Film Review – BADGE 373 (1973)

BADGE 373 (1973, USA) **½
Crime, Drama, Thriller
dist. Paramount Pictures (USA), Cinema International Corporation (CIC) (UK); pr co. Paramount Pictures; d. Howard W. Koch; w. Pete Hamill (inspired by the exploits of Eddie Egan); pr. Howard W. Koch; ph. Arthur J. Ornitz (Technicolor. 35mm. Spherical. 1.85:1); m. J.J. Jackson; ed. John Woodcock; ad. Philip Rosenberg; rel. 25 July 1973 (USA), 9 August 1973 (UK); BBFC cert: 15; r/t. 116m.
cast: Robert Duvall (Eddie Ryan), Verna Bloom (Maureen), Henry Darrow (Sweet William), Eddie Egan (Scanlon), Felipe Luciano (Ruben Garcia), Tina Cristiani (Mrs. Caputo), Marina Durell (Rita Garcia), Chico Martínez (Frankie Diaz), Jose Duvall (Ferrer (as Jose Duval)), Louis Cosentino (GiGi Caputo), Luis Avalos (Chico), Nubia Olivero (Mrs. Diaz), Sam Schacht (Assistant D.A.), Edward F. Carey (The Commissioner), ‘Big’ Lee (Junkie in Casino), Duane Morris (Gay in Casino), John Marriott (Superintendent), Joel Veiga (Manuel – Botica Proprietor), Mark Tendler (Harbour Lights Bouncer), Robert Weil (Hans).
When his partner is killed, tough Irish detective Eddie Ryan (Duvall) vows to avenge the death, whatever the cost. As he begins unravelling clues, his behaviour becomes so outrageous that he’s obliged to turn in his badge, but the experience only emboldens him. Ryan eventually learns that his partner was caught up in a Puerto Rican gun-running scheme masterminded by a crook named Sweet Willie (Darrow), who wants to foment revolutionary war. Billed as being based on the exploits of real-life NYPD cop Eddie Egan, this production follows on the coattails of the vastly superior 1971 landmark, THE FRENCH CONNECTION, which had also been based on one of Egan’s cases. This time Duvall takes on the cop role and does a creditable job. However, the film lacks the directorial style and the building of tension that made THE FRENCH CONNECTION a winner. Here we have a cop seeking revenge and, after he is suspended, going it alone. Good use is made of New York locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan adding an authenticity that is lacking elsewhere. The script lacks dramatic punch and the gun-running sub-plot feels formulaic, with the Puerto Rican villains decidedly stereotypical. Egan has a significant role as Duvall’s boss, but his lack of acting experience shows, whilst Darrow lacks the charisma required for his role as the arms dealer. The actions scenes, though, are well-staged – notably, a chase involving Duvall on board a bus with the villains in pursuit in a fleet of cars. Despite its flaws, the film remains a moderately entertaining but lesser entry in the rogue cop genre.

Film Review – HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER (1973)

Image result for high plains drifter 1973HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER (USA, 1973) ***½
      Distributor: Universal Pictures (USA), Cinema International Corporation (CIC) (UK); Production Company: The Malpaso Company; Release Date: 6 April 1973 (USA), 31 August 1973 (UK); Filming Dates: July-August 1972; Running Time: 105m; Colour: Technicolor; Sound Mix: Mono (Westrex Recording System); Film Format: 35mm; Film Process: Panavision; Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1; BBFC Cert: 18.
      Director: Clint Eastwood; Writer: Ernest Tidyman; Executive Producer: Jennings Lang; Producer: Robert Daley; Director of Photography: Bruce Surtees; Music Composer: Dee Barton; Film Editor: Ferris Webster; Casting Director: William Batliner, Robert J. LaSanka (both uncredited); Art Director: Henry Bumstead; Set Decorator: George Milo; Costumes: James Gilmore, Joanne Haas, Glenn Wright (all uncredited); Make-up: Joe McKinney, Gary Morris (both uncredited); Sound: James R. Alexander.
      Cast: Clint Eastwood (The Stranger), Verna Bloom (Sarah Belding), Marianna Hill (Callie Travers), Mitchell Ryan (Dave Drake), Jack Ging (Morgan Allen), Stefan Gierasch (Mayor Jason Hobart), Ted Hartley (Lewis Belding), Billy Curtis (Mordecai), Geoffrey Lewis (Stacey Bridges), Scott Walker (Bill Borders), Walter Barnes (Sheriff Sam Shaw), Paul Brinegar (Lutie Naylor), Richard Bull (Asa Goodwin), Robert Donner (Preacher), John Hillerman (Bootmaker), Anthony James (Cole Carlin), William O’Connell (Barber), John Quade (Jake Ross), Jane Aull (Townswoman), Dan Vadis (Dan Carlin), Reid Cruickshanks (Gunsmith), Jim Gosa (Tommy Morris), Jack Kosslyn (Saddlemaker), Russ McCubbin (Fred Short), Belle Mitchell (Mrs. Lake), John Mitchum (Warden), Carl Pitti (Teamster), Chuck Waters (Stableman), Buddy Van Horn (Marshall Jim Duncan).
      Synopsis: A gunfighting stranger comes to the small settlement of Lago and is hired to bring the townsfolk together in an attempt to hold off three outlaws who are on their way.
      Comment: Eastwood’s second directorial effort is an interesting supernatural Western that trades on the persona he built with Sergio Leone and is filmed with the efficiency he learned from Don Siegel. The black humour was a late addition as Eastwood looked to move the story away from writer Tidyman’s initial revenge theme to something more mysterious. Eastwood assembled a good cast and technical crew. The Mono Lake location presents a remote community and adds to the mystery as does the eerie score by Dee Barton. Eastwood would rework the theme in 1985s PALE RIDER.
      Notes: Universal Pictures wanted the film to be shot on the studio lot. Instead, Eastwood had a whole town built in the desert near Mono Lake in the California Sierras. Many of the buildings were complete, so that interiors could be shot on location. One of the headstones in the graveyard bears the name Sergio Leone as a tribute. Other headstones bear the names of Don Siegel and Brian G. Hutton. Patrick McGilligan’s 2002 Eastwood biography quotes the star as saying, “I buried my directors.”