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Written by / 10/06/2013 / 1 Comment / , , , , ,

HESTON & CASSAVETES IN TWO-MINUTE WARNING

year: 1976 cast: Charlton Heston, John Cassavetes, David Janssen, Pamela Bellwood rating: ***1/2
Thank God for the Super Bowl, without which there’d be no 1977 thriller BLACK SUNDAY. The football game, invaded by a crashing blimp, only occurs at the end. But in TWO-MINUTE WARNING, a sturdy suspense flick that came out a year earlier, the game is everything.

A faceless sniper makes his way to an upper level of the L.A. Coliseum, eventually spotted by cameras and it’s up to cop Charlton Heston and SWAT leader John Cassavetes to take him out. But we’re skipping ahead – half the film sets up all the characters, inside and outside the stadium.
Pamela Bellwood with Beau Bridges
These include Jack Klugman as an unlucky gambler who sits next to preist Mitch Ryan. Beau Bridges and wife Pamela Belwood with their two hyperactive sons. David Janseen and Gena Rowlands as a bickering couple...

Although the direction is the best character, putting the audience in the eyes of the killer – allowing us to see the game from the monitors while cutting back and forth to the lawmen sneaking around the stadium, incognito. Meanwhile the anticipation mounts on when the sniper will attack.
John Cassavetes breaking from indie films as a SWAT commander
When he does strike with flying bullets, first knocking out several SWAT officers and then working the crowd, it’s a taut dose of pandemonium except for the professionals... Heston and Cassavetes remain cool and alert.

The best moments occur as the good guys slowly make their way to the killer’s hive, where, even after being shot by rookie SWAT Asher Brauner, the still nameless/faceless menace gets even nastier. A suspenseful, evolving thriller that takes it’s time but has little to no downtime.
INTERVIEW SELECTION WITH ACTOR HARRY NORTHUP: THIRD FROM LEFT
Cassavetes was great to work with.  I told him that I had just seen "The Kiling of a Chinese Bookie" and I had noticed that he cut away from violence in that movie. 

He said, "I am sick of violence." We talked about Scorsese's films and he said that in Scorsese's first feature, "Who's That Knocking At My Door?" you an see what themes Scorsese will mine throughout his career... It took John C. several days before he got into his character.
John Cassavetes with Charlton Heston
"Get your hand off me you damn dirty SWAT."
"He never asks for a second cup of coffee at home."
"Godfather, I need your services... My roommate Felix is impossible to live with..."
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1 comment:

  1. When this movie came out it played at the Cerritos Twin outside the mall for what seemed like a year, months. I don't remember how long but I do remember dragging my uncle to see this many a time. I loved this movie so much as a kid. When I actually owned it, all that love came pouring back for it. BLACK SUNDAY of course was awesome, somehow getting permission to actually film on the sidelines during the freaking Super Bowl. Great stuff.

    Great review.

    Wasn't the original DVD release in a 2-in1 - with some other movie - I don't remember, maybe it was another one of my favorite movies from back then. Alas I don't have it any longer.

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