Mar 28, 2011

Upcoming Spy DVDs: The Destructors and Cloudburst

MGM's latest wave of MOD titles in their "Limited Edition Collection" will include two not-quite spy movies that will nonetheless be of interest to readers here. Currently available to pre-order from Screen Archives EntertainmentThe Destructors is not the 1968 Richard Egan Bond knock-off (which I'll get around to reviewing here one of these days), but the 1974 Michael Caine movie also known as The Marseille Contract.  Though Anthony Quinn plays some sort of American agent, it's really more of a crime movie than a spy movie. Quinn hires a professional hitman played by Caine to take out an untouchable drug lord played by James Mason.  The action all unfolds in the south of France, and as I recall, the locations (shot beautifully by my favorite DP, Douglas Slocombe)are really the film's highlights.  I haven't seen this movie in about ten years, and honestly I remember very little of it.  My recollection is that it's not very good, but does offer up one great car chase, alone worth the price of admission. The chase, coordinated by frequent Bond car chase guru Rémy Julienne, prefigures his 1995 Aston Martin/Ferrari rally in GoldenEye, playing out over the same twisty Côte d'Azur roads. All in all, I'm looking forward to seeing this one again. 

Additionally, this MOD wave also includes the rare 1951 title Cloudburst, one of famed British horror studio Hammer's rare flirtations with espionage (along with Passport to China, Shatter and their Dick Barton series). Robert Preston plays an American WWII vet working as a codebreaker for a secret division of the British government... but that's as far as the movie goes into spy territory. Despite his job, the movie is considered a more standard noir mystery about the hunt for a killer. Still, rare Hammer movies always catch my eye, and I'm excited to finally have a chance to watch this.

2 comments:

Jeff said...

Sorry for my somewhat clumsy english but I had to express my view on this movie ! Not the best Caine movie but it contains a few higly exciting scenes. The car chase you mention is a nice one but it is spoiled by a ridiculous carrousel-like music. Strangely enough, the star trio (Caine-Mason-Quinn) seems a bit under used (especially Mason). But, (beware : spoiler !) the scene where Caine is asked to kill a contact to prove he is the right man for the job, is a pure joy thanks to Caine cynism and Roy Budd's music. It's worth buying the film for that scene alone.

Tanner said...

No clumsinss at all in your English! It's way better than my French. Thanks for sharing your feelings on this film. I guess I owe it another watch!