Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actor: Michael Caine
Director: Bryan Forbes
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
A recovering alcoholic and thief joins a married couple for a jewel heist and begins an affair with the woman when he discovers her husband is gay. — Genre: Feature Film-Drama — Rating: R — Release Date: 17-OCT-2006 — Media Ty... more »
"I never accept gifts from married women."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 11/29/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"From 20th Century Fox's new Cinema Classics Collection, whose prerequisites seem to be that a film be old and somewhat ostentatious, comes the feature Deadfall (1968), based on a novel by Desmond Cory and adapted and directed for the screen by Bryan Forbes (The Stepford Wives, International Velvet), starring Michael Caine (Dressed to Kill, Deathtrap), Giovanna Ralli (The Invisible Woman), and Eric Portman (The Spider and the Fly, "The Prisoner"). Also appearing is David Buck (The Mummy's Shroud) and legendary composer John Barry (Dr. No, Midnight Cowboy), who also provided the music for the film.
As the film opens we meet Henry Clarke (Caine), a professional jewel thief and apparent alcoholic, who's currently residing in a sanatorium of sorts attempting a recovery (we eventually learn he really doesn't have a problem with the booze, as he's only their to get close to a potential mark). Anyway, as Henry is finishing up his `convalescence' he's approached by a smartly dressed young woman by the name of Fe' Moreau (Ralli) as she's got a business proposition. Seems she and her husband, a much older man named Richard (Portman), who, by the way, seems to enjoy the company of men more than he does women (i.e. he's a little on the fruity side but manages to keep the mincing to a minimum) are in the same business as Henry, and seem to know an awful lot about not only what he does, but what he has done, particularly in some of his past heists. Turns out Richard is more of a planner than a thief, and he needs Henry to basically do all the breaking and entering so that he can come in at the end and gain access to where the valuables are stored. Once the details are squared away, the trio begins working on a preliminary job, one that involves stealing some jewels from large and well-protected estate while the owners are away at a concert. Things go fairly smoothly in the beginning, but the pair do encounter some difficulties on the back end. Eventually they make the score and decide to head off to Richard's villa somewhere on the coast of Spain, if only to rest up and plan their next job. And this is when things start to get really weird...you see, Henry and Fe' head out early and end up developing a romantic affair, while Richard shows up a few days later with a...friend...a young male friend named Antonio. Henry, taken with Fe', wants her all to himself, but she's unable to commit due to the fact she's married and all, and while she doesn't really love Richard, she does have a certain attachment to the man, one she can't just give up easily. This back and forth goes on for awhile and eventually Henry learns some disturbing truths about both Fe' and Richard, truths that could jeopardize their plans for their next heist...
I enjoyed a number of aspects about this film, my favorite being the sequence involving the initial robbery performed by Henry and Richard. This was a lengthy piece of footage as the shots of them breaking into the large mansion were cut with scenes of the orchestra concert, the same concert the people who owned the house being burglarized were attending. As a result the music performed during the concert is also played during the heist, all of which was edited in such a way to make everything quite exciting and engaging. The first hour or so of the film (the movie runs about two hours) things move along fairly well, but then the next forty five minutes the story gets bogged down with a whole lot of relationship type material, as Henry tries to figure out why Fe' is as attached as she is to Richard, and why Richard is unwilling to let her go. There are some interesting and ultimately creepy revelations made around this time as we learn a number of things about Richard's past, but it kind of felt dragged out and slightly pretentious by the end. Things do pick up during the last fifteen minutes, but I do believe the film could have been shortened by at least ten minutes, perhaps in an effort to provide better pacing. The crux of the story isn't really the heists themselves, but the interactions that develop between the characters in terms of their relationships, so perhaps this aspect of the film was intentionally drawn out to provide the necessary development as perceived by those making the feature. Anyway, some other aspects that worked really well for me were the European settings and the smart dialog. There's a lot of philosophy thrown around, as Richard seems to pontificate endlessly while playing his odd, little head games, but Henry does counteract this well with his streetwise wit and natural charm. I'm generally intrigued by characters on film or in novels that always manage to pull an appropriate retort or reply out of their ash. I thought all the performances were very professional and Caine was entertaining as usual. The one element that tends to stand out the most, as I think most who've seen the film will agree, is John Barry's beautiful musical score (he also appears in the film as an orchestral director), which complements the activity on the screen remarkably well. If you're a fan of exceptional musical scores, it might be worth seeing this film on that aspect alone. Overall I thought this a curious feature with some definite entertainment value, but certainly not for everyone's tastes. If you prefer a quick pace, lots of action, and minimal character development, this feature probably wouldn't be of interest, but if you enjoy a textured and layered storyline with a focused eye towards the characters and a moderately bizarre twist or two, then perhaps this will fit the bill.
