: $14.95
our price: $13.46
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Asin: B000035P5Y
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 24344
Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars
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The prime minister of Eritrea is assassinated by political opponents, setting off a chain of events with global repercussions in the intelligence community.Burt Lancaster plays Cross, a CIA operative who dates back to the agency's earliest days as the OSS.Scorpio (Alain Delon) is a protégé of Cross, and one of Cross's best friends in a netherworld where everyone's allegiances, personal and political, are in question.Higher-ups within the intelligence agency decide that Cross knows too much and is better off eliminated; at first, Scorpio refuses the job until the CIA frames him on a phony narcotics bust and coerces him into the assignment.The two men play a game of global cat-and-mouse as Cross consorts with his Russian counterparts--fellow aging dinosaurs in a young man's game. Cross's links with the Russians go back to the days of the Spanish Civil War and the time when Cross was given the ironic label of "premature anti-Fascist" by the House Unamerican Activities Committee.The incredibly convoluted plot is rife with double-crosses and reverse double-crosses, in an environment in which nothing is quite as it seems and no one is to be trusted.Director Michael Winner infuses enough energy and excitement into the film's many action segments to make Scorpio worthy of comparison to John Frankenheimer's best political thrillers. Winner also throws in several curveballs, such as the zither music during a meeting in a Vienna café (shades of The Third Man) and the preposterous device of disguising Lancaster as an African American priest.Though not quite a classic, Scorpio is still an underrated espionage thriller that was well attuned to the political cynicism of the time. Best line: "I want Cross, and I want him burned!"--Jerry Renshaw ... Read more

Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars a "must see" for Delon fans
Though the plot is somewhat muddled, locations change at a dizzying speed between Washington, Vienna, and Paris, has some improbable situations, and occasionally stilted dialogue, it's highly entertaining, and has an excellent cast, especially Alain Delon.
He's fabulous as "code name: Scorpio", conveying so much meaning with the subtlest of gestures. He's also superb in the action scenes, so lithe and fast, and seems to be doing all his own stunt work...and he certainly must be one of the most spectacularly gorgeous actors to have ever graced the screen.
To top it off, Scorpio has a sensitive side: He likes flowers, and most of all, cats...enough to make a woman's heart flutter !

Lancaster is very good as Cross, the spy who wants to get "out of the game", Paul Scofield is great as always as his Russian cohort, and Joanne Linville lovely as Cross' wife.
The cinematography (Robert Paytner) is exceptional, and Jerry Fielding's marvelous score is atmospheric and at times almost symphonic.

You may have to see it several times to make any sense of the plot, but this is a very watchable film, has a lot going for it in many ways, and it has to be Delon's finest English speaking performance, which is a good enough reason to make this one a keeper.

3-0 out of 5 stars Solid 70s Espionage/Crime Movie
Not in the same league as The Day of the Jackal, The Manchurian Candidate or French Connection. It was still an enjoyable movie. Lots of great "on location" scenes, good action, excellent suspense with lots of double-crosses.

Burt Lancaster's friendship with his cold war nemesis in Vienna was a neat part of the story - two cold warriors who became trusted friends after years of playing cat and mouse together.

4-0 out of 5 stars Underrated Spy Classic...
SCORPIO is Alain Delon's code name. He is a Black OPX's agent (assassinations and "head hunting" meyhem) recruited surreptiously by The CIA to carry out missions the American secret intelligence service is expressly forbidden to engage in by its Congressional charter. Burt Lancaster is old timer Super-spy Cross. He is Delon's recruiter, mentor and...predictably?...Scorpio's ultimate target as the CIA decides to clean house by killing-off its overly knowledgeable old Timers. Cross, of course, does not fancy this form of Short Timer treatment. He goes on-the-run with every intention of dish-served-cold vengeance against the Agency's new breed of FNG computer-brat/ Ivy league educated "punk"; and in particular Deputy Director and Operations Chief McLeod. McLeod (John Colicos) is played with icy, charismatic menace. He is the consummate fascist employed to "safeguard" Democracy by undermining its fundamental tenets and most bovine Sacred Cow ideals. Employing the spy network's Underground Railroad, Cross links with his opposite number in the KGB played by Paul Scofield. Russkie ace agent Scofield has great respect and sympathy for Cross (but none for CIA/American duplicity) and he respectfully encourages Cross to "double-cross" the nation that has betrayed him (incidently killing his wife) with a pricey, very public defection. The acting...the spy by-play between Lanchester and Scofield is excellent. This is what lifts a "burn" the burnt-out case revenge thriller into a dramatic study of men who have been soldiers being sold-out by their respective Coca Cola/Vodka- driven pop power political cultures. The Yuppie spies "who love themselves" have not quite made the scene but SCORPIO/ Delon is a bloody eager beaver ready to do a buddy in to GET INSIDE. The end of the movie is satisfyingly "righteous". The Surprise End tacked-on to The End is a wicked winner that supplies sufficient jolt and immoral moral to a predatory game where all become victims of Will-to-Power; and that the only good guy-spies are DEAD ONES. (4 and 1/2 Stars for a film of John Le Carre character...)

