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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Black Windmill (1974)

The young son of a British intelligence agent (Michael Caine), who is working on breaking an arms smuggling ring, is kidnapped by the very people his father is investigating. When they demand a ransom of uncut diamonds which are held by his superiors, Caine finds they refuse to aid in the rescue of his child and it falls on his shoulders to get justice done. Directed by Don Siegel, this spy thriller is uneven. The first portion is very good what with Caine playing a variation on his Harry Palmer roles, only this time with a wife (Janet Suzman, NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA) and child. It jumps the shark toward the last third when it becomes far fetched and an uninspired bang-bang conclusion. The script seems rather sloppy in the details as in when Caine remarks how his son made him take him to THE SOUND OF MUSIC four times though the boy doesn't appear to have been born when the film came out. Donald Pleasence makes for a chillingly bureaucratic MI6 head and the wonderful Delphine Seyrig is marvelous as a rather slutty kidnapper. With Clive Revill, John Vernon, Joss Ackland, Catherine Schell, Denis Quilley and Hermione Baddeley.

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