Monday, April 25, 2016

Brief Thoughts - SCORPIO (1973)

The other night I caught SCORPIO because I liked the look of the cast. How could I pass up a spy thriller with Burt Lancaster and Alain Delon?  Even if it stank it would interesting. Lucky for me it turned out to be excellent and one of my favorite unexpected discoveries of the year so far. Lancaster plays Cross , an aging agent of the CIA responsible for arranging the assassinations of foreign citizens that stand in the way of the United States' interests. Delon plays a French professional assassin codenamed Scorpio that Cross uses often in his plans. The film opens with the duo seeing through the removal of an Arab government official and then traveling back to Washington DC. It soon becomes clear that Cross has been marked for elimination by his own side with Scorpio is set after him with the promise of replacing his longtime mentor upon success. I won't give away any more of the film's surprises so as to encourage others to seek it out. I will court spoilers by saying it ended up reminding me quite a lot of the Robert Mitchum film from the same year THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE (1973). Overall I think I liked this film more.

Oh! I really enjoyed the casting of a number of great character actors in SCORPIO too. There are good roles for Paul Scofield, James Sikking, Gayle Hunnicutt, J. D. Cannon and two familiar faces from Star Trek as well - John Colicos as the CIA boss out for Cross' head and Joanne Linville as Cross' wife. 


Brian Lindsey said...

I watched this on MGM-HD last year and liked it.

Two things I remember most about the film:
(1) Instead of resulting in an embarrassing faux pas, the scene in which Lancaster's character disguises himself as a black man (a reverend, no less) actually works... Lancaster pulls it off!
(2) Lancaster will still in great shape at the time (he was 60), doing his own stunt work.

Rod Barnett said...

MGM-HD is where I caught it too! Good channel. And I agree that Lancaster pulls off the nigh impossible blackface stunt. Incredible.

And as for his stuntwork - I guess he never got too far away from his trapeze artist beginnings. To stay in the shape he was in for this is stunning. Of course, he was still pretty spry in TOUGH GUYS years later too!