Thursday, September 1, 2011

Quickie Movie Review

The other night I watched a western that got better as it went.

The Hunting Party (1971) starring Gene Hackman, Oliver Reed and Candice Bergen. Without giving away the details, because I think you should watch this

film, I'll just say that it's one of the more interesting versions of The Most Dangerous Game in the long cinematic history of reboots of that tale, with an interestingly prescient glimpse into a 1975 movie Candice Bergen would again star as a wealthy kidnapped woman who ends up liking her captor.

The things I liked were the cast: Simon Oakland, Mitchell Ryan, L.Q.Jones, and G.D Spradlin are the great standouts in the supporting roles. That didn't surprise me because every one of those guys are great at what they do. But in this film they're extra good, especially Jones and Ryan. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen Ryan given so much room and material in his earlier work. Kind of makes me wish he'd been given a few good leading roles (which I recall I also said about Jack Palance in my last review). Bergen is good, but naturally this is a film for Hackman villain fans. He's a real asshole in this one and spot on, as always. I think I was quite impressed with Oliver Reed. He played it with a subdued lethality touched with tough vulnerability.

The Hunting Party is typical in many regards to the 1970s point of view on westerns, i.e. the outlaws are the sympathetic characters and the establishment boys are the no-good sonsabitches, but it's atypical in that it is actually a good movie in spite of the common wrapping of its time. Reminds me of how Walter Hill can spin B material into gold. I recommend this film for those who don't need John Wayne or Clint Eastwood all the time.

1 comment:

Carlos said...

The original story was written by Gilbert Ralston who also wrote the SciFi/Horror novel The Ratman's Notebook which the movie Willard was based on. He also wrote the Star Trek:TOS episode 'Who mourns for Adonis'