A made for TV retread of a film noir classic is given a greater creative heft thanks to the modernist stylisations of director Don Siegel & an amazing performance from the incomparable Lee Marvin. Siegel brings to the film an uncompromising brutality that doesn't always sit comfortably alongside the more generic elements, whilst the flashback structure, which frames the revenge plot as a mystery, remains compelling.
Quite scruffy B-movie suffering from glaring contradictions within its plot, however the most remarkable feature about this film is its fairly exceptional cast, particularly Ronald Reagan (for rather cynical reasons). It feels like a film that has been rushed and quickly packed away.
It doesn't work all the time, but when it does it soars. Don Siegel is one hell of a director and his version of The Killers, although lacking the existential and poetic contours of Hemingway's short story, somewhat started propelling the gritty and nihilistic crime thriller boom that eventually defined the '70s.
Great Neo-Noir made for TV film. Enjoyed both Ronald Reagan and Norman Fell as villains but could have used a bit more bad ass scenes with Hitman Lee Marvin. John Cassavetes as the reluctant race car driver turned criminal and Angie Dickinson as the femme fatale were both excellent also.
This shouldn't be as fun as it is. The production values are still a TV affair, and where the original was a model of noir construction, long stretches of this one fall apart if you think about it for more than 15 seconds. But Siegel's direction gives it a punchy, weirdly compelling pop-art nihilism. Bonus points for having John Cassavettes punch Ronald Reagan, which may not have meant much in 1964 but sure does now.
Ronald Reagan as the bad guy, Lee Marvin as a hit man and a blind woman assaulted in the films opening scene. I would say "nuff said," but I was surprised by how much this, initially made for TV, film noir had to it. All performances were top notch, the violence was brutal (especially for the time) and the story, while cliche, was top notch for what it was.
Even though the tight budget kind of shows, I feel like this was too "big" for TV all along. It truly deserved a proper theatrical run. Like a lot of Siegel movies it's pretty bleak and violent. No one gets off easy. I really enjoyed the film as a whole but especially the last 15 minutes. Wasn't too crazy about the racing scenes though.
Though I do really like Siodmak's version, I would probably pick this one as my favorite of the two. Where Siodmak's film seems too studied at times, Siegel's explodes with terse energy and brilliant austerity. Plus, who could go wrong with that cast? Now to rematch Point Blank and attempt to reconcile my strange crush on Lee Marvin.
Don Siegel hated producers (except maybe Walter Wanger) and usually came out on top. I prefer almost everything before he became a hot shot and in-effect became a producer himself. (Late 1960s.) Read his book when he talks about the pre-1960s, The Killers, and Madigan. In the book it shows he helped and was helped by Clint Eastwood.
I am not a fan of Don Siegel formally, Dirty Harry, Alcatraz or other things. But in some way, I was very confident that this film was different. I have always being loved Lee Marvin's movies. Furthermore there is Cassavetes on it. Special story which is up to something like before. You should see it. I know noone is likeable in the movie but God damn you Reagan.
Siegel's minimalistic style perfectly suits every crime tale he touches. This version rivals Robert Siodmak's previous by being something completely different, having more of a pulp-ish, b-movie sensitivity, au courant with a more nihilistic, violent, and mysogynistic time it was made. Memorable parts played by everyone, especially the badass Lee Marvin, and Angie Dickinson is to die for.
The names attached (Lee Marvin, Cassavetes, President Reagan and Don Siegel), the opening credits and the first sequence are promising, but this movie falls really short. Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager's chemistry is good, but it's not enough to save this made-for-TV movie.