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GEORGE C. SCOTT DRIVES RICHARD FLEISCHER'S 'THE LAST RUN'

George C. Scott & Tony Musante in The Last Run Year: 1971
There's something about Tony Musante that makes you want to punch him in the nose. Perfect for an actor like George C. Scott, who didn't suffer fools, on or off the set, including original director John Huston replaced by Richard Fleischer...

In THE LAST RUN Scott plays an aged getaway driver hired to take an escaped convict (whom he helped escape) on a score, and the entire Spain setting harbors either the painted landscape countrysides or, there and back along a winding road, a deep blue fisherman's beach. The tagline states, "In the tradition of Hemingway and Bogart," but with a Jerry Goldsmith score detailed by a haunting, reposeful harpsichord, it's more Spaghetti Western with random bursts of action throughout an edgy road trip from one double-cross to another chance to score, and with some twists and turns that shouldn't be spoiled in-between...

George C. Scott, Tony Musante & Trish Van Devure
Stretched upon an intentionally bleak Neo Noir canvas by former genuine Film Noir director Fleischer (ARMORED CAR ROBBERY), the chase scenes and roadside shootout sequences flow smoothly at times, awkward at others within the savory motel-hopping dialogue, so it's about the characters, guided by their reactions to and against each other rather than the situation at hand, which needed more urgency, overall...

Meanwhile, the signature Spaghetti Western "revenge" element/motif is gradually portioned out to the audience as it's learned and dealt with by our main man, going from "in over his head" to "in too deep" while far from alone in this particularly dire, road-weaving purgatory that includes a brief and tacked-on June/November romance that's more a contrived male fantasy than necessary to the overall story-line. Then again, this is pulp and it's fiction both, and in droves — literally.  

George C. Scott smoking in THE LAST RUN Rates: ***1/2
Scott's near-future wife Trish Van Devere delivers lines in a dreamy, lifeless monotone, and she doesn't provide any chemistry in either direction as Scott's initial abhor for the cocky, condescending Musante shapes into something of a  buddy-teamup who still have it in for each other, and their anti-chemistry works...

Once the trio hooks up during the second act there's a comfortable pace after a somewhat grueling rudimentary stage: by his granite looks and tough guy name, Scott's Harry Garmes need only exist in a sparse tale that initially tries too hard to establish his rabbit's-foot-religious yet existential characterization (one scene with a hooker played by near-future ex-wife Colleen Dewhurst) who does only one thing well, and may or may not have waited too long for his return... In that, literally from the onset, the title explains everything about him while, at the same time, giving everything away.
Trish Van Devere and Tony Musante in THE LAST RUN
George C. Scott throws a gun between car chases in THE LAST RUN
Closeup of the car in the test drive in the getaway car action heist flick THE LAST RUN by Richard Fleischer
Test driving wide shot of Spain at dawn in THE LAST RUN starring George C. Scott Reviewed by James M. Tate
George C. Scott cops a close call in THE LAST RUN w/ assistant director Antonio Tarruella
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