Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Last Run (1971)

Director: Richard Fleischer

Starring: George C. Scott, Tony Musante, Trish Van Devere, Colleen Dewhurst

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: In the tradition of Hemingway and Bogart.

Plot: A former getaway driver from Chicago (Scott) has retired to a peaceful life in a Portuguese fishing village. He is asked to pull off one last job, involving driving a dangerous escaped convict and his girlfriend to France. However, the job turns out to be a double-cross and the trio are pursued back to Portugal where they make one last stand on the coast while the enemy assassins attempt to gun them down.

My Rating: 7/10

Would I watch it again? if a better print came along, sure.

If all anyone ever saw of George C. Scott were PATTON and DR. STRANGELOVE, that would be enough for to know that he was one of the greatest actors of any generation. At some point I'll watch PATTON for the umpteenth time and go into more detail but you know what I mean. He's just magnificent to watch on the screen. Even a shitty movie with Scott would still be worth watching if only because of him. It turns out THE LAST RUN is pretty good. He's the man.

The plot outline gives you everything you need to know. It's by-the-numbers until Harry (Scott) picks up Paul (Musante). Paul changes the schedule Harry's been given and makes a detour to pick up his girlfriend (Van Devere). Paul turns out to be an arrogant prick and really starts to push Harry around. It doesn't take long before Harry takes this guy out into the hall of the hotel and tells him how it's going to be.

Who's your daddy?

From this point on Harry's got Paul's respect. Once Harry drops off his cargo as planned he senses all isn't right and comes in with his gun blazing, saving the day. OK so far. From this point on (halfway through the film) the three are trying to get to safety away from the killers hired to eliminate Paul and the other two. That's pretty much it.

There are some pretty good car chases (several) as you'd expect with Harry being such a great driver and all. We also a few scenes that prove Harry's not the weak dinosaur Paul thinks he is. Besides the ass-kicking in the hallway, there's one very nice scene involving the police. The trio are stopping for gas at a roadside station when two motorcycle patrol officers pull up to Harry and ask questions. Harry, after the police start to suspiciously drive away, goes inside the station/restaurant and tells Claudie (Van Devere) to "nicely" ask the attractive young gentleman at the bar if he'd like a ride, knowing he'll say yes. To throw the police off, they've got a different young man than they're looking for as a passenger. A few miles later they ditch him, amusingly, and go back for Paul. It was spontaneous and clever.

One little piece of fun dialogue...early on, just before Harry leaves for the job, he's nailin' a prostitute and going on with the after-sex dialogue that two people who know each other long and well would get into. She knows he's leaving and might not come back so she asks him if he minded if she prayed for him.

Monique (Dewhurst): Are you catholic?
Harry: (with a smile) In the old days, before the fall, I owned a few shares.

It's the kind of line Scott can do so, so well. Much like in PATTON when a reporter asks him if he reads the bible and he replies, "Every goddamned day." Classic.

Jerry Goldsmith's score is fine if not memorable. But then a lessor Goldsmith score is still better than nothing.

THE LAST RUN isn't a great film but it's not a bad one, either. In all the films I've seen Scott in, I never once felt he was phoning in his performance. He always gave everything to his roles and that's certainly commendable. Not many actors can say that.

Oh, here's something a little interesting. According to IMDB, at this time Scott was near the end to his second marriage to Dewhurst and, while filming, he fell in love with Van Devere and married her the next year, making it his fifth and final marriage. Scott, you dog, you.

Smile all you want. Our marriage is just about over...

And our is just beginning.

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