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Night Moves
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  • '70s Noir
    This is a relatively unknown film noir from the mid '70s, starring Gene Hackman as a former football player turned private eye who is obsessed by a chess game from the '20s, where one of the players missed a forced mate, and lost instead. He's hired by a wealthy former hollywood starlet to track down her daughter, which takes him to some of the seedier parts of the Florida Keys you'll ever see on film.

    As is common in other noirs, just about everyone in this film is corrupt, even including Hackman's character himself, to a certain point. As noted by another reviewer, this movie will remind many of 'Chinatown'. In the end, just about everyone loses.

    I have a copy of this on VHS, and I bought the DVD for the widescreen. I was impressed by the image quality of the DVD -- it's a little grainy, but overall, quite high quality. I don't think anyone's going to be very disappointed by the transfer, considering it's a mid '70s film. The only extras are some trailers, and a sort of short documentary on the director.

    Hackman is terrific in this, as he is in most of his other films. He can play genial one moment, and a moment later play cynical and tough. It's too bad he didn't get another opportunity at another role like this. Unfortunately, they don't really make films like this anymore....more info
  • Night Moves
    The revered private eye film gets updated to the 1970s at the expert hands of director Arthur Penn. Hackman is tailor-made for Moseby, a regular guy who once played football, and who's much better at snooping on others than figuring out his own disordered life. Young Melanie is terrific as the teenage temptress, and look for James Woods in an early role as Delly's good-for-nothing boyfriend Quentin. A vastly under-rated whodunit....more info
  • y-a-w-n
    I watched this because I'm a Gene Hackman fan. Despite his (youthful) skill at developing a believable shamus, I couldn't get into the three intermixed, sluggish, low-action plots - Hackman's disinigrating marriage, the persuit of the missing girl, or the smuggling. If you've seen Gene in the French Connection, the Firm, or the Unforgiven, don't expect the same from this early work. ...more info
  • Little-known but brilliant hard-boiled detective story!
    Hackman plays a world-weary private investigator who's hired by a hollywood widow to track down her nymphette daughter (Melanie Griffith in her first film role). He finds her and brings her back, only to find out a few days later she's died in a bizarrie film "accident." As he digs deeper, he finds there's no one he can trust. This is a complicated but brilliant movie, and a great performance by Hackman. Great supporting cast (watch for James Woods in a small role). You may have to watch it a couple of times to pick up all of the pieces, but you'll enjoy doing so! This movie rates up there with CHINATOWN and LA CONFIDENTIAL in my book....more info
  • An Underdog of the 1970s PI Films
    I'm a big fan of private eye movies and television series. I'm glad THE ROCKFORD FILES has finally come out on DVD, but I'm still waiting for MARLOWE, starring James Garner and Bruce Lee.

    However, I don't have an excuse for not having already seen Night Moves. It's been out for over thirty years, and I bought the DVD a year ago. I did finally get around to watching it, though, and it was as good as I'd hoped it would be.

    The story is pure 1970s, as evidenced by the cars, clothing, and some of the language. But it also tells a timeless story of confusion and betrayal, and the layers of secrets that add to those.

    Gene Hackman stars as Harry Moseby, an ex-football player rather than an ex-cop. Moseby has been broken down by family problems and the loss of his career, and seems to be barely hanging onto life by a thread. Only the occasional missing persons case appears to keep him financially afloat and emotionally anchored.

    Hackman has always been a personal favorite of mine. He can pull off any kind of role and look good doing it, even if the film is total cheese. He's just a guy I look at and immediately respect. His everyman stance and his charm just oozes from every pore. As Moseby, he was a well-known football hero, and a lot of his friends still see him as a standup guy, but he doesn't let anyone in too close.

    Unfortunately, that same inability for closeness is what ultimately undermines his relationship with his wife, Ellen (Susan Clark). When he first gets handed the case of the little runaway rich girl, Moseby isn't too interested. Then he catches his wife cheating on him and tries to lose himself in the investigation.

    I liked the way the movie dovetailed back into the movie industry the way some of the old 1940s movies did. Some of the best cinematic detectives have their roots in the twisted and sordid tales that came out of Hollywood. This one has stuntmen and used up actors to season the tale, and it adds more credibility to it.

    The Florida footage on the case was extremely well done as well. Director Arthur Penn (LITTLE BIG MAN, BONNIE AND CLYDE) manages the Hollywood and LA scenes well, then zips the viewer down for a peak at what was then Travis McGee's tramping grounds as John D. MacDonald wrote his adventures. I liked the rough and tumble atmosphere of the land, the characters, and the twists and turns the plot took while down there. Jennifer Warren plays femme fatale Paula in a haunting and sexy scene.

    Some of the most fun was watching a very young James Woods and Melanie Griffith taking their places on the stage. Woods hasn't changed much, but his presence on the screen is intense these days. He's another one of my favorites. Melanie Griffith, young and hot and nude in several scenes, just burns up the celluloid.

    I really enjoyed Hackman's work in this movie. As I said, I own it and intend to watch it again. I'd really advise picking up TWILIGHT, with Paul Newman, Susan Sarandon, James Garner, and Hackman to really round out a double feature private eye/noir night. Hollywood seldom makes films like these any more and it's a shame....more info
  • An OK movie
    I had never heard of this movie until I ran across it on I made the purchase because I like Gene Hackman in just about everything he does.
    This is a reasonably entertaining movie, but not great. Some of the more interesting things about it are seeing a young James Woods and seeing near nude shots of a young Melanie Griffith.
    I don't believe that I can honestly recommend that anyone purchase this movie because it is not one that would be watched many times. In fact, I believe I will donate this one to our local library. That way, this movie will be watched by folks that would not ordinarily purchase a copy....more info
  • Hackmam is#1
    One of hackmans better movies since the french connection
    This is one of those films that rely on story line, and not
    action, great plot twist in the end.
    ...more info
  • Not Worth The Trouble Harry...
    Man did I want to like this movie.
    Hackman is the best and the possibility of finding a mid-70s Gem was really tantalizing, but...this film is really, really mediocre.
    First we have sub-plot city going on, bad mid life crisis stuff with Susan Clark and Hackman "Trying to communicate" about their failing relationship. It's tough on Hackmans character "Harry" see 'cause he used to be an NFL player and now he's reduced to being a private eye, she hates it, he does not want to give it up and everyone concerned gets a bad speech.
    Don't get me wrong, this is no "MegaForce", where the film is so bad it becomes campy and actually enjoyable.
    This is just...mediocre. Buy "Harper" with Paul Newman instead....more info