This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. I’m plucking and posting this one from the list I’ve built for three reasons:
- I have a lasting warm place in my heart for this forgotten crime gem of a movie (one which has a great cast and a splendid story by a screenwriter/director of note).
- This film helped to establish my habit of catching great and unappreciated movies when they failed miserably on their initial release — luckily, time granted this a re-appreciation.
- Author Duane Swierczynski is coming to town this weekend (hey, could this be the real reason behind Carmageddon?) to promote his great Fun and Games novel. He’s another passionate fan for this neo noir film from the 70s, has championed it, and cited the film in the new novel.
October 8, 1972: Only my second month into college life — and yes, junior college does count — and this film arrived on scene. I can’t say I was initially drawn to it because it was a crime film or cared that the great Walter Hill penned the script (my admiration for the genre and the writer would arrive later in life). It really came down to the fact that it re-paired Robert Culp and Bill Cosby on-screen. The TV series I Spy became my life growing up in the previous decade, from 1965 to 1968. Their interaction, differences, and chemistry always fascinating me. It’s why decades later I have the entire breakthrough series on disc and have introduced it to my children (and the only reason the 2002 I Spy Returns TV movie is worth viewing).
The Huntington Park Warner Theatre was a grand movie palace in the Art Deco tradition that is nowhere near Hollywood, Westwood Village, or any of the other movie theater centers in L.A. The movie hall was a forgotten beauty and luckily for me was close-by to my home at the time. The theatre holds some of my dearest memories, including the fact that I (and my brother) worked as a projectionist in that very place less than four years later (documented here in a series on the old blog). I came to this very familiar place one Sunday afternoon and sat alone in a mostly vacant theatre. What I found in the Robert Culp-directed Hickey & Boggs was something so unexpected and very unlike I Spy. Yet, I loved every minute.