Villain (1971)

Director: Michael Tuchner

Writer: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais (Screenplay) James Barlow (Novel)

Starring: Richard Burton, Ian McShane, Nigel Davenport, Donald Sinden, Fiona Lewis, T.P. McKenna, Joss Ackland

 

Plot: In 1970s London, the Scotland Yard orchestrates the downfall of mob boss Vic Dakin after he crosses the line by blackmailing Members of Parliament.


Tagline – You are looking at the face of a Villain.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic British Gangster Film

 

Story: Villain starts as we see how gangster Vic Dakin (Burton) controls London, he has people that will grass on him to the cops with Inspector Bob Matthews (Davenport) trying to bring down the criminal.

Vic continues to use his business connections to stay ahead of the police, with Wolfe Lissner (McShane) being the latest person the inspectors are turning to try and give up Vic’s secrets.

 

Thoughts on Villain

 

Characters – Vic Dakin runs London with his criminal activities, he is feared by most people and if you cross him, you will get hurt if not killed. He has become over confident that he can get away with anything, making him one of the prime targets for everyone involved in law. Wolf Lissner works for Vic, he is one of the youngster members of the crew and the one that the police are trying to use to turn on him, even if he the one person that Vic will always turn to. Bob Matthews is the inspector that has been trying to bring down Vic for years, he has risen up the ranks, got the people in the gang, but never been able to get the conviction. Gerald Draycott is the politician that is being blackmailed to keep the business under wraps for Vic.

PerformancesWe do have two big names in his film, first Richard Burton that doesn’t get to show the skill he could bring to a film, while a younger Ian McShane shows us that he could be set for a career in this sidekick gangster role. The rest of the cast are doing all they need to without being in anyway stand out through the film.

StoryThe story follows a gangster that has the power over London, the police have been hunting him for years, but he always finds a way to get out of trouble. This time they get closer than ever before and could finally take down one of the biggest gangsters in London. When it comes to the gangster genre, we don’t really ever get much different when it comes to where the story goes, this one is based loosely on the Kray brother, but for some reason only one of the twins. It does feel like we have seen everything before, we don’t get drawn into support either side of the battle and end up feeling like it is just another gangster film.

CrimeThe crime world we enter shows us just where the criminals operate and just where the police will need to turn to, in any hope of bringing him down.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in London which see just how the criminals operate, where they can get away from crime.


Scene of the Movie –
The opening scene as we see just how Vic can operate.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The final shot.

Final ThoughtsThis is a typical British gangster film that starts with an intense opening, only to become a drag as the film unfolds.

 

Overall: British Gangster 101.

Rating

 

 

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The Beguiled (1971)

Director: Don Siegel

Writer: Albert Maltz, Irene Kamp (Screenplay) Thomas Cullinan (Novel)

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Geraldine Page, Elizabeth Hartman, Jo Ann Harris, Darleen Carr, Mae Mercer

 

Plot: While imprisoned in a Confederate girls’ boarding school, an injured Union soldier cons his way into each of the lonely women’s hearts, causing them to turn on each other, and eventually, on him.


Tagline – Who is really the captor and who the captive?

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Twisted and Dark Thriller

 

Story: The Beguiled starts when a union soldier John McBurney (Eastwood) is injured, dying in the woods during the war, young Amy (Ferdin) finds him and brings him back to the girls boarding school to fix over and hand over to the confederate soldiers.

Head mistress Martha (Page) brings in strict rules to keep John away from the girls, but it isn’t long before John starts using his charm to take advantage of the women, including teacher Edwina (Hartman), eldest student Carol (Harris) and even Martha herself. Everything goes to plan until they learn about his plan and turn the tables on him.

 

Thoughts on The Beguiled

 

Characters – John McBurney is a union soldier that has been wounded in the war, he is rescued by the girls of a boarding school as he uses his charm to remain safe with the enemy soldiers looking for him. He knows how to seduce all of the women into loving him and it isn’t long before he has all of them waiting for him. Martha is the owner of the school, she doesn’t want to let John in because she knows a man would only bring trouble, only to know it would be right to fix him before falling under his spell just like the other women. She does have a brother missing in the war too. Edwina is the only teacher in the school, she has never been able to trust a man, though John manages to show her how to trust, though she is the most on edge of the women. Carol is the eldest of the student, she sees John as her first experience with a man, one that she can love and be loved by.

