HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Why Don't You Just Die!
Cranes are Flying, The
That Most Important Thing: Love
Man on the Run
First Love
Countess from Hong Kong, A
Storm Boy
Storm Boy
Frozen II
White Sheik, The
Whalebone Box, The
Hunt, The
Invisible Man, The
Honey Boy
System Crasher
Judy & Punch
Bacurau
Battling Butler
Vivarium
Seven Chances
Dogs Don't Wear Pants
Navigator, The
Knives Out
Hit!
Charlie's Angels
Passport to Shame
Le Mans '66
Keep Fit
Doctor Sleep
Friend or Foe
Brass Target
Mine and the Minotaur, The
Sky Pirates
Syncopation
Sea Children, The
Ghost of a Chance, A
Go Kart Go
Great Buster, The
Seventy Deadly Pills
Wings of Mystery
   
 
Newest Articles
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
   
 
  Gauntlet, The By The Time They Get To Phoenix
Year: 1977
Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Pat Hingle, William Prince, Bill McKinney, Michael Cavanaugh, Carole Cook, Mara Corday, Douglas McGrath, Jeff Morris, Samantha Doane, Roy Jenson, Dan Vadis
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 3 votes)
Review: Ben Shockley (Clint Eastwood) is a Phoenix cop who is already over the hill; that one big case that could have made him a captain just never turned up. He is given an apparently simple task to carry out: go to Las Vegas, pick up a prisoner who was a crime witness, and escort him back to Phoenix. However, when he arrives at the Las Vegas jail, there's a little confusion, as the prisoner, Gus Malley, isn't a man, but a foul mouthed woman (Sondra Locke). She is a prostitute who claims that to go to Phoenix will see her killed, but Shockley is sceptical until he sees odds on a betting board that might be for a horse race - but might also be for the likelihood of Malley's demise. Could she be telling the truth?

Written by Michael Butler and Dennis Shryack, The Gauntlet is seen as a minor entry in Eastwood's directorial catalogue, but nevertheless has a fair amount to recommend it. On the surface it's as dumb as its cop protagonist, yet go beyond that impression and it provides an interesting take on the seventies action hero, accompanied by a plethora of chases, flying bullets and explosions. Not only that, but the film serves as a pretty decent road movie, as Shockley and Malley, arguing all the while, of course, are forced to go on the run to escape crooked cops and the influence of the Mob.

Once Shockley becomes suspicious, he makes arrangements for a hire car to take him and his charge to the airport. He then grows even more suspicious when the hire car blows up, just as they were about to get into it. After that it's non-stop mayhem, with the couple predictably putting aside their differences to team up and even fall in love - it's that It Happened One Night dynamic all over again, this time with excessive violence. Initially, Malley (Locke really shines in her role) has nothing but contempt for the bemused cop, and in fact, every policeman she meets, as she's not sure who is out to get her - or so she claims.

Shockley is certainly not Dirty Harry, but Eastwood brings humour to the muscleheaded patsy. He is constantly undercut by the plot or the other characters, whether it's Malley yelling insults at him ("Prick!" "Fruit!"), or his boss (William Prince) taking advantage of him because of his general underachievment. Shockley takes a while to catch on to what is happening, even after the house he stopped by in is destroyed by police gunfire, but all this deftly ensures that we underestimate him, so that when he starts getting his act together it's all the more impressive.

If there's one thing that makes The Gauntlet stand out it's the extreme nature of the action sequences. It's not enough to have the two fugitives shot at by one man, oh no, they have to be shot at by ten, fifty, a hundred, from either side of the law: the difference between the men of the police and the Mob is deliberately blurred. That aforementioned house is leveled with Shockley still in it, the cop who they force to drive them to the state line is murdered in a hail of bullets, and a chase between a motorbike and a helicopter seems to last about half an hour.

As is usual in Eastwood films, his character is given a harsh beating, this time by the Hell's Angels he stole the bike from, and this is yet another of his movies with a rape scene. Most famously, the finale sees Shockley and Malley driving an armoured bus with about 99% of the Phoenix police force shooting at them, which looks absolutely ridiculous, but strangely satisfying in its overkill. The Gauntlet may not be everybody's all-time favourite Eastwood thriller, but it has many, broadly funny moments, the two stars are ideal together, it's distinctively over the top, and nobody does that pissed off and incredulous expression quite like Clint. Jazzy score by Jerry Fielding.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 13851 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Clint Eastwood  (1930 - )

Becoming a superstar in the late 1960s gave Clint Eastwood the freedom to direct in the seventies. Thriller Play Misty for Me was a success, and following films such as High Plains Drifter and The Outlaw Josey Wales showed a real talent behind the camera as well as in front of it. He won an Oscar for his downbeat Western Unforgiven, which showed his tendency to subvert his tough guy status in intriguing ways. Another Oscar was awarded for boxing drama Million Dollar Baby, which he also starred in.

Also a big jazz fan, as is reflected in his choice of directing the Charlie Parker biopic Bird. Other films as director include the romantic Breezy, The Gauntlet, good natured comedy Bronco Billy, Honkytonk Man, White Hunter Black Heart, The Bridges of Madison County, OAPs-in-space adventure Space Cowboys, acclaimed murder drama Mystic River, complementary war dramas Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima and harrowing true life drama Changeling. Many considered his Gran Torino, which he promised would be his last starring role (it wasn't), one of the finest of his career and he continued to direct with such biopics as Jersey Boys, American Sniper and The Mule to his name.

 
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 is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: