Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 30, 2015


Tom Reese and Duvall with Karen Black in the background
THE OUTFIT (1973). Director: John Flynn.

Earl Macklin (Robert Duvall) gets out of prison to discover that his brother was murdered. It seems the two of them knocked off a bank that was owned by the crime cartel, the "Outfit." Macklin decides to pay back and wage war on the Outfit by carrying out heists -- with his pal, Jack (Joe Don Baker) -- that will hit the Outfit where they live. His main antagonist is Outfit bigwig Mailer (Robert Ryan), who lives in a big mansion with bodyguards and has a fairly disinterested wife (Joanna Cassidy). The Outfit is loosely based on the third "Parker" novel by Richard Stark (Donald Westlake), a series of books in which a career criminal is the protagonist. [Another Parker adaptation was The Split.] Frankly, the book is much more entertaining than this indifferently directed "thriller" in which only Robert Ryan gives an especially memorable performance. Baker isn't bad, Karen Black [Trilogy of Terror] has her moments as Macklin's girl, and Duvall is Duvall. Sheree North [Mardi Gras] also has some flavorful moments as the wife of an associate, but Jane Greer isn't very good as Macklin's sister-in-law. Richard Jaeckal, Marie Windsor, and Henry Jones aren't on screen long enough to register much but are all effective. John Flynn also directed The Sergeant.

Verdict: Indifferent adaptation of a gritty Parker novel. **.

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