Machine Gun McCain

Machine Gun McCain

Director: Giuliano Montaldo, John Cassavetes, Britt Ekland, Peter Falk

Cast: Giuliano Montaldo, John Cassavetes, Britt Ekland, Peter Falk

     
 

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A hardened criminal learns there's little loyalty on either side of the law in this drama from Italian director Giuliano Montaldo. Charlie Adamo (Peter Falk) is a rough-hewn but ambitious underworld kingpin who has taken control of the West Coast syndicates and wants a piece of the action in Las Vegas. Adamo's boss Don Francesco DeMarco (Gabriele Ferzetti) isn't happy

Overview

A hardened criminal learns there's little loyalty on either side of the law in this drama from Italian director Giuliano Montaldo. Charlie Adamo (Peter Falk) is a rough-hewn but ambitious underworld kingpin who has taken control of the West Coast syndicates and wants a piece of the action in Las Vegas. Adamo's boss Don Francesco DeMarco (Gabriele Ferzetti) isn't happy about his plans to take over The Royal, a posh casino and hotel that's owned by the mob, and he's determined to put Adamo in his place. Meanwhile, a handful of young gangsters are plotting to rob The Royal of $2 million, and one of them, Jack (Pierluigi Apra), know just the right man for the job -- his father Hank McCain (John Cassavetes), better known as "Machine Gun McCain," currently serving a life sentence after a crime spree put him in prison twelve years earlier. The mob arranges for McCain to be released, and Jack escorts him to Las Vegas, where he runs into Irene (Britt Ekland), a young woman he meets in a bar and impulsively marries. McCain plans and pulls off an ingenious casino robbery, but he pulled the heist after his backers ordered him to abandon the robbery, and soon he's one of several characters on the run from the law and the mafia. John Cassavetes and Peter Falk struck up a friendship while working on Gli Intoccabili (aka Machine Gun McCain), and it was the first of several films the two actors would make together, most under the direction of Cassavetes, including Husbands, A Woman Under The Influence and Big Trouble.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
Watching Giuliano Montaldo's Machine Gun McCain (aka Gli Intoccabili), it's hard not to get the feeling you walked in after the movie has been running for a while, even if you watch it from the very start. Mino Roli's screenplay all but throws exposition out the window, and for most of the picture, it's hard to say how the characters know one another and why they're doing what they do -- why is it Hank McCain (played by John Cassavetes) barely knows his twenty-something son? Does McCain know Irene (Britt Ekland) at all before he picks her up in a bar and marries her the next day? And exactly how does the big robbery tie in to the other major plot thread of rogue Mafia boss Charlie Adamo (Peter Falk)? By the time the film comes to a close, most of these questions are still hanging in the air, and to compound the confusion, Machine Gun McCain moves pretty slowly in its first act; the film is tough going early on, watching a bunch of characters that are hard comprehend going through their deliberate paces. The story picks up its pace considerably at the half-way point as McCain puts an elaborate and destructive caper into motion, and while there are still holes in the plot, at least there's enough momentum that the movie can roll over them. Cassavetes delivers a mannered, method-style performance in the lead, but he crackles with enough edgy energy to keep the film interesting when all else fails. Peter Falk also does solid work as Adamo, keeping the character as tough and unsympathetic as the story demands. Gabriele Ferzetti gives a strong supporting performance as a suave but ruthless crime boss, and Gena Rowlands is impressive enough in a small role as one of McCain's former flames that it unwittingly points out just how wooden Britt Ekland is as McCain's new bride. Montaldo's visual style is clean and imaginative, stylish without calling attention to itself, and the camerawork by Erico Menczer is sharp and attractive; the film looks great, and if it had been as good in its first half as it is in its second, this would be an outstanding Italian crime thriller. As it stands, Roli's screenplay (and the surprisingly cliché-ridden dialogue from playwright Israel Horovitz) leaves Machine Gun McCain too foggy to hit its target, through for ardent fans of late 60s/early 70s crime cinema it merits a quick look, and the location footage of Las Vegas offers a curiously nostalgic look at Sin City in the good old days when Jack Jones and Nipsy Russell were headliners.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/24/2010
UPC:
0827058701198
Original Release:
1969
Rating:
NR
Source:
Blue Underground
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:36:00
Sales rank:
40,132

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Cassavetes Hank McCain
Britt Ekland Irene
Peter Falk Charlie Adamo
Gabriele Ferzetti Don Francesco DeMarco
Salvo Randone Don Salvatore
Tony Kendall Pete Zacari
Pierluigi Apra Jack McCain
Gena Rowlands Rosemary Scott
Luigi Pistilli Duke Mazzanga
Florinda Bolkan Joni Adamo
Steffen Zacharias Abe Stilberman
Jack Ackerman Britten
Annabella Andreoli Assunta Esposito
Val Avery Chuck Regan
Margherita Guzzinati Margaret DeMarco
Billy Lee Pepe
James Morrison Joby Cudo
Dennis Sallas Fred Tecosky

Technical Credits
Giuliano Montaldo Director,Screenwriter
Bino Cicogna Producer
Franco Fraticelli Editor
Erico Menczer Cinematographer
Flavio Mogherini Art Director
Ennio Morricone Score Composer
Audrey Nohra Score Composer
Mino Roli Screenwriter
Enrico Sabbatini Costumes/Costume Designer
Michele Trimarchi Makeup
Marco Vicario Producer

Scene Index

Interview with Director Giuliano Montaldo; English Trailer; Italian Trailer

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