Friday, June 9, 2017

The Happening (1967)

Director: Elliot Silverstein

Writers: Frank Pierson, James D. Buchanan, Ronald Austin

Composer: Frank De Vol

Starring: Anthony Quinn, George Maharis, Michael Parks, Robert Walker Jr., Martha Hyer, Faye Dunaway, Milton Berle, Oskar Homolka, Jack Kruschen, Clifton James, Eugene Roche, James Randolph Kuhl, Luke Askew

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The Most Fantastic $3,000,000 Caper That Ever Happened!

Plot: A few hippies "go with the flow" and end up kidnapping a retired Mafia kingpin.

My rating: 5/10

Will I watch it again?  Nope.

This probably sounded a lot better on paper.  The problem is in the execution.  The comedy is wacky, broad and obnoxious.  The "hippies" are obnoxious and mostly over acted.  I think they were going for zany.  The music certainly echoes that vibe.  Hell, even the car ride back to the swamp shack after the big score has all of that along with some crazy camera angles like you'd see in the '66 BATMAN show.  Quinn comes off the best and he's playing it straight.  It's actually kind of sad when he discovers that he's been living a lie for years where his wife and friends are concerned.  What ruins it is the comedic music and the kids being obnoxious.  There are moments when this picture turns serious and it rarely works because of the forced humor and the mishandled tone of the film.  The story is fine, it's whats on screen that hurts.  This picture could go full on comedy and work or it could work well as a really good crime drama but it fails on both counts.  The only time I laughed was at the The Inspector (Kruschen).  He had that Lee J. Cobb thing going on where he's frustrated and the people around him aren't helping matters.  It was wild seeing a very young Michael Parks and with blonde hair.  I'd say skip this one but there is enough with the cast that it's easy to let your curiosity get the best of you.  The Supremes sing the title song.

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