23 April 2010

Charley Varrick

United States - 1973
Director -Don Siegel

All of these posters are from IMP Awards.

Charley Varrick is opens with a bank robbery in a  tiny town in NM called Tres Cruces. I know of no such city, but there is a town called Las Cruces just a few hours from the place I grew up.
It was an entertaining movie, available to watch instantly on Netflix, but not terribly exciting. Some people refer to it as a noir film, but I think that's a bit of a stretch. Maybe a cross between a caper and a noir, the former being a close cousin of the latter anyway. My first exposure to Walter Mathau was in Grumpy Old Men and The Odd Couple, so I had a hard time buying him as a crook. In retrospect, taking a personality type one would never expect and casting them as a well versed criminal is a pretty clever move.

This film was directed by Donald Siegel, director of some epic American cinema in the 60's and 70's. In 1971 he directed Dirty Harry, bringing back Andrew Robinson (Hellraiser) to play Mathau's unhinged accomplice in Charlie Varrick. Joe Don Baker of Joysticks also costars as a bounty hunter on Charley's trail. Siegel also directed numerous other western, crime and war films starring the likes of Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson, Michael Caine, John Wayne and Steeve McQueen. Wow, that's quite a pantheon in your pocket sir.

A German poster from Filmstarts.de.

A German super 8 reel of the film.

A Polish poster.

A Japanese VHS from this site.

There's some stills and lobbycards at Mr Peel's Sardine Liqueur, check 'em out!


Samuel Wilson said...

Before I saw Charlie Varrick I'd seen Matthau in some dramatic roles, especially his emotionless academic in Fail-Safe, so it may have been easier to buy him as a hard-boiled antihero. It's probably safer to just call this a crime film rather than a noir, but whatever it is, I liked it.

The Goodkind said...

I agree that classification is moot, and regardless of whether I was prepared for it or not, Mathau did a good job and it was an entertaining movie.