Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nowhere to Hide

(Jack Starrett, 1977)
The very strange and alien terrain of seventies television - this flat, bizarrely homogenized neverland where everyone's got a gun but no one gets shot - is a very strange place to run into Lee Van Cleef, here enacting the usual tough-as-nails but morally upright U. S. Marshall assigned to protect bozo informant Tony Musante. Meanwhile long-suffering wife Leila Goldoni has discordant Cassavettes flashbacks in the domestic-strife snippets. In other words the homogenization is not complete - no style or excitement whatsoever, but some scant pleasure in the transparent goofiness of the details. There's the ambush lesson opener, the attempted church hit, the kid finding the frogman's dynamite. And while the desert-island police protection getaway is a pretty boring (if economical) centerpiece, the writers do manage to wring out a hilariously desperate 'climax' - an out-of-nowhere fist fight over a disloyal cat. After that, what can they do except drive around the block in a postal truck. Be still my beating heart.

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