EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|DEAD HEAT ON A MERRY-GO-ROUND (director/writer: Bernard Girard; cinematographer: Lionel Lindon; editor: William Lyon; music: Stu Phillips; cast: James Coburn (Eli Kotch), Camilla Sparv (Inger Knudson), Aldo Ray (Eddie Hart), Nina Wayne (Frieda Schmid), Robert Webber (Milo Stewart), Todd Armstrong (Alfred Morgan), Michael Strong (Paul Feng), Severn Darden (Miles Fisher), Rose Marie (Margaret Kirby), Marion Moses (Dr. Marian Hague), Roy Glenn (Sgt. Elmer K. Coxe), Simon Scott (William Anderson); Runtime: 107; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Carter DeHaven; Columbia; 1966)|
|"Lags until it hits
the climactic caper scene."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
After the smoothie convict
sweet talks the prison psychiatrist (Marion Moses), he's granted parole and then skips town
as a parole violator after seducing her. Eli then plots with his former
crime pals to pull off the bank heist, but first needs to buy a blueprint of the bank for $90,000. The narcissistic crook is someone the
more toothsome he becomes the more despicable he appears. To raise that large sum and hire his
crew, Eli pulls off numerous con artist ventures in
Denver and Boston while posing under an alias as a Swiss shoeclerk, a
termite exterminator, a Knights of Columbus delegate, and an Australian
police inspector transporting a prisoner, Eddie Hart (Aldo Ray), back
to Australia on the day of the premier's visit. He also finds the time
to pose as a writer to marry the innocent beautiful private secretary
of a Boston millionairess, Inger Knudson (Camilla
Sparv, Swedish beauty), only to leave in the lurch when he tells her
his naval reserve unit has been called to active duty. There's a twist ending to this 'crime does
pay' drama, in which Eli pulls off with Eddie, Paul Feng (Michael Strong) and Miles Fisher (Severn
Darden) the successful heist. But the smug Eli while aboard a plane to
Mexico with his fellow robbers
gets outsmarted without realizing it--as the plot offers a weak
come-uppance for the womanizing pig.
The title refers to a
novel Eli claims to be writing when he first meets Inger, but that's
really just another lie told on the way to the heist. Harrison Ford at
24 makes his movie debut in a one-line performance as a bellhop
delivering a telegram to Coburn.
The film seemed too detached and schematic to work on all cylinders, as Coburn's rogue charmer character was chillingly enigmatic and all the complexities involved in the heist seemed too much of a stretch. This gave the film a cold feeling that I couldn't warm up to.
REVIEWED ON 3/20/2010 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