Thursday, September 17, 2015

White Night

Once again, a podcast made me watch a movie. I had to watch Night Moves (1975) if I wanted to hear the Projection Booth episode. And it turned out that Ms. Spenser had watched it when it came out - and had hated it.

It stars Gene Hackman as an old-fashioned detective in new-fashioned LA. His wife, who works in a high-class interior design office or something, wants him to go to work for one of the big detective companies, but what does she know? She's the type who goes to the movies to see My Night at Maude's - with a man she isn't married to.

One of those big companies throws Hackman a job: A drunk and promiscuous ex-movie star wants someone to find her daughter, a 16-year-old who has been trying sleep with everyone her mother bedded. So Hackman starts working through a trail of men, mostly in the movie biz, starting with James Wood as a punk mechanic and working up from there. Hackman plays an ex-football player and can either rough a guy up or bond with him, man-to-man. For a while, I thought that everyone involved in the case was an old friend of his, but they actually just kind of took to him.

The trail leads to the ex-husband's retreat in the Florida Keys, and the tone changes. It's more laid back, more natural, maybe more real. For one thing, there's 16-year-old Melanie Griffith running around without a shirt on. I was going to say how brave that is, but maybe it's something more like innocence. Anyone can go naked at that age.

But there's another woman, only glimpsed at first through her long hair: Jennifer Warren. She's a little older, and a lot more mature. She's got a wry sense of humor (if doing Groucho voices counts as wry) and she's both upfront and mysterious. Kind of a hippie femme fatale. Griffith is too young to tempt Hackman, but Warren is different.

It goes without saying that Hackman is over his head. There's a lot in this movie, and I don't know if it's all cleared up by the end.

In conclusion, Ms. Spenser liked it a lot more this time.

1 comment:

mr. schprock said...

I like Gene hackman and I've never watched this one. I'll queue it up.