PerformancesClint Eastwood in the leading role is great, he goes against what people would be expecting from him in this villainous role that will make you hate him. Geraldine Page does a great job too, with Elizabeth Hartman giving us a strong performance as the one that seems easiest to seduce. Jo Ann Harris fills the role of the seductive teen well completing the three different generations of women trying to win the heart of John.

StoryThe story follows a union soldier taken in by a confederate girl’s boarding school where he uses his charm to lie and win the hearts of the women and girls in the school, until they learn of his ways and turn on him. This shows how the men and women during the war would feel left out by not seeing the opposite of sex for such long periods of time. This shows us just how without communication people can fall for anything and just what will happen if one-man pisses of a lot of women in the same building. This will go in direction you wouldn’t expect and will shock you with just what happens on both sides of the battle

WarThe film doesn’t show us too much of the battles o war, only the effects it has on both the men and women, just how far they will go to get what they want and get revenge.

SettingsThe film keeps us in one major setting, the boarding school, we see the scale of the building which shows us just how easy it is to operate the way John wants to around the girls.


Scene of the Movie –
The amputation scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The clips where we see how John does lie.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dark thriller that shows us just how far people will go to get what they want during the war, it has a twisted look at what will happen if you upset too many women at once too.

 

Overall: Eastwood shines as the villain.

Rating

 

 

The Omega Man (1971)

Director: Boris Sagal

Writer: John William Corrington, Joyce Hooper Corrington (Screenplay) Richard Matheson (Novel)

Starring: Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Rosalind Cash, Paul Koslo, Eric Laneuville, Lincoln Kilpatrick

 

Plot: Army doctor Robert Neville struggles to create a cure for the plague that wiped out most of the human race.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dated Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: The Omega Man starts as we follow Neville (Heston) living in an abandoned New York City as he searches for resources to help him discover a cure for the disease which wiped out most of the population. At night, blind humans who can’t be in sunlight appear, led by Matthias (Zerbe) as we learn both are battling each other.

When the two clash they do discover they are both just fighting to survive but it is the new human in town Lisa (Cash) that saves Neville from certain death from the creatures of the night as they search for the cure.

 

Thoughts on The Omega Man

 

Characters – Neville lives alone in New York City, well by day he treats it like whatever he wants, taking what he wants but preparing for safety from the Brotherhood, he is searching for a cure and when he learns of other humans he steps up his search. Matthias is the leader of the brotherhood who roam the streets at night looking to kill Neville for his involvement in the creation of the infection. Lisa is another human that has been hiding in safety from both the battling sides but when one of their own start to show infection she must risk everything to get Neville to find a cure. She is able to handle herself in battle against enemies that put her life in danger.

PerformanceCharlton Heston was always a good action lead back at the time of release and he was star power with his good performance, Anthony Zerbe is also good as you need to have the creepy villain while Rosalind Cash does make for a strong female character.

StoryA virus as destroyed most of humanity leaving just one man needing to find a cure before the last pocket are killed or infected, well this is easy to follow, I like how the villains are just humans that are infected rather than creatures which we see in the remake, but otherwise is generic in every way as it leads up to the finale moments.

Action/Sci-FiThe action is just random gun battles which is fine but nothing special with the sci-fi elements coming from the idea the world has now been destroyed for the most part.

SettingsAn empty New York is haunting throughout the film, along with all the empty locations we find our character going through, showing just how our big world would become empty with no one in it.

Scene of the Movie – Shopping.

That Moment That Annoyed Me You don’t get enough as to why Matthias is leading a cult like group.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that has dated badly and even not being the biggest fan of I am Legend I couldn’t help but find that a much more interesting film all around.

 

Overall: Sci-Fi doesn’t always stand the test of time.

Rating

 

 

Christopher Walken Weekend – The Anderson Tapes (1971)

Director: Sidney Lumet

Writer: Frank Pierson (Screenplay) Lawrence Sanders (Novel)

Starring: Sean Connery, Dyan Cannon, Martin Balsam, Ralph Meeker, Alan King, Christopher Walken, Val Avery, Dick Williams

 

Plot: After Duke Anderson is released from prison after ten years for taking the rap for a scion of a Mafia family, he cashes in a debt of honor with the mob to bankroll a caper.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Easy to Watch Crime Thriller

 

Story: The Anderson Tapes starts with Duke Anderson (Connery) being released from prison after his 10-year stretch, he meets his former employees and heads back to his old girlfriend Ingrid (Cannon).

