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1970s, Drama - Police

The Gauntlet (1977)

L'EPREUVE DE FORCE

Duration 1h 49m Rating (UK) X
Source of story An original screenplay which had been knocking around Hollywood for some years.
Director Clint Eastwood
Writers/Script Michael Butler, Dennis Shryack
Starring Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Pat Hingle, William Price,

Elevator Pitch: It is one of those movies where a detective has to bring someone in against the odds. In this case it is a hooker in Las Vegas, who has information about mafia/police activities. The detective, Ben Shockley, is a drunk and therefore figured by the Phoenix Commissioner to be unlikely to be able to complete the task, and so with the odds against them (Literally because the bookies in Vegas are offering the odds on the job not being completed), the two start off, failing to make the airport and so having to undertake a hazardous road trip.

Content: There is nudity and attempted rape, as the prostitute manages to divert the attention of some bikers from their primary task, that of beating up the detective. In addition to this one, numerous set pieces as the prostitute’s house is destroyed by gunfire, a helicopter and motorcycle chase take place until the helicopter crashes into some electric pylons, and finally the duo must “run the gauntlet” into Phoenix in a tour bus. During the trip Shockley regains his selfrespect and possibly the love of the prostitute, who is a smart girl, and who at times directs the escape.

A View: If you came into this half way through you would think you were watching Dirty Harry, apart from the pistol. The shoot-outs, which destroy a house, a police car and the tour bus are patently ludicrous, but they are apparently what the director wanted, and much of the budget was spent on them. I thought Sondra Locke did pretty well, and, (then two years into a relationship with Eastwood), made their gradual change to mutual respect believable.

Additional Info: The film was orignally intended to feature Marlon Brando and Barbra Streisland, then Steve McQueen and BS, the possibly Kris Kristoferson and Ali MacGraw. I saw this movie when I was a young man, and did not really rate Sondra Locke, but now could not imagine any of these ladies doing as well.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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