Review: The Last Run

The Last Run is a neo noir film from 1971. It stars George C. Scott a year after his Academy Award Winning performance in Patton. When asked why he made this movie he said  “I’m doing it because it reminds me of old Bogart pictures.” This film originally started out being directed by the man who made Bogart famous, John Huston. After constant fighting with Scott, Huston quite the film. Richard Fleischer took over as director and the films original leading lady was fired and Trish Van Devere replaced her. Interestingly Scott’s wife at the time Colleen Dewhurst had a small role in this film. Her and Scott’s marriage was pretty much over by this time. Scott would go on to marry his new co-star Devere a year later.

Scott plays a retired mob driver, who takes a job after his wife has left him. We are left in the dark on what this job is, but we know he needs to drive across the border into France. Soon there is a daring escape when a wrecked truck explodes and a prisoner runs to Scott’s 1957 BMW convertible. This escaped prisoner is played by Tony Musante. Musante demands a detour from their intended path to pick up his girlfriend played by Devere. When Scott delivers the couple to his employers, Musante tips Scott off that something is wrong. Scott rescues the couple from sure death and our trio’s adventure begins. We learn a little more about our trio’s history and a love triangle of sorts begins. Will our three make a clean escape? Who will our girl choice?

This film bombed at the box office and was not well received at the time by critics. Not sure why, maybe critics and audiences were looking for something different from the current Academy Award winner. I enjoyed this film for what it is, a simple neo noir with some good performances, an interesting, mysterious plot, and some great car chases. If you are a fan of Scott or other neo noir film of the early 1970’s I think you will enjoy this film.

Re-watching the Classics: The Narrow Margin

Poster - Narrow Margin, The_01

The Narrow Margin is directed by film noir great Richard Fleischer.  Martin Goldsmith and Jack Leonard were nominated for an Academy Award for best writing.  Even though this was an Oscar nominee it is very much a B-movie taking only 13 days to film.  The film stars the queen of the B movie noir Marie Windsor.  The hardboiled detective is played wonderfully by Charles McGraw.  His gravelly voice and great one liners makes for one cool character.

A line from the film as our hero describes what kind of dish our femme fatale is before he meets her: ” Sixty-cent special. Cheap, flashy. Strictly poison under the gravy”

This is also Jacqueline White’s last movie, she got married and moved to Wyoming with her husband after this film.  It was her most successful film.  Hard to say where her career would have gone if she stuck it out a little longer.

The story starts when our femme fatale is being escorted by two L.A. detectives back to L.A. to testify against the mob.  One of our detectives is shot and killed protecting our witness.  Now our hero has to out smart an unknown number of mob hitmen while protecting our femme fatale that he doesn’t really like, on a train with very few places to hide.

Favorite Tidbit:  This film was actually made in 1950 but Howard Hughes who owned the studio at the time heard good things about it and wanted to view it before its release.  He forgot about it while it sat in his projector room for over a year.  The other story of the delay is Hughes liked it so much he wanted to change it from a B-movie to an A-Movie and putting Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell in it.

The Narrow Margin was remade in 1990, I haven’t seen the remake since it came out.  I’ve watched the original many times in the last few years.  I will have to re-look at the remake and compare it to the original at a later date.

This is a classic that should be seen by any film noir fan!  If you haven’t seen it in awhile go watch it right now!