Charlie Strom: Sylvester, unless you want to renew your partnership with the late Johnny North, I suggest you tell us everything and anything we want to know.
Lee Marvin stars as a seasoned hitman, in a remake of the 1946 film noir of the same title. This story involves the arrival of two hitmen in a location to kill a man. Upon finding him, the man simply lets himself get shot without trying to flee or barter for his life.
Different from the original film, this time, the hitmen themselves decide to find out what this man had been through to make him not care about his own death. The hitmen learn that this man used to be a great race car driver, who ended up turning to crime following an accident.
We learn these aspects of the story through flashbacks, as the two hitmen move around the country trying to find answer, and possibly where a large sum of money ended up.
In these flashbacks, the man in question is played by John Cassavetes. After meeting a dame played by Angie Dickinson, his life goes downhill from its success, as her mysterious nature leads him to crime. Another seedy character is Ronald Reagan in his final acting role, and only villainous role.
This movie is quite good. It stays true to the original film, which is based on a short story by Ernest Hemingway, but it also works as a standalone feature.
Since half the film is told in flashback, it is nice to see how well it is handled, just as in the original film. You get a very good sense on how Cassavetes' character gives into the action at the beginning and feel for him. You also get to see Lee Marvin continuing to be a badass no matter what the situation.
This is a tightly paced film too, for a crime drama. Don Siegel's direction works well combining the darker noir elements of the original, with the sped up action sense of this remake's tone. And there's a cool score from John Williams.
Charlie Strom: He knows me. I had to lean on him once.
Lee: You know 'em all, don't ya?
Charlie Strom: You never know them all.