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Author Topic: Carol Reed's The Running Man (1963)  (Read 257 times)
morrison-dylan-fan
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« on: August 12, 2017, 06:35:26 PM »

Watched on DVD.

8

Review #1,498.

Spoilers

Coming up to 1,500 reviews,I began looking for lesser-known films by directors who I'm a fan of. Finding The Third Man and Odd Man Out to be magnificent Film Noir's,I was excited to learn that director Carol Reed had actually made a third "Man in hiding" title, which led to me putting my running shoes on.

The plot:

Faking his death,Rex Black arranges with his wife Stella to run an insurance scam. Sneaking home after he starts to get the plan rolling, Rex finds insurance agent Stephen Maddux presses Stella on what happened to her husband. Fearing they may get caught, Rex gets Stella to agree to take a "holiday" to Spain,so the cash can be sorted out there. Arriving, Stella and Rex (under an alias and fake Aussie accent) get set to celebrate, but discover an unexpected holiday guest has joined them.

View on the film:

Sailing to the film after experiencing his own mutiny on Mutiny on the Bounty, director Carol Reed (who got $200,000 for leaving the Bounty) steps out of the Film Noir shadows with cinematographer Robert Krasker for an elegant sunset Thriller. Filmed on location, Reed and Krasker give the Black's holiday a dusty/sand appearance,which slowly grates into the movie an atmosphere of sinister mind-games behind the warm holiday snaps brightness. Touring the side streets and towns with the trio, Reed stylishly use the cramped streets and the locals going about their daily lives to frame Rex and Maddux narrowly looking over each others shoulders.

Giving a Noir mood via opening with an extended flashback, John Mortimer (who wrote Buddy Lake is Missing) gives this Shelley Smith adaptation an extremely strong Patricia Highsmith flavour, (minus her homoerotic overtones!) Slithering round each other like vipers, Mortimer centres this running man on the deep mistrust between Rex and Maddux, where the smiles of the pretty boys barely hides their desire to stamp the other out, and always keeping their guard up. Whilst the ending has an ill-fitting light atmosphere, Mortimer builds up the cracks in the Black's marriage from Rex's rogue charms, and sharply changes Stella's perspective of "holiday guest" Maddux.

Catching the eye of every man when sunbathing on her holiday, Lee Remick gives a great performance as Stella. Partners in crime with Rex, Remick makes Stella standout as the only woman in the trio with a subtle softening,from being on edge at the mere sight of Maddux, to showing warmth to both of them. Entering as the outsider, Alan Bates relishes in making every glance or twitch of Maddux suggest that he might be about to stop the Black's in their tracks. Playing games to keep everyone off his tracks, Laurence Harvey gives a fantastic performance as Rex, thanks to Harvey making Rex's poor attempts to hold a fake Aussie accent separate the charismatic cad, with the murky, calculating running man.

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Novecento
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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2017, 11:59:09 AM »

Thanks for posting about this. I was unaware of it and am going to seek it out now.

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Jessica Rabbit
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« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2017, 03:11:59 PM »

I too was unaware of it which is a shame for someone who's seen most Reed films. I'll check it out.

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Jessica Rabbit
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« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2017, 04:26:08 PM »

I to was surprised that it has been forgotten about Jess. I found the region free DVD on Narkover (I think Spike has mentioned about using the site before):

http://www.narkoverselusivefilms.com/british-films-1961-19842/?Page_ID=3610&refpid=7653&id=12232

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