Written by / 5/27/2014 / No comments / , , , , , ,

OLIVER REED TRIPLE FEATURE INCLUDING 'REVOLVER'

YEAR: 1973 Rates: ***
REVOLVER: A promising, clever premise of a government official, played by the genuinely tough Oliver Reed, who surreptitiously allows a prisoner to escape and quickly abducts him as exchange for his kidnapped wife, almost succeeds.

While there are a few great moments, some involving the convict, Fabio Testi, showing gruff Reed (described as "a dog without a home") the ways of thiefdom... which should have been more of the film... the side characters, like a popular folk musician strangely connected to the bad guys and long bouts of plodding (horribly looped) dialogue, muddle the lean storyline. And yet Reed, with a scowling catfish countenance, is more than watchable, while Testi's much too pretty as a believable challenger. Although their ultimate camaraderie, which builds throughout, seems genuine and works for the poignant climax while iconic composer Ennio Morricone, known for his usually intense Spaghetti-Western soundtracks, provides a flowery, dated score more befitting a frolicking light comedy or game show.


year: 1963 rating: ***
THESE ARE THE DAMNED: A cold war sci-fi British import dealing with a gang of black leather clad hoods, in which Oliver Reed is the moody, dangerous leader who, using his own extremely gorgeous sister, Shirley Anne Field, as bait, coaxes a millionaire, MacDonald Carey, into being mugged.

These three characters, after some running around, eventually wind-up inside a mountain compound (underground but not really) where a group of mysterious children live, all extremely cold to the touch... We know they're part of a military/government experiment, but why? Who are they and what exactly is their purpose? And don't they believe in recess?

The mystery builds in a TWILIGHT ZONE fashion but eventually plunders into cliché idealism dealing with yet another morality lesson on nukes. But the marvelously flowing camerawork, and Reed's terrific intensity, makes the journey better than the destination: thankfully there's more of the first.

1983 rating: **1/2
THE STING II: Not sure what Hollywood was thinking. "Let's make a sequel to THE STING and replace Paul Newman and Robert Redford with Jackie Gleason and Mac Davis." 

But it's really not too bad. Seems like a made-for-TV flick that you watch digesting dinner. Gleason and Davis  are grifters pulling two cons at once: screwing doofus kingpin Karl Malden out of money on a fixed boxing match and getting revenge on baddie Oliver Reed... playing Robert Shaw's character from the original... for killing a fellow grifter. In this role, and providing a legit edge throughout, Reed takes Shaw's villain to the hilt, making him someone not just worth ripping off, but stopping... permanently. Which won't be an easy task.

There are some fun moments; nothing gained, nothing lost overall. The main con gets a bit confusing as Davis pretends to be a professional boxer, but the little moments in-between are enough to carry things moderately. Mac Davis and gal drifter Teri Garr try their best to carry things along while Jackie Gleason is basically collecting an easy paycheck. Thankfully we have Oliver Reed to remind us, and the characters, there's always something to lose.
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