|DEADLY HERO (director: Ivan Nagy; screenwriters: George Wislocki/Don Petersen; cinematographer: Andrzej Bartkowiak; editor: Susan Steinberg; music: Brad Fiedel/Tommy Mandel; cast: Don Murray (Lacy), George S. Irving (Reilly),Treat Williams (Billings), James Earl Jones (Rabbit), Charles Siebert (Baker), Diahn Williams (Sally), Lilia Skala (Mrs. Broderick), Hank Garrett (Buckley), Dick A. Williams (D.A. Winston), Mel Berger (Arco), Conchata Ferrell (Slugger Ann), Ron Weyand (Captain Stark); Runtime: 99; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Thomas J. McGrath; AVCO Embassy Pictures; 1975)|
|"Complex psychological thriller
about a terrorizing NYC cop gone amok."
by Dennis Schwartz
Nagy ("Mind Over Murder"/"Touch Me"/"Jane
Doe") does a good job directing this rather complex
psychological thriller about a terrorizing NYC cop
gone amok. It's written by Don Petersen and George
Wislocki. The location shots by cinematographer
Andrzej Bartkowiak are quite effective in
creating a realistic urban jungle.
Sally (Diahn Williams)
is brutalized at knife-point in her West Side
apartment by a maniac black attacker named Rabbit
(James Earl Jones). White cop Lacy (Don
Murray) rescues her in a hostage situation by
shooting the perp after he surrenders while
unarmed. The once detective Lacy, demoted to patrol
cop duty for complaints over excessive use of force
lodged against him, gets a relieved Sally to alter the
rescue story in order to make him look like a hero and
thereby making it possible for him getting back his
detective position. Later, when regaining her
composure, Sally decides to change her story and tell
the truth. The rescuer, a decorated for bravery
veteran cop but one with a history of racism, violence
and deep-rooted psychological issues, then pursues
Sally in the hopes of silencing her with threats, then
by hiring someone to kill her and when even that
doesn't work by kidnapping her. The tortured cop
believes his career would be ruined by her testimony,
as he will be tried for murdering the mugger.
film received mostly poor reviews upon its theater
release and was a box office flop, but when viewed
today is almost must-see entertainment because of its
raising questions over violent arrests by white
cops of black men. That racial problem is currently
making headlines across the country.
REVIEWED ON 4/23/2015 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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