HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Mug
Love Me Deadly
Look Away
J.C.
Filmworker
Sixty Glorious Years
Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe
Victoria the Great
Dave Made a Maze
Desire and Hell at Sunset Motel
Prayer Before Dawn, A
Ragewar
Lowlife
Fashionista
Elizabeth Harvest
Moulin Rouge!
Free Solo
Mifune: The Last Samurai
Stan and Ollie
Girl in the Spider's Web, The
Up from the Depths
Guardians of the Tomb
November Man, The
Overlord
Sebastiane
Lifechanger
Circle of Two
Hell Fest
Oklahoma!
Nutcracker and the Four Realms, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Oh, What Happened to You? The Likely Lads on Blu-ray
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
How 1970s Can You Get? Cliff Richard in Take Me High vs Never Too Young to Rock
A Perfect Engine, An Eating Machine: The Jaws Series
Phwoar, Missus! Sexytime for Hollywood
He-Maniacs: Ridiculous 80s Action
All's Welles That Ends Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 1 on DVD
Shut It! The Sweeney Double Bill: Two Blu-rays from Network
Network Sitcom Movie Double Bill: Till Death Us Do Part and Man About the House on Blu-ray
No, THIS Must Be the Place: True Stories on Blu-ray
Alf Garnett's Life After Death: Till Death... and The Thoughts of Chairman Alf on DVD
Balance of Power: Harold Pinter at the BBC on DVD
Strange Days 2: The Second Science Fiction Weirdness Wave
Strange Days: When Science Fiction Went Weird
Ha Ha Haaargh: Interview With Camp Death III in 2D! Director Matt Frame
   
 
  Black Windmill, The Catch That KidBuy this film here.
Year: 1974
Director: Don Siegel
Stars: Michael Caine, Donald Pleasence, Delphine Seyrig, Clive Revill, John Vernon, Joss Ackland, Janet Suzman, Catherine Schell, Joseph O'Conor, Denis Quilley, Derek Newark, Edward Hardwicke, Maureen Pryor, Joyce Carey, Preston Lockwood, Hermione Baddeley
Genre: Thriller
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Two schoolboys are wandering the countryside looking for a place to fly their model Spitfire, and settle upon an area which according to the signs around it is private M.o.D. property. They are oblivious to this until a jeep draws up and some military types emerge, telling the boys that they are trespassing and ordering them into the back of the vehicle. They are then escorted to a hangar to be told off, but one of the boys notices that the leader is wearing some decidedly non-regulation shoes - their scam blown, the soldiers who are not soldiers knock out the children and set their plan in motion. First, call one of the boy's fathers and set up the ransom demand...

When Don Siegel came to Britain having made some of the most successful movies of his career, there were high hopes resting on him, but when The Black Windmill was released, it was mostly to disappointment. People reportedly found it confusing, unengaging and uninspiring, with the opening, which is reluctant to reveal too much too soon, probably the point where it lost the audience. Not the best beginning for the story, but this was a thriller with its heart in the espionage genre that British moviemakers were so keen on sticking with even after its heyday in the previous decade, and quite often those films relied on their mystery elements.

And in truth, once you went with the flow of Leigh Vance's script, based on a Clive Egleton novel, it was fairly easy to allow yourself to be carried along by the accumulation of events and action sequences without the exeprience proving too much of a headache. There were even hints that there was a slightly kidding nature to the work, not a spoof exactly, but sending up the stuffy Brits who do their best to keep their composure when everything appears to be going to hell in a handbasket. Michael Caine remains resolutely impassive throughout, embodying the tenor of the entire movie as ruthlessly efficient, verging towards a self-parody of his conventional style of performing.

Caine plays Major John Tarrant who is a cog in the machine of the British secret service, but not sent from pillar to post like his Harry Palmer tended to be, as we're in no doubt that he is in control - which makes those scenes where he loses his command over the situation more effective, although we are in little doubt he will regain his authority. It is Tarrant's son who is kidnapped, with the bad guys, led by John Vernon with Delphine Seyrig as his right hand woman, letting the other boy go (except he's been dosed with LSD to ensure he can't say anything too useful). They say they want diamonds in return for the son, but the British government refuses to negotiate so Tarrant has to go all Charles Bronson and strike out on his own.

Once the plot wakes up from its initial torpor of staid meetings and hush-hush discussions, you can see that Siegel was striving to emulate Alfred Hitchcock with his man on the run conventions. That said, there are some amusing bits in that first half, with Tarrant's boss (Donald Pleasence) telling a group of officials that the enemy spy they are looking for is Sean Connery before correcting himself, as if to acknowledge the James Bond series while attempting to distance their efforts from that. Not that they really succeed, as while Bond may have not been a family man he still exhibited the capability under pressure that Caine's character does here: perhaps The Black Windmill was the missing link between Bond and Palmer after all. With a scheme that doesn't entirely make sense when you examine it after the film is over, you're better to sit back and allow this film to carry on its own twisting path; for what it is, it's not bad. Music by Roy Budd.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2102 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Don Siegel  (1912 - 1991)

Respected American director, a former editor, whose action thrillers were second to none. He started out in lower budget movies like The Big Steal, Riot in Cell Bock 11 and The Lineup but come the sixties he started making higher profile work such as the remake of The Killers and Madigan. His fruitful partnership with Clint Eastwood gave us Dirty Harry and Escape from Alcatraz, among others. Another of his finest 1970s films was Charley Varrick.

Siegel had small acting roles in Play Misty for Me and Philip Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers - he had directed the classic original in the 1950s.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
   

 

Last Updated: