ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – K – Klute (1971)

Director: Alan J Pakula

Writer: Andy Lewis, David E Lewis (Screenplay)

Starring: Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland, Charles Cioffi, Roy Scheider, Dorothy Tristan, Rita Gam, Nathan George

 

Plot: A small-town detective searching for a missing man has only one lead: a connection with a New York prostitute.


Tagline – You’d never take her for a call girl. You’d never take him for a cop.

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Thriller

 

Story: Klute starts when a man goes missing with one of the last people to see him alive being a New York prostitute Bree Daniels (Fonda) a woman that is trying to get into acting, she has had many clients through the years and has now started unsettling phone calls. Detective John Klute (Sutherland) is still trying to get to the bottom of the missing persons case, which sees him returning to Bree for more information.

As Klute spends more time learning how Bree operates, he starts to meet the other people in the sex underworld of New York city including her former pimp Frank Ligourin (Scheider) and fellow prostitute Arlyn Page (Tristan), with each leading him to the answer in his missing persons case.

 

Thoughts on Klute

 

Characters – Bree Daniels is the New York prostitute that has been trying to become an actress, she has stop taking as many tricks as before and is the key witness in a missing persons case, she is being watched over by Klute who starts to help her see life in a different light, one which makes her happy, though she is always fearing about how he will judge her for her past. John Klute is a detective trying to locate a missing person, he keeps watch over Bree become romantically involved with her, he shows her a different way to see life, while seeing how this underworld operate. Frank Ligourin is Bree’s pimp that is always trying to get the best for his women, no matter what that means for the women, if they get paid, he gets paid.

PerformancesJane Fonda is wonderful in this leading role, she brings the upfront confidence you would expect from a call girl, with the ability to show change through the film. Donald Sutherland is brilliant too, he keeps his character straight down the line like he needs to through the film. the rest of the cast are flawless and let the leads take the centre stage throughout.

StoryThe story here follows a police detective that spends time with prostitute that might hold the answers to a missing person only to find himself involved in a bigger mystery about who she is. We do spend plenty of time following Bree and seeing how she operates her off the record career and how she is trying to go straight, while being stalked, we get the unsettling feeling that she is going through during the film. seeing how the investigation unfolds is interesting because we see how he doesn’t worry about how many different illegal activities he finds himself going into. This is a tense thriller that does keep us on edge just to see what will happen next to the characters.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of the film does show us how the prostitute world operates and how the answers for the case will come from what Klute learns.

SettingsThe film is set in New York City which will is always a busy city for any crime story to unfold in.


Scene of the Movie –
First meeting with Frank.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It doesn’t seem to give us enough clues to what happened to the missing person.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thriller that does keep us guessing to just what will happen next and what is going on in this world.

 

Overall: Intense Thriller.

Rating

 

 

James Bond Month – Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Director: Guy Hamilton

Writer: Richard Maibaum, Tom Mankiewicz (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Connery, Jill St John, Charles Gray, Lana Wood, Jimmy Dean, Bruce Cabot, Putter Smith

 

Plot: A diamond smuggling investigation leads James Bond to Las Vegas, where he uncovers an evil plot involving a rich business tycoon.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Back to the Best

 

Story: Diamonds are Forever starts as James Bond (Connery) goes out for blood in his battle against Blofeld (Gray) killing him in his base, returning home James gets his latest mission to learn about a mysterious diamond smuggling ring, first sending him to Amsterdam.

James going undercover becomes part of the ring where he finds himself in Las Vegas joined by Tiffany Case (John) to find out just who is the mastermind behind the ring.

 

Thoughts on Diamonds are Forever

 

Characters – James Bond gets to finally take care of his arch nemesis Blofeld before going on his latest mission going undercover searching for diamonds, he shows us his usually swagger, getting the women along the way as he looks to solve this latest mystery. Tiffany Case is one of the connections in the chain of the diamond smuggling, the first one James makes contact with, she must learn the help along the way to get out alive. Blofeld is the old enemy that James gets to take care of early on, the man that has held James up from multiply other mission. We do get to meet plenty of people involved in the ring which only make James’s mission more difficult.

PerformancesSean Connery is back and back to his best in this outing as the iconic spy, it is great to have him back even if it is only for one last time. Jill St John is good as the Bond girl for the movie though offers nothing new for the series. Charles Gray keeps the role of Blofeld nicely giving us just what we need from the villain role.

StoryThe story here shows James finally getting his hands on Blofeld before needing to head off on a new mission, one that gives him everything he wants, beautiful women, casinos and a villain he wants to stay ahead off. This story plays out just like one of the more famous ones in reverse which becomes very interesting to watch, it has everything you need for the latest adventure for Bond, a villain that is prepared for the intelligence of Bond and the world needing saving once again. This does feel like it has given the life back to the franchise which needed to be bought back from the weaker outings, the story is simple enough and continues to keep us watching along with Bond.

Action/AdventureThe action is good even if the fights are simple enough to show how Bond can beat most in combat. The adventure just takes Bond to new and old locations for his mission.

SettingsFrom Amsterdam to America, we get a much more knowledge set of locations with the bases being in locations which would make sense for a super villain to be hiding in.


Scene of the Movie –
The base attack.

That Moment That Annoyed Me They seem to be too friendly Bond and Blofeld.

Final ThoughtsFor the Bond franchise this is a new feel to them, one that is more interesting and strong then the last few instalments.

 

Overall: Returning to what we want to see.

Rating

 

 

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

 

 

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