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  • Dead Heat On A Merry Go Round [DVD] [2003]
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Dead Heat On A Merry Go Round [DVD] [2003]


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Product details

  • Actors: James Coburn, Camilla Sparv, Aldo Ray, Nina Wayne, Robert Webber
  • Directors: Bernard Girard
  • Producers: Carter de Haven
  • Format: Subtitled, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Arabic, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Greek, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish
  • Dubbed: French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 27 Oct. 2003
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000C24N0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 102,317 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

James Coburn stars as Eli Kotch, a captivating rogue and full-time con man in this comical crime caper also featuring Aldo Ray and Camilla Sparv. In prison, Kotch cleverly seduces an attractive psychologist to win parole. Once out, he immediately goes to work, planning a major bank robbery at the Los Angeles International Airport. The logistics of the heist call for imaginative thinking, so Kotchhires an electronics wizard, charms Inger Knudsen (Sparv) into marriage, and recruits Eddie Hart (Ray) to work the airport as a disguised policeman. Once everything is set, the determined Coburn is ready to blast into action. But will his scheme really land him the loot he's looking for, or will his dreams wind up in a DEAD HEAT ON A MERRY-GO-ROUND?

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By bernie VINE VOICE on 3 Mar. 2005
Format: DVD
We are used to seeing James Coburn bigger than life. He may be here but blends in to the story and soon you think of him as Eli Kotch or who ever he is at the moment.
Eli Kotch is planning a large caper that will be masked by a visit by the Soviet Premier. He must make some quick cash to finance this plan. To do this he becomes many people and no one. Wooing maids to gain access to their employer's abodes and pilfering on a large scale. It is fun watching him manufacture his personality and background. He becomes very efficient at this and even the boldness (with that Coburn grimace) will impress you. As in "Waterhole #3" (see my review) he must chose between the girl and the money. Keep your eyes and ears open for the outcome. Shall justice prevail?
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Quirky thriller that I enjoyed watching again. James Coburn giving a fine and memorable performance.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By bernie VINE VOICE on 22 Oct. 2002
Format: VHS Tape
We are used to seeing James Coburn bigger than life. He may be here but blends in to the story and soon you think of him as Eli Kotch or who ever he is at the moment.
Eli Kotch is planning a large caper that will be masked by a visit by the Soviet Premier. He must make some quick cash to cover this plan. Do to his he becomes many people and no one. Wooing maids to gain access to their employer's abodes and pilfering on a large scale. It is fun watching him manufacture his personality and background. He becomes very efficient at this and even the boldness (with that Coburn grimace) will impress you. As in "Waterhole #3" he must chose between the girl and the money. Keep your eyes and ears open for the outcome. Shall justice prevail?
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
James Coburn is as usual COOL!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 14 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Criminally Underrated 2 Feb. 2009
By EddieLove - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This is a unique and sensational 60s caper -- very well-written. There's no exposition - nothing is telegraphed. You have to pay careful attention to all Coburn's moves to find out how they play out. You're not even sure what the score is `til the final 20 minutes. It's seriously ahead of its time, although its time may not have yet arrived still, because if this were made today they'd overplay the cynicism of the piece and not let it all unfold for the viewer without irony.

Though it has a low-key, hip 60s vibe, it has more of the feel of a subversive 70s entertainment. (I winced when I saw Rose Marie's prominent billing in the credits, fearing a garish Mad-Mad-World-style comic cameo. She has only a couple of scenes, though and she's terrific.) Coburn's never been better.

The picture's a little too long, but it's a complete knockout. Remembered today mainly for Harrison Ford's three lines as a bellboy, this a subtle little classic.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Solid Caper Film with Only One Real Flaw 8 Dec. 2010
By Stephen Kaczmarek - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
James Coburn is among my favorite actors -- he might not have been as handsome as, say, Cary Grant or Gregory Peck, nor as suave as Sean Connery or Rock Hudson, but he could carry a film as easily as any of these leading men. What Coburn brought to his roles, long before it became de riguer, was a steady but self-effacing cool, with quite a bit more humor than Steve McQueen or Lee Marvin, who approximated him physically. That his career did not go further is a mystery to me, but thank goodness we have the films he did make. Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round is a cryptic title until you get the reference in the film, but it's a fine hold-up movie, and the sort that keeps you guessing as to what will happen next.

Coburn plays Eli Kotch, a grifter who, among other things, charms his way out of prison by bedding the state's psychologist (Marian McCargo, a cross between Barbara Billingsley and Dina Merrill) before making his way across the country in a series of interesting cons that net him women and money. It's all to buy the scjematics for an airport international bank's security system, which he plans to crack with the help of his gang (Aldo Ray, Michael Strong, and Severn Darden, whom Coburn would again co-star with in the excellent The President's Analyst). At risk are the usual close calls, but what elevates Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round from the usual caper film is its focus on both character and location, giving the film a more introspective geography than most. Watching it, one can see hints to what later would become standard elements of both Tarantino and Coen Brothers films, and in fact, it's rather surprising in particular the latter chose to remake True Grit and not this film.