Duke wants to make a score to make up for his time in prison by pulling off his own score with his new team Tommy Haskins (Balsam), The Kid (Walken) and Spencer (Williams) but little does he know that he is being watched by the law, waiting for him and his associates to make a mistake.

 

Thoughts on The Anderson Tapes

 

Characters – Duke Anderson is a safe cracking thief that has done his time in prison, released he wants to use his connections to pull off an honour job with his former employers and uses all the skills he has to put the job together. Ingrid is the girlfriend of Anderson whose flat becomes the base for most of the job. Tommy Haskins is one of the team members, he is the one Anderson trusts the most and can landscape a place instantly for potential. The Kid is another member of the team and the youngest member of it at that, he has the connection but could but he loose cannon of the team.

PerformanceSean Connery is good in the leading role of the team of thieves, we get the first screen role for Christopher Walken here as he shows how he can play character that is always different to the rest of the cast. We also have a good supporting cast that all give us good performance through the film.

StoryThe story follows a former prisoner head out of jail looking to claim what he believes is his. The story shows the team being put together for this job from different backgrounds and the different loopholes to get the green light from the mob to do this job but we also see how the police would be tackling such a crime with the early surveillance technology.

Action/CrimeThe action is pretty tame because most of it is an odd punch but most of the film is about the slickness of the heist going on, we follow everything unfold as the crime gets committed.

SettingsA large amount of this movie is set inside the apartment building which shows how planned out the heist is, outside of this the film is New York streets.

Scene of the Movie – Planning the crime, building visit.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The technology noise.

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy to watch heist film, it follows the ideas of most very well and puts together a clever way to make the crime happen.

 

Overall: Easy to watch crime thriller with a slick heist.

Rating

 

 

Classic Franchise – Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)

Director: Don Taylor

Writer: Paul Dehn (Screenplay) Pierre Boulle (Characters)

Starring: Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Bradford Dillman, Natalie Trundy, Eric Braeden, William Windom

 

Plot: The world is shocked by the appearance of three talking chimpanzees, who arrived mysteriously in a U.S. spacecraft. They become the toast of society; but one man believes them to be a threat to the human race.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Reverse Planet of the Apes

 

Story: Escape from the Planet of the Apes starts as Zira (Hunter), Cornelius (McDowall) and Mile (Mineo) arrive back in the present time Earth, the three a quarantined in a local zoo where scientist’s Dr Dixon (Dillman), Dr Branton (Trundy) who put Zira and Cornelius through the same struggle to discover why they are not the dominate species on the planet like back home.

When the President (Windom) brings the news to the world, the whole world becomes curious as the world treats them like major celebrities. Dr Hasslein (Braeden) becomes curious about the truth becoming the only man who believes that Zira and Cornelius could be the start of the uprising of the apes taking over the planet. Can the apes live a normal life or will they be the downfall of man?

 

Thoughts on Escape from the Planet of the Apes

 

Characters/PerformanceZira continues her search for answers as she along with Cornelius travels back to where George original came from, present day Earth. She enjoys the new test to prove herself to humans but soon learns what it is like to be the other side of the cage. Cornelius is the supportive husband that is surprised to see how the humans have passed the idea of all believing in one God like figure. Dr Dixon is one of the doctors that supports the apes but Dr Hasslein is the paranoid version of one man seeing them as a threat.

Performance wise, Kim Hunter and Roddy McDowall both are excellent in this film building on what was created from previous films. Bradford is good as is the rest of the cast through the film.

StoryThe story is very interesting, it does reverse the idea of Planet of the Apes by having the apes the strangers in the human world, I think this works well even if it does at times feel just like any sort of friendly alien movie. This does help tell the story of the origin of the rise which in places does help us learn more about what happens in later films.

Action/Sci-FiThe action is mostly a few chase scenes, there isn’t much going on though on this front, the sci-fi works too as it looks to continue the story on for our future run by apes.

SettingsHaving the film back in human time and locations all works because the change in culture comes off perfectly for how the film wants to go.

Special EffectsThe effects are good when needed but this film doesn’t have too much need for them.

Final ThoughtsAnother good addition to the franchise that twists the whole original idea on its head.

 

Overall: Enjoyable prequel but sequel.

Rating