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Monday, April 25, 2016

Scorpio (1973)

A CIA agent (Burt Lancaster) is marked for death by his own boss (John Colicos). The hired assassin (Alain Delon) is a former protege of the CIA agent. A cat and mouse game begins that bounces back between the U.S. and Europe as the two men chase, hunt and trick each other until finally there isn't anywhere to run or hide. Ah, the paranoid 1970s where the government was our enemy and movies like THE PARALLAX VIEW, THE CONVERSATION, THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR, ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN etc. proliferated. Of course, the paranoia was mostly justified and made for some entertaining thrillers. This cynical nihilist conspiracy thriller may be director Michael Winner's best film. It's not as lean as it should have been, this isn't necessarily a film where you want or need character development. For example, there's a tiresome extraneous scene where Lancaster and Paul Scofield as a Russian agent get drunk. It's totally superfluous and does nothing to advance the story, it just slows it down. I felt the same about Gayle Hunnicutt who plays Delon's girlfriend but at least there's a payoff as far as her character is concerned. But if you're a fan of these 70s conspiracy thrillers, there's every chance you'll like it. One wonders if Delon's feline loving assassin is a homage to Alan Ladd's cat loving hitman in THIS GUN FOR HIRE. With J.D. Cannon, Joanne Linville, James Sikking, William Smithers and Vladek Sheybal.

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