Monday, March 9, 2009

Film #113: The Outfit

Just look at this cast! Robert Duvall, Robert Ryan, Timothy Carey, Joe Don Baker, Karen Black, Richard Jaekel, Henry Jones, Bill McKinney (one of the villainous hillbillies in Deliverance), Sheree North and a very young Joanna Cassidy (maybe best known as the fleeing stripper replicant in Blade Runner)! They're all milling about in this blood-drenched 1973 gangster film that has Duvall and Baker as thieves who have contracts put out on their heads after they knock off a mob-owned bank. Ooops! Sleepy-eyed psychotronic movie staple Timothy Carey (The Killing, The World's Greatest Sinner, Poor White Trash) lands one of his meatiest mainstream roles as the henchman assigned to rubout the duo. Ryan, meanwhile, appears in his pentultimate performance (his last film was John Frankenheimer's epic 1974 adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh). Though you may have never heard of it before, The Outfit has a great deal going for it. It's written and directed by John Flynn (who did the memorable Taxi Driver-flavored, Paul Schrader-penned revenge movie Rolling Thunder with William Devane and Tommy Lee Jones). The film's adapted from a pulp novel by the legendary, late Donald E. Westlake (Oscar-nominated for his 1990 screenplay The Grifters). It reunites two more cast members from Kubrick's The Killing (Elisha Cook and Marie Windsor, so gloriously at each other's throats in the Kubrick movie), and it's loaded with 70s-L.A. flavored cameos from the likes of jazz great Anita O'Day and Hollywood columnist Army Archard. Plus, the movie's exciting as all get out! It's a must.

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