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The Mackintosh Man
The Mackintosh Man
Actors: James Mason, Harry Andrews, Dominique Sanja
Director: John Houston
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Mystery & Suspense
PG     1hr 39min


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Movie Details

Actors: James Mason, Harry Andrews, Dominique Sanja
Director: John Houston
Creators: Paul Newman, John Foreman, Paul Newman running for his life and running out of luck.
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Espionage, Indie & Art House, Mystery & Suspense
Format: DVD
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1973
Run Time: 1hr 39min
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

Read the source book by Desmond Bagley, and enjoy all the gr
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 06/18/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"For some reason Paul Newman and international intrigue never hit it off. In The Prize (Mark Robson, 1963), a story of skullduggery at the Nobel Prize ceremonies, complete with kidnappings, violence and romance, Newman looks petulant and sounds whiney. The movie's style echoes Charade and To Catch a Thief, but Newman is definitely no Cary Grant. In Torn Curtain (Alfred Hitchcock, 1966), where a killing is brutal and lengthy, betrayal and capture is a real possibility but where tension is lacking, Newman usually looks irritable and uncomfortable. Torn Curtain isn't much of a movie and Newman disliked his experience working with Hitchcock, but Newman's performance is flat and perfunctory.

With the Mackintosh Man, a story of Cold War intrigue, treason and dangerous escapes, Newman doesn't break his pattern. He gives a performance that, for me, seems commonplace. It's not all his fault. The screenplay by Walter Hill, undoubtedly with a lot of input from director John Huston, is unnecessarily complicated and abrupt. Worse, Huston's direction, in my opinion, is careless and sloppy. Relationships in the movie aren't made clear. There's no subtlety. Details get lost. There's a long, pointless car chase. At times Newman looks like he's all by himself, acting in a vacuum. Much of the movie was filmed in Ireland during Huston's long Irish squire period. One assumes this was the primary reason Huston did the film. He could get great tax write-offs; he was where he enjoyed being; the Irish loved having him there...and he evidently didn't want to be bothered by working too hard.

So why watch the movie? Well, if you're a fan of the adventure novels of Desmond Bagley, you'll know The Mackintosh Man is based on Bagley's The Freedom Trap. For some reason I get a little nostalgic, even while I'm either bored or irritated by the movie, knowing this. The book, as nearly all of Bagley's novels are, is a superior read with careful, tricky plotting, good writing and protagonists you can come to like. The second reason is James Mason. He plays a slippery fellow you'd better not trust too far. Mason is a movie in himself, as he usually was in all of his films. It's a delight to observe just how good he was. The third reason is the large number of first-rate British character actors that populate the movie. Some have significant roles, others are on and off quickly. Here are a few, and they're all memorable...Harry Andrews, Ian Bannen, Michael Hordern, Nigel Patrick, Peter Vaughan, Roland Culver, Percy Herbert, Niall MacGinnis, Noel Purcell, and Leo Genn. The movie may be confusingly written and carelessly directed, Newman may seem out of place, but you can't beat the cast.

Newman plays Joe Reardon, a tough crook tossed into a British high security prison for 20 years. Eventually he hooks up with a gang that runs an escape operation for long-term prisoners. They get you over the wall and to another country. They can get Reardon out if he pays their high price. Others have gone before. He agrees and out he goes, with another prisoner who is a traitor. By gum, we find out Reardon really is working with British counter-intelligence. High-level traitors are being sprung from the prison and winding up in a transit pipeline to the Soviet Union by way of Malta. Could an aristocratic member of parliament, Sir George Wheeler (Mason), be involved? Does the beautiful Mrs. Smith (Dominque Sanda) really care for Joe or is she playing her own game? Can Newman ever show he's tough without sounding sarcastic? Could a dramatic shoot-out at the climax be more self-consciously staged and directed?

Read Bagley's The Freedom Trap, then see the movie. You'll like, I hope, the story in the book, and you'll like the actors in the movie."
Don't buy Critic's view
Wanderer2199 | Florida | 02/12/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Don't pay any attention to the critics reviews. This film is not unflawless but it's a good film. How many films are perfect? not too many i think!! So , Like Paul newman in this role as a Undercover Agent who is asked by MacKintosh ( He's Boss) to steal Jewels. Well, Newman completes the Heist succesfully but is quickly captured and sent to prison. Eventually as you would expect , he is busted out of prison along with a communist spy who was in jail with him. When newman is taken to is refuge. he finds himself in Ireland. Now this On Location filming in Ireland is brilliant!! the scenery is cold and desolate and eerie. When Newnman escapes from is so called rescuers there is a cool chase with newman running through the hills of Ireland being chased by thugs and a guard dog. the haunting musical score is outstanding. james Mason is a spy who Newman is on the verge of revealing. Dominique sanda is just O.K. as Newman mild love interest and Undercover partner. Not a perfect film by any means but certainly worth watching!!"
John H. Keaveny | albertson, n.y. United States | 07/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is my all time favorite Paul Newman movie. Great fun, just to watch those english actors is a treat.
The background music adds to the mystique. I like this movie so much I've given away 3 copies to friends.
At the time of it's release the critics gave it a poor review,but what do they know?
John Keaveny."
Cold War Window
Hematite | Michigan | 04/12/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"A number of the other reviewers complain that this movie is too complicated. Not sure what to say about that. It's no more complicated than other movies of this type. The Third Man, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold ...these were no less complicated and are considered classics. I have always wished that Newman had done more movies like this. It is refreshing to see him be the hero in a movie, instead of some other version of egomaniac or smart-a$$. This is more consistent with the charitable person that he really was.

There are some inconsistencies in this movie. Rapid dry clothing...The police racing away from the harbor after he jumps into it...Hence only 4 stars. Additionally, the female lead is positively wooden. Miss Sanja is a pretty girl that should have stuck to modeling.

What this movie has that most don't, is a real sense of loneliness. The vacant Irish landscape is a metaphore for the protagonist's life..out alone in a harsh landscape. I've travelled quite a bit, and know that thrilling loneliness. It's very 60's european, but has the same feeling of landing alone in China, when everyone is still asleep on a Sunday morning.

The car chase is very good, using two run of the mill rides. It's not as flashy as racing through downtown Paris in BMW's, but being free of collateral damage makes it seem more plausable that life could just go on afterward. It goes nicely with the gents at the bar gossiping about the unusual event happening the night before. One might imagine the next day's conversation regarding the poor fellows who missed the turn at the top of the cliff."