The anamorphic widescreen (1.66:1) picture on this DVD release comes across really well as the picture is exceptionally clean and clear, and the audio, available in Dolby Digital mono (English and Spanish) and stereo (English only) is excellent, in my opinion. There are some extras including a featurette titled The John Barry Touch - The Music of a Master, an original theatrical trailer, an isolated musical score and sound effects track, subtitles in English and Spanish (the back of the case states there are also subtitles available in French, but this isn't true), and a couple of trailers for some other Michael Caine films, Peeper (1975) and The Magus (1968), both of which were recently released onto DVD.
Randy Buck | Brooklyn, NY USA | 10/16/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Another of the dreadful international films that (deservedly) killed Bryan Forbes' directing career, DEADFALL has popped up in a handsome Fox DVD transfer. So what? This picture's still the snoozer it's always been, with the usually reliable Michael Caine dull as dishwater here. Leading lady Giovanna Ralli is lovely, and nearly unintelligible; sounds like she's made a valiant stab at learning English phonetically. At that, she beats the dire Nanette Newman, the exceptionally untalented Mrs. Forbes, who's unfortunately thrust front and center in his films of this period. Here, she's easily the world's least enticing starlet, cavorting around behind her usual filters playing her usual ingenue that she's a good fifteen years past (no, no, Nanette!) A nice John Barry guitar concerto is cross-cut to little effect with a wowless heist sequence. This picture is strikingly photographed, expensively mounted, and DOA."
Bryan Forbes shoots, but John Barry scores!
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 10/30/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Did you hear the one about the gay Nazi war criminal (Eric Portman), his lesbian wife (Giovanna Ralli) and the cat burglar (Michael Caine) who's pretending to be a drunk to get close to a millionaire he wants to rob? You'll love it - it's got robberies, incest and John Barry as well. Oh, and there's a great part for Nanette in it too and we can shoot it all in Spain with blocked funds.
That was probably Bryan Forbes' pitch for Deadfall, an enjoyable enough glossy thriller set in Spain before it raises the ante too much in the second half and loses its grip about the same time as Mrs Forbes, Nanette Newman, turns up to give a horrendously bad performance that'll bring your dinner up. Aside from Gerry Turpin's superb photography, its main distinction is the famous robbery sequence intercut with John Barry conducting his Guitar Concerto a la Bernard Herrmann in The Man Who Knew Too Much. Strangely the music doesn't always compliment the crime, as if they didn't get all the footage they needed (some of the more dramatic musical passages are played over shots of the concert), although it's a good centrepiece to a fine score. It's not the only time Barry cameoed - he also appears in The Living Daylights and The Cool Mikado, though he constantly tries to hide his face in the latter (but then wouldn't you in a Michael Winner film?) - but it is his most substantial. Shame the final heist simply doesn't match the first.
Fox's new R1 DVD includes an interview with Barry as well as an isolated music and effects track that favors music over effects.
Deadfall - the real one with Michael Caine
Mr. Russell K. Law | Surrey, UK | 02/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a fascinating period piece with the arty yet Bondesque styling of the times, and Caine still working on the exact persona he wants (Cockney ebbs and flows with more smooth diction, for example).
Some may find it a little slow-moving in comparison with the current pace, others may think it somewhat pretentious. I think it is a superb, long, languorous experience to be savoured. Marvellous, and about time, too.
We now need it on the British DVD system."