The MacKintosh Man (1973) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: Joseph Rearden takes the fall for a robbery and winds up in the Scrubs. From there he escapes in the company of a convicted spy and is taken to a remote manor at an unknown location where he is kept isolated. He overpowers his guard and flees, but nothing is quite what it seems in this drama of… Runtime: 98 min Release Date: 09 Nov 1973
I suppose compared to what passes for entertainment today, a"thriller" would require substantial buckets of gore, gratutious sex, and a sound level that rivals your average city airport. This movie does require you to pay attention and use your brain for a while. I found it held my attention right to the climax. And I don't agree with the Maltin summary at all. I havn't seen this before. This is not a boring movie.
John Huston, Walter Hill, and Paul Newman go to Great Britain (by RanchoTuVu)
British society is under assault according to the opening scene which has James Mason as a Conservative MP addressing Parliament about social decay. Of course when it comes down to it, he's about as corrupt as they come, a fact suspected by the British police, who orchestrate a plan to infiltrate a criminal gang by getting one of their own Paul Newman sent to prison. Hollywood talent of writer Walter Hill great 70's and 80's director , John Huston and Paul Newman mingles with British sensibilities and a really nice soundtrack to create a whole that exceeds the parts. The story <more>
starts take off at about the middle of the film, out somewhere on the Irish moors with Newman having infiltrated the criminal gang who had sprung him out of prison. The viewer is lulled into thinking this is a lighter film than it actually turns out to be, which has some surprisingly tough parts, especially the ending.
I have always enjoyed "The MacKintosh Man", having read the original novel by Desmond Bagley and being overtly fond of John Huston's work as a film-maker. Looked at today, I think it can be viewed as a typical 1970's cold war thriller, heavy with atmosphere, but having watched it again yesterday, I am curious about a few idiosyncrasies that I believe can be considered pot-holes. It takes a while before we realise that Rearden Paul Newman is a British secret service agent, but is it conceivable that any agent would be prepared to spend a lengthy time in jail before <more>
eventually being sprung by the elite group known as "The Scarperers" - in this instance we are to believe that Rearden is content to spend a year in a half in a maximum security prison masquerading as a criminal before he is even contacted. I mean, it is quite possible that he could have been there for years before any approaches were made. And only MacKintosh and his daughter know his true identity! How do the authorities know that "The Scarperers" will try to spring the Russian agent Slade Ian Bannen in the first place? Why do "The Scarperers" decide to spring the jewel-thief Rearden at the same time as Slade? Surely Slade would have been top priority on his own without complicating matters by deciding to spring a lesser offender at the same time? A half-share in Rearden's money is surely not a good-enough reason. Would a highly respected British M.P. Member of Parliament , Sir George Wheeler James Mason, and notice the "Sir" , though in fact a long-embedded Russian agent himself, endanger his position by having a recently escaped Russian agent hidden aboard his yacht in the first place? And then casually sail with him aboard to Malta? I mean, there are a few other instances that can leave the casual viewer wondering about the plot and its development but I think it best to leave them. "The MacKintosh Man" is a solid little thriller that would not withstand too serious a critical analysis. But then again, many of the greatest films ever made are riddled with plot-holes and to delve too deeply would be to destroy the illusion and our enjoyment. And really, all cinema at the end of the day, mediocre or not, is just an illusion. So be it!
A very stylish opening with James Mason as holier and smoother than thou top-politician making a high speech instantly gives a feeling of things not being quite how it seems. And quite rightly so, most things in the story have a feeling of being very cool and calculated. And with Huston's experience it is all handled very well. Compared to Huston's many sanctified classics this film has been seen as more of a minor work of his. But it does have things boiling underneath its cool surface and deserves a deeper look and maybe several viewings. This movie is largely not in-your-face <more>
action, but gets parts of the mood and style from earlier movie works and periods. For example the music reminds me of 'The Third Man'. And when action and violence finally occur, it gets surprisingly tense and raw in its effect.The movie crosses interestingly several genres, like a cold war spy thriller and prison movies. Some of the scenes manage to catch something familiar from early Hitchcock, specially the runaway and chase scene on an Irish moor. The locations in London and Ireland with real local people add much to the realism and fascination of the story. Even the car chases use old beaten up vehicles keeping far away from usual top agent style.Paul Newman as Joseph Rearden does a strong role but the cool center of the story is Dominique Sanda as an almost emotionless beauty whose appearance covers secrets and surprises. The plot holds up very well all the way to the final moments with some nasty surprises. A film worth seeing for Huston fans and others.
Not your usual late '60's, early 70's Paul Newman flick, where he was cast in more overt starring roles, a la "The Sting" or "Butch Cassidy". The Paul Newman here is more understated and anti-heroic which provides a welcome change to film goers like me who enjoy seeing the Hollywood biggies downplaying their box-office charm by taking on less glamorous, more substantive roles. This political melodrama takes place primarily in a European/British Isles setting, with an all European cast except for Mr. Newman. He portrays an agent who infiltrates a diamond <more>
smuggling ring to try to smash that ring's core. During the course of the film, he is pretty well beat up and bandied about by his antagonists, not leaving his pretty boy image much to thrive on. His contact agent, Mrs. Smith Dominique Sanda , becomes his love interest, not as a torrid screen love affair but more of an quasi-platonic one, where the job at hand takes precedence over the romantic involvement.The plot and story line is developed nicely by Mr. Huston, who takes us on a European tour that starts in London, then works its way to Ireland and finally to Malta. James Mason does his usual yeoman's job in his rendition of the pompous Sir George Wheeler, the right wing politico big wig who may have his own share of illegal dalliances. Although Mr. Newman is, in fact, the main character, the entire cast comes across very well as more of an ensemble effort, with no one role really outdoing another. It seems that Mr. Huston lent his directorial hand very deftly when it came to letting the film itself be the focal point rather than just one or two actors hogging the spotlight. Not a well known film, perhaps, but one that deserves viewing nonetheless, due in no small part to a most interesting conclusion.
This was one of the first films to feature music played almost all the way through, and that changes the experience of this movie. The viewer is taken for a rolling, continuous ride through an imprisonment and escape, the planning of the exercise, and the due consideration each man must make of another he is bringing into his confidences. The music lulls a part of the viewer's psyche to sleep. It is an odd pairing of music and scenes of harsh realities and cruelties. As this soundtrack rolls on, the film lays out beautiful locations in London, the Irish countryside, and Malta. The <more>
audience is taken to back alleys and out-of-the-way places, places where the locals know about but not tourists. The spy game is conducted with some discretion.It contains a few elements common to movies, but somehow they seem both fresh and not overplayed. Paul Newman's character is left to fend for himself, and at one point to try to convince the authorities of the veracity of his accusations, and of his own righteousness. When this fails, he has only one option, and he takes it when he has an opportunity. Two of the masters of 20th century film came together to create an underemphasized but satisfying thriller that requires both attention and a consideration of morality to be fully enjoyed. It's interesting to note that almost all of Paul Newman's roles contain a certain Newman morality probably similar to the actor's own concerning the imperfection of the world, the existence of bad people in it, and the somewhat acceptance, somewhat rejection of this world's conventions by Newman's characters.