Rage

Rage

Cast: George C. Scott, Richard Basehart, Martin Sheen, Barnard Hughes

     
 

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The second of actor George C. Scott's rare directorial efforts (his first being the 1970 television film The Andersonville Trial), this drama, produced at the height of the Vietnam War, was critical of the military's weapons testing. Scott stars as Dan Logan, a single father living with his teenage son Chris (Nicolas Beauvy) in Wyoming. On a camping trip, theSee more details below

Overview

The second of actor George C. Scott's rare directorial efforts (his first being the 1970 television film The Andersonville Trial), this drama, produced at the height of the Vietnam War, was critical of the military's weapons testing. Scott stars as Dan Logan, a single father living with his teenage son Chris (Nicolas Beauvy) in Wyoming. On a camping trip, the Logans are sprayed with an experimental chemical by an Army helicopter. The biological weapon kills every animal in sight and puts Chris into a coma. Seeking medical attention, Dan is instead used as a guinea pig by an Army doctor, Major Holliford (Martin Sheen), who wants to observe the effects of the chemical agent on him. Separated from Chris, Dan realizes that his son has died and escapes from the facility where he's been held. Purchasing some dynamite, the dying father goes on a campaign of bitter, bloody revenge against the Army and lab that made the dangerous substance.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
George C. Scott's second film as a director is an unusual piece of work that takes lots of chances. Rage takes an unorthodox approach to its conspiracy premise: instead of focusing on plot twists and slowly unveiling the conspiracy, it reveals the conspiracy early on and allows the audience to focus on how victims in the middle of the situation react when they discover what is going on. Rage is often criticized for its refusal to play by the rules and fulfill the thriller genre's requirements but a close look reveals that it does so by design: the story is told in a style designed to reinforce the hopelessness the main character feels Scott's direction is economical, treating the story and characters with a clinical detachment that puts the ugly details of the crimes committed (both by the military and, later on, by its hero) into harsh focus. Scott doubles as lead actor and does an intense, convincing job as he quietly conveys the character's journey from normality to homicidal fury. There are also effective performances by Martin Sheen as an army officer who treats civilians like lab animals and Barnard Hughes as public health officer whose ability to coolly manipulate others is put to the test by Scott. The end result isn't so much a message movie as it is a cinematic howl of rage over how bureaucracies handle and conceal errors with little thought to their effect on the public. Rage is likely to confound many viewers with its cold style and refusal to cater to audience expectations but the cinematically adventurous are likely to appreciate the film's edgy, thought-provoking stance.
All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
No doubt encouraged by his Emmy-winning success with the telemovie The Andersonville Trial, George C. Scott took his first directorial bow on a theatrical film with this disappointing, little-seen melodrama. A ham-handed message movie disguised as a violent revenge thriller, Rage explores one of the chief Middle American preoccupations of its time: the widespread (and legitimate) public fear of military malfeasance and conspiracy during the late Vietnam Era. Scott toplines the movie as Dan Logan, a widower rancher and single parent whose life falls to pieces via implication in a vile USAF conspiracy. During an innocent camping trip, he's exposed to an Agent Orange-like chemical that leaves him fatally ill and slaughters his twelve-year-old son. Manipulated, patronized, and deceived by the powers that be, the ailing Logan escapes from the prison-like hospital where he's confined, arms himself, and plots destruction. Although the performances here are superb (with both Scott and a young Martin Sheen in peak form), Scott's direction leaves much to be desired: he vacillates between ridiculous aesthetic extremes, such as gratuitous slow-motion shots that push the movie's already-histrionic developments to an absurd level, and banal framing of dialogue scenes that suggests an early 1970s series drama along the lines of Dr. Kildaire or Barnaby Jones. Equally unsatisfying is the movie's structure: it builds up to a tense climax that seems to demand a catharsis, but Logan's post-escape actions strike one as too ignorant and ill-advised to command our attention; we realize that the character is on a heartbreaking fool's errand sans any hope, and the only interest that the movie generates lies in watching its hero hurt others and self-destruct. It would have been far more emotionally satisfying for the audience if the screenwriters jettisoned Logan's murder spree and had him pursuing the sort of brilliant revenge that Robert Redford's character eventually undertakes in Three Days of the Condor - i.e., making a beeline for The New York Times or The Washington Post and enraging the American public with news of just how filthy the hands of their "noble" and "just" government have become. All told, the potential for a rich, engrossing story lies at the heart of Rage, but those possibilities mostly remain untapped here.

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Product Details

Release Date:
03/23/2009
UPC:
0883316127162
Original Release:
1972
Rating:
PG
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:39:00
Sales rank:
35,641

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
George C. Scott Dan Logan
Richard Basehart Dr. Caldwell
Martin Sheen Maj. Holliford
Barnard Hughes Dr. Spencer
Nicolas Beauvy Chris Logan
Paul Stevens Col. Franklin
Anna Aries Actor
John Dierkes Bill Parker
Lou Frizzell Spike Boynton
Dabbs Greer Dr. Thompson
Bette Henritze Sarah Parker
Ed Lauter Orderly Simpson
Terry Wilson Truck Driver
Fielding Greaves Dr. Steenrod
Stephen Young Maj. Reintz
Kenneth Tobey Col. Nickerson
Robert Walden Dr. Janeway
William Jordan Maj. Cooper

Technical Credits
George C. Scott Director
Del Acevedo Makeup
Donald D. Dawson Costumes/Costume Designer
Philip Friedman Screenwriter
Leon Fromkess Producer
J. Ronald Getty Executive Producer
Michael Kahn Editor
Dan Kleinman Screenwriter
Fred Koenekamp Cinematographer
Joe Lombardi Special Effects
Paul Lombardi Special Effects
Dennis L. Maitland Sound/Sound Designer
Leonard A. Mazzola Set Decoration/Design
Lalo Schifrin Score Composer
Peter R. Scoppa Asst. Director
F. Paul Sylos Art Director
Frank Sylos Art Director
Dick Weaver Sound/Sound Designer
Fred Weintraub Producer

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