Movie Diary 10/8/2018

runningmanThe Running Man (Carol Reed, 1963). Grabby set-up here, courtesy a novel by Shelley Smith: Laurence Harvey and Lee Remick are a couple who cash in an insurance scam in which Harvey pretended to die in a plane crash. Insurance investigator Alan Bates pays a perfunctory visit to the “widow,” and later bumps into the couple when they are louche-ing it up in a Spanish town. (Harvey is “incognito” with blond hair and a near-invisible blond mustache. Yeah, that’ll work, because in general Laurence Harvey is so un-distinctive.) The story has the feel of a cut-rate Patricia Highsmith tale, which is not really a bad thing; it’s a shame the Remick character feels a little sanitized, because this could’ve been more perverse. Reed definitely has a feeling for something sordid and delicious in all this. Some groovy color location shooting by Robert Krasker, including a few scenes at Gibraltar (because the movie is obsessed with insurance, you keep waiting for somebody to make a joke about Prudential’s Gibraltar logo, but it never comes). Maurice Binder did the opening credits (same year as he did Charade, a year after Dr. No), which suggest a different sort of movie. Harvey is fully in his untrustworthy mode, and although he plays a selfish cad you do get the feeling he’d be a gas to traipse around Europe with.

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