DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

THE FIRST DEADLY SIN (director: Brian G. Hutton; screenwriters: Mann Rubin/from the novel by Lawrence Sanders; cinematographer: Jack Priestley; editor: Eric Albertson; music:  Gordon Jenkins; cast: Frank Sinatra (Edward Delaney), Faye Dunaway (Barbara Delaney), David Dukes (Daniel Blank), George Coe (Dr. Bernardi), Brenda Vaccaro (Monica Gilbert), Martin Gabel (Christopher Langley), Joe Spinell  (Doorman), Jeffrey De Munn (Sergeant Fernandez), Anthony Zerbe (Captain Broughton), James Whitmore (Dr Sanford Ferguson); Runtime: 112; MPAA Rating: R; producers: George Pappas, Mark Shanker; Artanis Cinema (Filmways); 1980)

"The film is decent enough, and Sinatra is easy to believe and to take in the cliched role."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Brian G. Hutton ("Where Eagles Dare"/"Kelly's Heroes"/"High Road to China") directs this routine but glum detective thriller. It's based on the  popular 1973 novel by Lawrence Sanders. The screenplay is by Mann Rubins. This is Frank Sinatra's first film in ten-years. It was Frank's final movie role as a star.

The world-weary middle-aged veteran New York police sergeant Edward Delaney (Frank Sinatra), close to retirement, is working on a brutal murder case where the killer uses a mountain climber's ax on his vic. Meanwhile Delaney's wife (Faye Dunaway) has a bloody operation for her liver ailment and is only getting worse. While his wife is dying in the hospital, the anguished detective puts all his energy into tracking down the vicious businessman killer. It turns out he's a serial killer.

The film is decent enough, and Sinatra is easy to take and to believe in the cliched role. But Frank's frequent hospital visits slowed things done and left things bleaker than I cared for. There are also too many loose ends left unattended to, as the way the killer was tracked down was uninvolving.

There are two good supporting performances from Martin Gabel as a weapons expert and Joe Spinell as a doorman.

REVIEWED ON 12/16/2015       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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