Thursday, June 29, 2017

Blade (1973)

Director: Ernest Pintoff

Writers: Jeff Lieberman, Ernest Pintoff

Composer: John Cacavas

Starring: John Marley, Jon Cypher, Kathryn Walker, William Prince, Michael McGuire, Joe Santos, John Schuck, Peter White, Keene Curtis, Karen Machon, Raina Barrett, Ted Lange, Marshall Efron, Steve Landesberg, Morgan Freeman, Julius Harris, Rue McClanahan

More info: IMDb

Tagline: A Psycho-Karate Killer Brutalizes His Victims And Your Emotions!

Plot: A homicide detective goes after a woman-hating serial killer, who uses knives to murder his victims.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

The cast alone should pique a few people's interest.  If you don't know some of their names, their faces or voices will ring a bell.  Morley is good as the hard-nosed detective, Blade.  I want this guy on my side.  His chemistry with Kathryn Walker (as his on screen wife, Maggie) is special and delightful.  John Cypher does a fine job as the killer that Blade is out to get and he's brutal with his women.  The picture opens with the first kill and he hits and kicks the life out of her.  It's harsh and in your face.  There's a subplot about a politician that works nicely, too, and the ending is quite good.  What bugged me was the semi-frequent cliched dialogue (and performance mostly from what John Schuck delivered as Blade's cop bos, Reardon).  And then there was the annoying amateurish camera angles that permeated a lot of the first half.  It often looked like a super low budget affair directed by an inexperienced director.  That could also largely be the fault of the cinematographer, David Hoffman, who'd only shot one feature prior (and no other feature narrative films after this one) and that was a sketch comedy, also directed by Pintoff.  The music alternates from good to outdated but for the most part I liked it.  The flaws are too great to make this a really good picture but it's worth watching.  Hell, the two scenes where Blade interviews a nude porn actress sitting on a bed waiting to film her scene will have you laughing.  Each time as Blade leaves from talking to her the porn director (Steve Landesberg) describes her scene and her character motivation.  It really is hilarious and you probably won't regret seeing the film just for these two brief moments.  But then you've also got one of the earliest film appearances from Morgan Freeman which is just fantastic, as well as seeing Ted Lange in his second movie role.  I liked it enough to recommend.  The print I watched was anamorphic widescreen and very dirty, which for this film, I wouldn't want to watch it any other way. 

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