HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Love & Basketball
JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time
Trapped
We Need to Do Something
Falbalas
Vanguard
A-X-L
Injustice
Bigfoot Hunters
Armitage III: Polymatrix
Girls Nite Out
Moxie!
Five Women for the Killer
Dolce Vita, La
Pig
I Am Belmaya
Lodger, The
Show, The
Beta Test, The
Medium, The
John and the Hole
Survivalist, The
Ape Woman, The
Black Widow
Cop Secret
Dark Eyes of London, The
V/H/S/94
Fay Grim
Night of the Animated Dead
Freshman Year
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Anne at 13,000 Ft.
Even Mice Belong in Heaven
Death Screams
Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr.
Demonia
East, The
Mandabi
Seance
Green Knight, The
   
 
Newest Articles
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
   
 
  Prime Cut Cattle Run
Year: 1972
Director: Michael Ritchie
Stars: Lee Marvin, Gene Hackman, Sissy Spacek, Janit Baldwin, William Morey, Clint Ellison, Howard Platt, Eddie Egan, Bob Wilson, Gordon Signer, Angel Tompkins, Gregory Walcott
Genre: Action, Thriller, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Chicago mob enforcer Nick Devlin (Lee Marvin) is tasked to collect some overdue payback from ruthless rural gangster/meatpacking magnate Maryann (Gene Hackman). It’s going to be tricky, since the last three men who tried were chopped up and mailed back as sausage meat. Along with his trusted chauffeur Shay (William Morey) and a couple of callow young gunmen (Clint Ellison, Howard Platt), Nick invades Maryann’s Kansas farm and discovers a cheery white slavery auction in progress. Naked, nubile, drugged up young women are displayed like livestock in hay-covered pigpens and to ensure Maryann cooperates, Nick abducts the beautiful Poppy (Sissy Spacek). Back at Nick’s plush hotel suite, Poppy recounts how she was sold into sex slavery by a corrupt orphanage. Moved by Poppy’s gentle innocence, the hard-bitten hitman decides to help her and her friend Violet (Janit Baldwin, later in the underrated Ruby (1978)) escape the mobsters’ clutches.

Michael Ritchie made a number of documentary-style comedy-dramas, like The Candidate (1972) and his masterpiece Smile (1975), but could also sublimate his insight into quirky human behaviour in mainstream assignments, including horror (The Island (1980)), kids movies (The Bad News Bears (1976)) and especially this striking crime thriller. Fresh off his Oscar win for The French Connection (1971) Gene Hackman relishes his role as the venal, self-amused Maryann who clashes fascinatingly with an urbane, stoic Lee Marvin. What’s interesting is that either actor could have easily played each other’s roles and the, admittedly slight, story blossoms into an allegory about animal and civilized behaviour as filtered through our attitude to meat.

Maryann revels in his beastliness and views his captive girls as no different to any other kind of flesh up for sale. Early on Devlin recoils at the sight of him swallowing a mouthful of tripe. “You eat guts?” he remarks, only for Maryann to wink back and counter: “I like ’em”, excited to have unnerved the city slicker. Devlin, by contrast, takes an initially detached view of his profession, although beneath his steely exterior lurks a surprisingly soft centre. His gentlemanly side is drawn out by Poppy in a delightful sequence where the dine inside a swanky restaurant, while a rich customer leering at her bare breasts beneath a see-through dress is swiftly rebuked. Admirers of the gifted Sissy Spacek familiar with her gawky yet lovable heroines in Carrie (1976), Badlands (1973) and Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980) will enjoy a rare chance to see her doe-eyed and gorgeous. The cast includes a host of familiar faces including Angel Tompkins as Devlin’s ex-girlfriend (now Maryann’s wife), Plan 9 From Outer Space (1958) star Gregory Walcott as Maryann’s slobbering, in-bred brother, and a surprise cameo from the real-life Popeye Doyle, Eddie Egan as an Irish mobster.

It’s beautifully shot by cinematographer Gene Polito in bright, summery hues that draw the most out of those Missouri cornfields and the popcorn and cotton candy atmosphere of Maryann’s twisted county fair. The set-pieces flow brilliantly, right from the extended opening sequence where a human body arrives on the meatpackers’ conveyor belt, to the ghastly sex slave auction and especially, the moment where Devlin and Poppy flee the bright red wheat thresher and its thrashing blades. That chase is worthy of Alfred Hitchcock. A handful of scenes lapse into silliness, but mostly this ropewalks a brilliant line between horror, humour and gut-wrenching thrills - possibly because the scriptwriter was exploitation veteran Robert Dillon. The music by Lalo Schifrin is among his least-heralded, yet one of his best.

Click here to watch the opening sequence

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 4080 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Michael Ritchie  (1938 - 2001)

American director, from television, whose films of the 1970s showed an interesting, sardonic take on America. After sour skiing drama Downhill Racer, he had an unhappy experience on the bizarre Prime Cut before a run of acclaimed movies: political satire The Candidate, the excellent Smile, coarse comedy The Bad News Bears, and another sporting comedy Semi-Tough.

Moving into the 1980s, Ritchie lost his edge with such lukewarm efforts as The Island, underwhelming comedy The Survivors, the not bad Fletch and its very bad sequel, Eddie Murphy vehicle The Golden Child and The Couch Trip, but he made a brief return to form in the early 1990s with boxing comedy Diggstown.

 
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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: