Film Review – IN THE LINE OF FIRE (1993)

Image result for in the line of fire 1993IN THE LINE OF FIRE (USA, 1993) *****
      Distributor: Columbia TriStar Films; Production Company: Columbia Pictures Corporation / Castle Rock Entertainment; Release Date: 8 July 1993 (USA), 27 August 1993 (UK); Filming Dates: 3 October 1992 – 11 January 1993; Running Time: 128m; Colour: Technicolor; Sound Mix: 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints) | Dolby SR (35 mm prints) | SDDS (8 channels) (35 mm prints); Film Format: 35 mm, 70 mm (blow-up); Film Process: Panavision (anamorphic); Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1; BBFC Cert: 15.
      Director: Wolfgang Petersen; Writer: Jeff Maguire; Executive Producer: Gail Katz, Wolfgang Petersen, David Valdes; Producer: Jeff Apple; Director of Photography: John Bailey; Music Composer: Ennio Morricone; Film Editor: Anne V. Coates; Casting Director: Janet Hirshenson, Jane Jenkins; Production Designer: Lilly Kilvert; Art Director: John Warnke; Set Decorator: Kara Lindstrom; Costumes: Erica Edell Phillips; Make-up: Werner Keppler, Barbara Lacy, James Lee McCoy; Sound: Gregg Baxter, Wylie Stateman; Special Effects: Rocky Gehr; Visual Effects: Nancy Bernstein, Robert M. Greenberg, George Merkert.
      Cast: Clint Eastwood (Frank Horrigan), John Malkovich (Mitch Leary), Rene Russo (Lilly Raines), Dylan McDermott (Al D’Andrea), Gary Cole (Bill Watts), Fred Dalton Thompson (Harry Sargent), John Mahoney (Sam Campagna), Gregory Alan Williams (Matt Wilder), Jim Curley (President), Sally Hughes (First Lady), Clyde Kusatsu (Jack Okura), Steve Hytner (Tony Carducci), Tobin Bell (Mendoza), Bob Schott (Jimmy Hendrickson), Juan A. Riojas (Raul), Elsa Raven (Booth’s Landlady), Arthur Senzy (Paramedic), Patrika Darbo (Pam Magnus), Mary Van Arsdel (Sally), Ryan Cutrona (LAPD Brass), Lawrence Lowe (FBI Technician), Brian Libby (FBI Supervisor), Eric Bruskotter (Young Agent), Patrick Caddell (Political Speaker), John Heard (Professor Riger), Alan Toy (Walter Wickland), Carl Ciarfalio (CIA Agent Collins), Walt MacPherson (Hunter), Robert Peters (Hunter), Tyde Kierney (Police Captain Howard), Anthony Peck (FBI Official), Rick Hurst (Bartender), Doris E. McMillon (D.C. News Anchor), Robert Sandoval (Bellboy), Joshua Malina (Agent Chavez), William G. Schilling (Sanford Riggs), Michael Kirk (Computer Technician / Bates), Richard G. Camphuis (Party Fat Cat), Marlan Clarke (Marge), Robert Alan Beuth (Man at Bank), Susan Lee Hoffman (Woman at Bank), Donna Hamilton (Reporter at Dulles), Bob Jimenez (Reporter at Hotel), Cylk Cozart (Agent Cozart), Michael Zurich (Agent Zurich), Rich DiDonato (Undercover Agent), Jeffrey Kurt Miller (Undercover Agent), Kirk Jordan (Agent).
      Synopsis: Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan (Eastwood) couldn’t save Kennedy, but he’s determined not to let a clever assassin (Malkovich) take out this president.
      Comment: Eastwood is at his absolute best in this crackerjack thriller that is expertly and efficiently directed by Petersen. Malkovich makes for a creepy villain whose verbal sparring with Eastwood adds depth to his psychotic assassin. Russo sparks charmingly with Eastwood, who delivers one of his strongest and deepest performances. Morricone’s score is evocative and helps heighten the tension. Ultimately, this is text-book filmmaking of the highest order that perfectly marries script, direction, cast and editing.
      Notes: 3 Nominations for Oscar: Best Supporting Actor (John Malkovich), Editing, Screenplay.

Book Review – IN THE LINE OF FIRE (1993) by Max Allan Collins

IN THE LINE OF FIRE (1993) ****
by Max Allan Collins (based on the screenplay written by Jeff Maguire)
Published by HarperCollins, 1993, 262pp
ISBN: 0-00-647856-5

Image result for in the line of fire max allan collinsBlurb: It was his job to safeguard the destiny of the nation. But at the crucial moment, Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan was a split second too late. Now, after a lifetime of second thoughts and second guesses, Frank Horrigan is about to get a second chance. And this time, he’ll be ready.

Movie novelisations were a common site on paperback shelves back in the days before home video. At the time they were the only way to relive a movie in the comfort of your own home as films would, as a rule, not be screened on TV for at least 5 years after the release date. This particular book was published in 1993 to coincide with the release of the Clint Eastwood vehicle directed by Wolfgang Petersen. The film is one of Eastwood’s very best. A taut, suspenseful and efficiently made thriller. Eastwood’s significant screen presence and charisma gave depth and likeability to a character carrying years of guilt about not having been able to prevent the assassination of President John F Kennedy in 1963.

Here, Jeff Maguire’s lean screenplay has been worked into a novel by popular pulp writer Max Allan Collins. The result is a book that is as slick as the movie. Collins’ prose style effectively captures the narrative drive of Petersen’s movie. It is told mainly from the perspective of the two protagonists – Frank Horrigan and wacko Mitch Leary, who is out to extract revenge on the US Government by killing the President. It is difficult to convey John Malkovich’s creepy performance as Leary on the printed page, but for anyone who has seen the movie the imprint of Eastwood and Malkovich will loom large over the crackling dialogue between the two characters as Leary leads Horrigan on a cat-and-mouse chase. There are one or two elements that vary from the final film presented on screen, presumably changes that had been made to Maguire’s screenplay on set, but overall this is a thoroughly entertaining and quick read that accurately captures the excitement of the movie.

Film Review – AIR FORCE ONE (1997)

Image result for air force one 1997Air Force One (1997; USA/Germany; Technicolor; 125m) ***  d. Wolfgang Petersen; w. Andrew W. Marlowe; ph. Michael Ballhaus; m. Jerry Goldsmith.  Cast: Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Wendy Crewson, Liesel Matthews, Paul Guilfoyle, Glenn Close, Xander Berkeley, William H. Macy, Dean Stockwell, Tom Everett, Jürgen Prochnow, Donna Bullock, Michael Ray Miller. Hijackers seize the plane carrying the President of the United States and his family, but he (an ex-soldier) works from hiding to defeat them. Those who buy into the premise of this outlandish thriller in the DIE HARD mould will find much to enjoy in Ford’s heroics. Oldman relishes his bad guy terrorist role and Petersen’s classy direction helps keep this just the right side of comic book territory. [15]