1-0 out of 5 stars What was this film about?
I saw this film twice, and I STILL don't know what it was about. Plot is so convoluted, with so many minor characters and twists and turns. I guess some people think this is "clever cat-and-mouse," but after two viewings over the course of several years, I still had no clear idea who the characters were, or why they did what they did.

There's something about me and Burt Lancaster films. I found his MIDNIGHT MAN equally confusing, and his ATLANTIC CITY tedious and pointless.

I can't think of a single Burt Lancaster film that I even liked.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Rare Masterpiece For The Spy Genre.
Burt Lancaster plays an aging CIA agent who's finally had enough of the spy life and wants to quit the business so he can spend more time with his family. But his trecherous Bosses don't want him to quit so they assign Alain Delon A.K.A SCORPIO to eliimate him. Fantastic script Delon's performance in the film is one of his best even if his english is sometimes off a bit. the highlight of the film is the chase sequence between Lancaster & Delon throughout the Streets and Alleyways Of Venice. It's a captivating spy film done with the right amount of action and suspense. Most Of Today's spy films don't even come to this masterpiece. And even if they could they would still fail. This film was a true gem for it's time and cannot and will not ever be replaced or duplicated. ... Read more

11. The Big Sleep
Director: Michael Winner
list price: $14.98
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Asin: B0000639EY
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 23182
Average Customer Review: 2 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

1-0 out of 5 stars Truly A Disappointment
While I can add little to the excellent review - "Appalling" - I can add my voice to say how disappointing every bit of this movie was. I am a fan of film noire, a fan of Robert Mitchum and a great fan of the original Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall classic so I thought to myself, "This is bound to be a winner!" Boy, was I wrong! What a stinker.

Particularly disturbing was the dull, listless performance of Robert Mitchum. He was just going through the motions. This is particularly shocking in view of the fact that he had just done Phillip Marlowe in the remake of "Farewell, My Lovely" in 1975 and had delivered a classic performance of the dark, brooding over-the-hill Marlowe.

To make matters worse, the rest of the cast didn't help at all. With the possible exception of Richard Boone's energetic portrayal of Canino, it was pretty obvious nobody else really gave a damn either.

If you're a Mitchum fan, save your money. If your a film noire fan, save your money. If your money is burning a hole in your pocket - buy it - you'll only get what you deserve.

1-0 out of 5 stars Appalling
Boy, how to begin to describe the shortfalls of this turkey? My movie book gave it a BOMB, but sometimes bombs can be fun to watch, so I wached this anyway.

What a waste of time.

First off, Mr. Mitchum virtually sleepwalks through his role. There is no spark, no flair. Just mumbling. Almost every other cast member turns in substandard performances, except Jimmy Stewart, whose fine job can't raise the efforts of his colleagues.

Candy Clark plays the psychopathic sister in such an over-the-top manner that her character is no longer disturbing, but comical. And not threatening, as it should be.

The directing is very trite, the lighting mostly high-key (lots of light filling every corner), and the audio editing is an abortion. Listen to this with headphones on and you'll hear the dialog jump back and forth between live action audio from the set to post-production audio from the studio - sometimes in the middle of a sentence!

The only redeeming thing about this film is that Candy Clark spends about half her screen time butt naked. But, that's it.

Forget this one, friends. It's a loser from every angle. You're throwing away your money. If you *must* see it, take it out of the library, like I did. Then you can rest easy at night, knowing you didn't throw your money away....

4-0 out of 5 stars Good attempt at remaking a classic...
"The Big Sleep" is now and forever shall be Humphrey Bogart's movie. There's just no way around that.

Mitchum's great, as usual, but the British setting made me think of the Duke movie, "Brannigan". If you like "Brannigan" (I admit, I do), you'll like this version of "The Big Sleep". I suppose the producers had to make the location different to set it aprt from the 1946 film (also, British moneyman Lord Lew Grade financed the film; the Brits seem to have a quirky appreciation for our cowboys and private eye heroes).

