Daniel Burton's debut feature is impressive. Harry is a widower living alone on an inner city council estate infested by feral youths and drug dealers. When his only friend is killed Harry, an ex-marine, takes the law into his own hands with dramatic results. So what we have is a vigilante movie closer to Michael Winner's DEATH WISH than Scorsese's TAXI DRIVER although comparing it to Winner's film is doing it a disservice. Burton builds the atmosphere slowly and carefully and never attempts to make Harry any kind of hero - in this he is aided by a superb performance by Michael Caine. While the film's purpose is not to look at the reasons behind the violence it does acknowledge in passing the exploitation of the young by adults even if these (rightly in my view) offered as Harry's concern or motivation. Unfortunately when the film switches its emphasis to the police it begins to fall apart.
008 ERNEST HEMINGWAY'S THE KILLER (1963) Directed by Donald Siegel. ***
In some respects this has dated. The obvious back projection in many scenes is quite noticeable and it has to be said that it drags badly in the middle section. Part of the problem is that the scenes involving the two hired killers, played by Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager, are so good that everything else is a bit of a letdown. The opening when the killers track their prey to a school for the blind and the closing scene are justifiably regarded as classic. Much as I admired John Cassavetes work I found his performance here a bit too mannered and edgy. The rest of the cast are fine and include Ronald Reagan in his final film role, Angie Dickinson, Claude Akins and Norman Fell. Originally made for television but premiered theatrically.
|Ernest Hemingway's The Killers|
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009 PSYCHO (1960) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. *****