Friday, August 1, 2014

The Grissom Gang (1971)

Director: Robert Aldrich

Writers: Leon Griffiths, James Hadley Chase

Composer: Gerald Fried

Starring: Kim Darby, Scott Wilson, Tony Musante, Robert Lansing, Connie Stevens, Irene Dailey, Wesley Addy, Joey Faye, Michael Baseleon, Ralph Waite, Hal Baylor, Matt Clark, Alvin Hammer, Dots Johnson, Don Keefer, Mort Marshall, elliott Street, Dave Willock, Alex Wilson, Raymond Guth, John Steadman

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The psychotic killer, the young heiress...the kidnapping that becomes a love story.

Plot: Barbara Blandish, a young Kansas City heiress, gets kidnapped by some inept local hoodlums for the diamond necklace she is wearing, and then gets kidnapped a second time by the Grissom gang demanding a million dollar ransom. The Grissoms, a family of depraved, ruthless poor white trash, is led by Ma Grissom who wants the girl dead as soon as the ransom is delivered. But plans go haywire when her psychopathic and dim son Slim falls in love with Barbara. Her billionaire father hires Dave Fenner, a cynical private detective, to find her.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

It's not that bad of a picture.  The acting is pretty good and there's a good deal of story but what holds it back is the cheap look and feel of it.  Maybe BONNIE AND CLYDE ()1967) ruined it for the modern Depression-era gangster film but many scenes look like they were shot on a studio backlot and the interiors are obviously sets.  The colors pop like you'd expect for a TV show.  But sometimes it works.

And Gerald Fried's score feels like it's for TV (he did lots of TV back then).  He's a fine composer but the music sometimes feels weak or cheap.  I'm guessing all of this was due to budgetary limitations.  It's weird also because Robert Aldrich has made some great looking pictures before and after.  I'm perplexed.  The MGM widescreen DVD print looks great but it's without extras. 

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