The Mackintosh Man (1973)

This is a second contribution to the John Huston blogathon currently running at Adam Zanzie’s Icebox Movies site.

From the title of this John Huston movie, The Mackintosh Man, I was half-expecting to see star Paul Newman – oddly cast as a British secret agent – dressed in a Bogart-style raincoat and wandering through grey, damp streets. However, as soon as I saw the film’s glorious Technicolor sunshine, I realised the title had nothing to do with raincoats.

In fact the film’s title is drawn from the name of Newman’s boss in the film, played by Harry Andrews – and the film itself is a lavishly-produced 1970s thriller moving from London to Ireland to Malta. (For a fan of  The Maltese Falcon, it’s nice to know that Huston actually made a film in Malta!) I’ve seen some reviews suggest that this movie is Huston’s homage to Hitchcock, and I can see that there are some similarities, with the puzzling plot and the casting of Dominique Sanda as the enigmatic “ice blonde” heroine, “Mrs Smith” – but for me the tension never really builds up to Hitchcock levels.

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We Were Strangers (1949)

This is a contribution to the John Huston blogathon currently running at Adam Zanzie’s Icebox Movies site. 

John Garfield and Jennifer Jones

 

John Huston’s 1949 film We Were Strangers, set in the revolutionary Cuba of 1933 and starring Jennifer Jones and John Garfield, has grown on me with repeated viewing. First time round I thought it was pretty good – now I’m thinking it is a lesser-known Huston masterpiece. It came in a strong period for him, just after Key Largo and The Treasure of Sierra Madre, and has a lot in common with these, like them focusing on a small group of people forced together in an isolated and claustrophobic setting with turbulent events going on around them. 

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