Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Summer views: The Running Man, 1963

Hard up and with a grudge against insurance companies, Rex Black feigns his death and meets up with his wife and the money in Malaga when things seemed to have quietened down. But when the insurance investigator from the claim also turns up Rex starts a game of cat-and-mouse.

THE RUNNING MAN, It now seems difficult to see Carol Reed's thriller from 1963, it is not available to buy - so thanks to pal Colin for sourcing a copy. I had not seen it in years and its a delicious re-view now. That widescreen and colour captures early 60s Spain (and Gibraltar) nicely. Harvey (as unlovable as ever) is the man on he run after pulling off his insurance scam (after the insurance company turning down his original claim as his premium was two days late), with Lee Remick as Stella, his worried wife, particularly when that insurance man Alan Bates turns up - does he suspect them or is he just interested in Lee? 
Bates and Remick are a very attractive pair here, and the plot twists and turns as Harvey and Remick try to work out what Bates is up to. Harvey, with that variable Australian accent, gets more and more unbalanced as the net closes in.  Remick has a wonderful moment when she realises that Bates is no longer in insurance and its her he is after, just as Harvey gets some murderous impulses .... it all comes to a climax in Gibraltar, why though does Stella stick with the increasingly unhinged Rex?, and there is that great last shot of her posed against the Gibraltar skyline. The early scenes were filmed in Ireland, hence Noel Purcell, Eddie Byrne, Joe Lynch etc. and with Felix Alymer, Allan Cuthbertson, John Meillon and Fernando Rey.
Carol Reed makes it all look good, with good use of locations and it keeps our interest, one of the better imitation-Hitchcocks then, as scripted by John Mortimer. Pity Bates and Remick never worked together again, they are a dream team.

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