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« The Flipside presents The Terrornauts (1967) on the big screen | Main | The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) heads to Blu-ray »


DVD Review: Deadfall (1968)

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I find it strange at times, when, despite all the component parts being in place, a film never quite comes together. Deadfall is a great example.

Directed by Bryan Forbes, a soundtrack by the late John Barry, Shirley Bassey belting out the theme tune and a cast headed up by Michael Caine at his most dapper. Oh yes - some nice Spanish scenery to enjoy too. What could possibly go wrong?

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It's described officially as a 'glossy heist thriller', although to be honest, it's more love story meets thriller, neither part being overly convincing. Caine plays a cat burglar, Henry Clarke, tempted out of a booze clinic by the mysterious Fe Moreau (Giovanna Ralli) and her older husband Richard (Eric Portman). There's a simple plan - Richard will plan the robberies, Clarke carries them out.

They successfully carry out one big job, but there are complications for doing more. Clarks has fallen for Fe and wants Richard, who is described as 'queer' to divorce her and let her leave with him. Throw in some guilty secrets from the past and the ultimate target for a robbery and you've got a conclusion that can only end badly.

Like I said, all the ingredients are there and there's no denying that Deadfall is good on the eye. Not just the scenery, Caine looks effortlessly cool in every scene, while both Giovanna Ralli and Nanette Newman battle it out for the film's 'most glamorous' title.

But it doesn't quite work as it should as a movie. Strange really, as it's apparently adapted from a book. At times, it feels rushed, not least in the final scenes, intended to be dramatic, but falling a bit flat. Quite literally. Even John Barry's score feels like it was knocked out without much thought. Yes, there is a great orchestral/guitar piece that intertwines with a jewel robbery with Barry himself conducting (in a concert hall), but amazingly, the rest of the score seems to use scraps from older movies - in one scene, a couple are dancing to the theme to Beat Girl!

And yes, I know it was a different era, but there's also a big hang-up on Richard being 'queer' (the movie's word of choice). A status that gets very muddled in plot developments towards the end of the movie. I'll say no more to avoid throwing in spoilers.

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So, to sum up, not one of Caine's best, but still worth checking out if you're a fan of Caine's 1960s work. Just don't expect too much action and make sure you're concentrating during the dialogue, as it's easy to get lost if you don't take in a scene. And once you're lost, it's a tough one to get back into.

Rent it or watch it if it comes on TV. Otherwise, this is probably for Caine aficionados only.

Find out more about the DVD at the Amazon website

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