However, this 1978 effort is worth a viewing for Marlowe fans. Mitchum captures the detective's character very well. Oliver Reed is a very menacing Eddie Mars, and just listening to his lines delivered in Reed's Shakesperian whispered hiss makes Reed the picture of the smooth and scary gangster.

Jimmy Stewart is in his golden years here, a big star just doing his thing. We only see him in two scenes, and they're fair. This was about the time he was guest-starring in features like "The Magic of Lassie", "Airport '77", and other big, overblown, movies packed with familiar faces and stars of yesteryear. Joan Collins also looks to have been added only for name value here.

Candy Clark is sexy and nubile enough (and nude often enough), as the troubled younger daughter Camilla, but although she plays the part well, she comes off as a little more spacey than incorrigable in this 70's Marlowe. Sarah Miles isn't really interesting or even all that sexy as the older sister Charlotte. She wasn't very convincing, and probably the weakest cast member. This is unfortunate, because Charlotte is an important character who is supposed to move the plot along.

As for the film itself, I think overall it was pretty good, but the modern setting (and being set in Britain), work against the Marlowe mystique. If you can get past those elements, and perhaps have not seen the classic Bogart film, this version will probably be more entertaining. I liked the opening and closing sequences, and the effort put forward throughout the film to bring Marlowe back and into then-modern times.

One thing that did not make sense was the proliferation of firearms in modern day Britain, which is just not as believable as a film set in 1940's America. Also, the scandal involving the nude photos, drug use, and the sexual antics of the younger daughter doesn't hold up well here.

The movie tries very hard, and is engaging enough for the casual viewer. There are even a few plot twists that diviate from the original film. If you are a big Marlowe fan, you may not be too pleased with the 70's re-make qualities on display, "50 pounds a day plus expenses", and other Britishisms/moderisms. On the other hand, if you want a good Mitchum detective movie, this one will fit the bill. ... Read more

12. The Sentinel
Director: Michael Winner
list price: $9.95
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Asin: B00000JZHF
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 13338
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13. The Big Sleep
Director: Michael Winner
list price: $24.98
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Asin: B00004U0D5
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 41845
Average Customer Review: 3.33 out of 5 stars
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Robert Mitchum is back as the legendary private investigator, Philip Marlowe. This adaptation of Raymond Chandler's classic hard-boiled detective mystery features an all-star cast, including: Richard Boone, Joan Collins, Sir John Mills, James Stewart, and Oliver Reed. Marlowe is hired by a retired general (James Stewart) to find out who has been blackmailing the old man's wild daughters (Sarah Miles and Candy Clark). At the same time he has to try to locate the missing husband of one of the daughters. Marlowe's search leads through a dangerous thicket of murder and suicide in the seedy criminal underworld straight to the head quarters of the notorious nightclub owner and gangland boss, Eddie Mars (Oliver Reed). Expert story teller Raymond Chandler spins a masterful web of deceit, creating an intricate, spellbinding mystery full of bare-knuckle action and heart-pounding suspense. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

Okay, Mitchum isn't Humphrey Bogart but the 1979 "Big Sleep" is a great way to kill 90-minutes. This version of "Sleep" begins with Marlowe (Mitchum) visiting Gen. Sternwood (a pallid Jimmy Stewart) at his palatial estate in England. Sternwood wants Marlowe to help him resolve a blackmail sceme involving one of his daughters. This is easily the most sleazy film Stewart ever appeared in; however Mitchum, Sarah Miles, Joan Collins and Oliver Reed seem right at home here. Richard Boone clearly has a hell of a time playing Mitchum's toughest adversary since Robert Ryan in "The Racket." For Michael Winner's best directorial effort take a look at "Lawman," with Burt Lancaster, Ryan and Lee J. Cobb.

3-0 out of 5 stars Robert Mitchum - a first class Marlowe
Though I agree that this DVD is not as good as "Farewell, My Lovely", it still is superior to the Humphrey Bogart version. Bogart was very good at playing many roles, but 'The Big Sleep' comletely missed the mark. The ending of the Bogart version is almost criminal and completely corrupts the rest of the movie. Compare the 'Hollywood' ending of the Bogart version with the novel's famous last paragraph being read by Mitchum in this one. It's unfortunate that the rest of the movie was not up to Mitchum's level but it is worth owning another Marlowe movie with Robert Mitchum. Watch the original because you like Bogart/Bacall, but if you want to experience The Big Sleep, watch this one and buy the book (you'll hear Mitchum's voice as you read).

