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MARLON BRANDO AND GEORGE C. SCOTT IN 'THE FORMULA'

Title: THE FORMULA Year: 1980 Rating: **

Most cult films start out generally unknown and unsuccessful till gaining a dedicated following but John G. Avildsen's THE FORMULA has a different kind of lasting legacy in the mere potential of casting two eccentric Oscar-winners who turned-down their statues: George C. Scott from PATTON and Marlon Brando from THE GODFATHER...

Unfortunately both temperamental, infamously difficult icons aren't in the picture together for very long... Brando's big oil tycoon character is anticipated throughout the first act after Scott's detective partner's murder leads him into a rudimentary neo noir cat-and-mouse involving last names and tons of enigmatic exposition...

Marlon Brando in THE FORMULA with George C. Scott

When the screen legends do sporadically meet up, it's nothing special... Brando, like when turning into Don Corleone for THE GODFATHER, made adjustments to look older and more fragile but here his flop-over baldness and in particular a set of fake protruding teeth makes his signature mumble almost incoherent — yet a bulk of the story has Scott investigating alone throughout Germany, seeking the titular post-WW2 invention of turning coal into a clean synthetic oil that could bust the oil business...

Meeting with various scientists who wind up dead after Scott leaves the room and, while the CHINATOWN template of knowing as little as our investigating protagonist, and with pretty Martha Heller thrown in as a partial love interest, THE FORMULA remains too murky for a mystery while lacking palpable tension for a suspenseful thriller.  

Apocalypse Now/Godfather franchise actors Marlon Brando i& G.D. Spradlin THE FORMULA
Marthe Keller in THE FORMULA
George C. Scott in THE FORMULA
George C. Scott and Calvin Jung in THE FORMULA
Marthe Keller in THE FORMULA with George C. Scott
John G. Avildsen's THE FORMULA with George C. Scott
Alligator zoo from THE FORMULA with George C. Scott
Marthe Keller in THE FORMULA with George C. Scott
Marthe Keller in THE FORMULA
Marthe Keller in THE FORMULA with George C. Scott
Marthe Keller in THE FORMULA with George C. Scott
Marthe Keller in THE FORMULA with George C. Scott
Nazi Scientist Plot/McGuffin Richard Lynch in THE FORMULA
George C. Scott in THE FORMULA with Ike Eisenmann
Marlon Brando in THE FORMULA
Marlon Brando in THE FORMULA
Marlon Brando in THE FORMULA and George C. Scott
Marlon Brando in THE FORMULA
Marlon Brando in THE FORMULA
Marlon Brando in THE FORMULA
Marlon Brando in THE FORMULA
Marlon Brando in THE FORMULA with George C. Scott

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