A special note must be made about Camilla Sparv, who plays Coburn's duped wife in this film. First of all, she is genuinely beautiful, and not just the standard icy blond, but her performance shows a grace and vulnerability that only a few actresses manage. She's no Audrey Hepburn or Ingrid Bergman, but her turn in this film, as well as the underrated farce Murderer's Row, suggests she should have had a better career than she managed.

Robert Webber, too, brings dimension to the role of a put-upon secret service chief who has to contend with a visit by a Russian premier that, along with protests at the Los Angeles Airport, makes for the sort of confusion that Kotch is counting on. Webber often played Madison Avenue types who were affable if scheming but slightly befuddled, but here his performance manages to give the character more sympathy than he could have had, especially given the time the film was made.

The movie is so good, it predicts what a superior film -- McQueen's The Thomas Crown Affair -- would accomplish much better two years later: deal with the romantic conflicts. Whereas that film makes Crown's uncertain romance with the one woman who might jeopardize the success of the crime central to the plot, this one only marginally does (though it does have a twist at the end that is on the order of Frank Sinatra Ocean's 11 in its irony).

That's a shame because both Coburn and Sparv do a ducj wonderful job of making audiences believe they could and should be a couple, which is especially challenging because Coburn plays that oft romanticized character in American film: the sociopath. Unlike Crown, who was simply bored and turns to crime for the challenge and the excitement, it's obvious that Kotch enjoys his duplicity and has very little feeling for anything or anyone else. Yet, in perhaps a greater con, we root for him.

Writer and director Bernard Girard made one for the ages with Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round. I just wish he'd made more films, and that Stu Phillips had scored them, too.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Really good comedy-crime caper from 60's 13 Jan. 2014
By Luke - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
First of, James Coburn was a great actor, in the same style of Charles Bronson, Stephen Boyd, or Lee Marvin. However, somehow he is forgotten by the Hollywood and public in general. I don't know why?

The movie has great 1960's feel to it. Interesting story, and un-Hollywood like ending. Also, great shots of LAX airport.
I give it 4 stars, because I would be lying if said that I love it, but I did like it.
Most importantly, Camilla Sparv is an eye-candy to look at. If at least a quarter of Swedish females look like her,
then I must seriously consider moving to Sweden :)
Thin Acting. Thinner Scripts. 31 Dec. 2011
By MadMacs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Ah the mid-1960s --- thin acting, thinner scripts. Rented because I'm a huge fan of heist capers. Unfortunately, 'Merry Go Round' is a rather fragile piece of filmmaking. Trying too hard to be clever and failing. Too coy to be slick. Too plastic to be real. And infinitely too convoluted to make any sense.

In this film, Coburn plays Eli Kotch, a con-man and Lothario thief who uses his skills pursuing housemaids in order to pry his way to the goodies; both literal and figurative téndrés des marchandises. It's a decent scam, but he has eyes on a much bigger prize. He's tired of making just enough until he has to do it all over again, so he has plans on a heist that will set him up for life. One big score that will allow him to walk away and drink margaritas on a beach forever.

Seems pretty straight-forward, but the filmmakers pursue a plaintively obtuse and twisted path to reach that simple goal.

One issue I had, and it's only one to illustrate a point, was why Eli needed to recruit his 'assistant' from the east coast, only to have her relocate to the west coast? It's not explained, and I sincerely doubt there is an explanation. Not a reasonable or logical one at least. Again, that's just one issue. There are many more like it in this production.

Again, it was the 1960s. And this kind of plot hole seems par for the course for many B-movies that did not go straight for the easy money via sexploitation or sensationalism. The mid-sixties were a transitional period in Hollywood, a time where things were about to creatively explode as rogue filmmakers and independents were about to shakeup the industry for the next twenty years. And flat films of the old guard, like 'Merry Go Round', in many ways helped prepare for the coming new wave of cinema; a tepid calm before the amazing storm of unique vision and incredible exploration.

I have nothing but respect for Coburn, but his talent during this period is sketchy. Given the right role, he could compare favorably with the top stars of his time. But often, the weaknesses of his abilities revealed themselves as ridiculous overacting and overreach. He was always most believable as a carefree wisecracking hipster or a laconic cold manipulator. The effusive gentleman thief was never his game.

Overall, a convoluted mess with little action, poor characterizations, and a deeply unsatisfying end. I will say this though, due to the sheer length the film takes to finally execute the heist, there's a nice bit of building tension as you wonder if they get away with it. But that's not nearly enough of a payoff, much like what Eli himself receives, to recommend this to anyone but to the hardest hardcore fans of heist films or James Coburn.
Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round 1966 18 April 2013
By William - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Saw this movie while I was stationed in Germany 1966/67 Having grown up in and around the LA airport, it was like seeing a bit of home in a far off land. Didn't see this movie again until the 1980s and taped it on VHS. Was glad to see it available on DVD really enjoyed this movie.
The actors and dialog in this film, are classic. After I got out of the US Army in 1970 went to the LA airport and walked around, the area, the bank in the film was under a different name for the movie, When I went to visit the airport, it was a Bank of America branch.
Walked around the Encounter Restaurant and Observation area at that time, you could just walk about anywhere. Today all that
open area in the movie where you drop off and pick up passengers is now enclosed and is a double-deck area. For myself, its one of those movie I'll always remember and now own in my DVD movie collection...
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