3-0 out of 5 stars Try It, You Might Like It
Not being particularly fond either of Raymond Chandler or of the "classic" 1946 adaption of THE BIG SLEEP, I am perhaps more disposed than most to like Michael Winner's 1978 re-make. Shorn of Bogart and Bacall, the earlier film isn't much more than a routine detective saga. (The screenplay was co-written by William Faulkner, but if I absolutely have to deal with Faulkner, I'd prefer to do it with one of his lugubrious novels.) Still, if you choose to re-make an icon, even one made of brass, you're practically begging for trouble.

If you can get past the gall of trying to re-make a "classic," you can see that Winner's film, while no masterpiece, is decently entertaining. It ably uses the English locations, takes advantage of the greater freedoms of the 1970s and boasts a first-rate cast. Mitchum, in his way, is every bit as good as Bogart. Sarah Miles isn't in Bacall's class as a larger than life image, but she's a superior actress and does a creditable job. Many of the supporting performances are at least as good as their counterparts in the 1946 film, including Jimmy Stewart, Harry Andrews, Edward Fox, Colin Blakely, Oliver Reed, and Joan Collins. Even Richard Boone, usually a bit of chore, uses his over-sized presence to good effect.

If you've seen any of Winner's other films, like DEATH WISH or SCORPIO, you know pretty much what to expect. His direction is, as usual, obnoxiously showy and rushed. There are sudden, incomprehensible close-ups on unimportant actions, unmovitated, low-camera angles, flashy zooms, and awkward compositions designed presumably to remind us that someone is behind the camera. His is almost the epitome of "70s filmmaking," for better or worse. Still, at least he has a style, which, despite the laborious efforts of auteurist critics to reveal it, I have never been able to see in Hawks's dry as dust filmmaking.

I don't exactly recommend THE BIG SLEEP. I know that a lot of people, particularly anyone worshipping at the altar of "classic" Hollywood, will find it offensive. If I say I prefer it to the earlier film, it is not in an attempt to turn it into a transcendant work of art. BOTH versions are hack work. They are perhaps best understood as what mainstream filmmakers of middling talent were able to accomplish in 1946 and 1978, and dealt with accordingly.

2-0 out of 5 stars Out of the Shadows
Everyone knows that Bogart was a genius and will forever remain a star. His roles will endure all the tests of time. Put him together with Bacall and you have screen magic that can never be equaled, let alone surpassed... The 1946 version is regarded as a classic, and deservedly so. Now imagine what a insurmountable task it would be to emmerge from the shadow of such a film... This movie valiently attempts to do just that, but sadly for the most part it fails. Anticipating the inevitable comparison between this version and it's predesessor, the director chose to move the setting from Los Angeles California to London, England. The directors intention for the move is not to distance himself from the previous production so that this film may find it's own voice and be remembered in it's own right. No,I think the director had some vain hope that if he got far enough away from the original and successfully avoided camparison, that the viewer would not notice how little justice it does to Chandler's novel. This hopeless and nakedly self serving production choice insults the audience's intelligence... To the film's credit it does stay true to Chandler's characters. And it's "updating" does not interfere with the overall plot of the story. (Aside from the grating British accents) This was not the case with 1969's "Marlowe" (the film version of Chandler's 'The Little Sister') In "Marlowe" the "updating" consisted of taking each one of the settings that Chandler had so vividly described in his novel and making them hippie like. All of this set to a jazz score that would make Shaft cringe. As if that wasn't enough the mobster that trashed Marlowe's office was transformed into a kickboxer To top that off the title role was given to James Garner who's performance one could not avoid comparing to his most famous character Rockford. The title role this time was well cast. Robert Mitchum plays an above adverage Marlowe, I am eager to see his first portrayl in "Farewell My Lovely" Mitchum earned this movie it's first star solely on his merits. I gave the second because despite the misconcieved move accross the Atlantic, this movie was bold. One has to consider that not only did this movie have to tell a complicated story but it also had to overcome the barriers of it's two classics that came before it, and emmerge from their shadows.....

3-0 out of 5 stars Cinema Noir, but without soul and malice...
A comparison with the original Bogart is inevitable, and, excuse me but, for me, the Bogart film is much much better. In first place, the Mitchun version seems to me a censored version in original idea, like the producer or director prefered a version without malice ( not for case, if my memory don't fail, the father role was given to James Stewart) and soul, diferent than the Bogart version. For example, a original Bogart dialogue with the sale book lady, with rain, with drink, is classic, is marvelous. Don't understand me wrong, i like this Mitchun version, like the Mitchun's voice and the beauty of Charllote Rampling, but for me, Robert Mitchun is much better playered, in a similar role, in The Yakuza, for example. So, i expect this dvd quality be good, and probably will buy myself, but this Bogart version, that i already have, is much better... ... Read more

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