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Prime Cut
USA 1972
Directed by Michael Ritchie
Running time 86 minutes

4 stars

Although Lee Marvin doesn't have the stripped-back tautness of Point Blank working for him here,and he has to share screen time with bad guy Gene Hackman this is still one of his best tough guy roles and one of the best gangster films of the 70s. Apparently Ritchie's original cut was much better but the producers lost their bottle over the blackness of Richie's and writer Robert Dillon's vision of gangsterism as just the other face of consumer capitalism. Includes an extended homage to Hitchcock's North by Northwest with Marvin and Sissy Spacek being pursued though a wheat field by a giant mechanical reaper. Ritchie, who began his career in television, on the strength of this and his next film. The Candidate, also released in 1972, was briefly considered as a director to watch during the 70s but failed to deliver and most people will know him as the guiding hand behind the mildy amusing thriller spoof Fletch (1985) and its forgettable sequel, Fletch Lives (1989). BH




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