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on 9 May 2012
Part of the thrill in watching this great film lies in the sense of discovery. Made in Hollywood in the early 1970s by a first-rate cast and crew, Night Moves disappeared soon after release and has largely been neglected ever since.

Rarely seen on television, and not easily available on DVD, Night Moves has gradually attained recognition, at least in some quarters, for being a fascinating detective thriller with a post-Watergate subtext. A revisionist detective movie was not to the public's taste (just as the Missouri Breaks, a revisionist western, similarly failed at the box office). And yet Night Moves, with a script by respected Scottish novelist Alan Sharp, contains a fine performance from Gene Hackman, and was directed by Arthur Penn (Bonnie and Clyde).

Although it was released in 1975, Penn filmed Night Moves late in 1973, extensively reworking Sharp's script (originally titled, The Dark Tower). Penn hadn't released a movie since Little Big Man in 1970. During this three year break, he seemed to suffer some sort of personal crisis, and claims only to have agreed to make Night Moves on a whim; it was in fact originally a Sidney Pollack project. The film follows ex pro-footballer Harry Moseby (Gene Hackman), an LA private investigator who is searching for the runaway daughter of a faded movie actress. Moseby, meanwhile, discovers that his wife is having an affair. We soon realise that Moseby is a man who seems disconnected both from himself, and those around him. As the plot proceeds, Moseby uncovers clue after clue, but seems to lack the facility to see and understand the reality of his own situation.

Arthur Penn, speaking of the film's origins, referred to the Kennedy assassinations, and the sense of despair and pervading lack of optimism in American life. He saw the script that he and Alan Sharp developed into Night Moves as a detective story where the detective is cut adrift from his own life and the problems that surround it. The solution, once it arrives for Moseby, only continues the despair, rather than being a traditional detective movie solution.

With these intellectual concerns in mind, Penn created a most unHollywood-like thriller. Some critics have referred to the sort of revisionism seen in Robert Altman's version of The Long Goodbye, where the moral values and discipline of Raymond Chandler's creation, Philip Marlowe, were completely jettisoned. But what Night Moves does first is offer us a rounded, complex character as its private eye hero, not a debasement. From the first few scenes we see him as a man who is ill at ease in his life, and whose gut emotional response is to investigate, to snoop and weigh up, even in terms of his wife's infidelity.

Look out for a young James Woods as a mechanic, and Melanie Griffith playing the role of Delly Grastner, the runaway. DVD extras include the theatrical trailer and an interesting 8 minute featurette, The Day of the Director, shot during production of the film.
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on 21 December 2015
Great price and fast delivery. Tip top.
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on 24 September 2015
very good film.
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on 20 June 2017
1
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Night Moves is directed by Arthur Penn and written by Alan Sharp. It stars Gene Hackman, Jennifer Warren, Susan Clark, James Woods, Melanie Griffith, Edward Binns, Harris Yulin, Kenneth Mars and Janet Ward. Music is by Michael Small and cinematography by Bruce Surtees.

Former footballer turned private detective in Los Angeles Harry Moseby (Hackman), gets hired by an ageing actress to track down her trust-funded daughter Delly Grastner (Griffith), who is known to be in Florida. With his own personal life shaken by his wife's infidelity, Harry dives into the Grasten case with determination. Unfortunately nothing is as it first seems and it's not long before Harry is mired in murky goings on...

It sounds kind of bleak. Or is it just the way you tell it?

The locale is often bright and sunny but that's about the only thing that is in this excellent neo-noir. Harking back, and doffing its cap towards, the noir detective films of the classic cycle, Night Moves is ripe with characters who are either dubious or damaged. Protagonist Harry Moseby is thrust into a melancholic world that he has no control over, but he doesn't know this fact. As the mystery at the core of the dense plot starts to unravel, there's a bleakness, a 1970s air of cynicism, that pervades the narrative. Culminating in a finale that's suitably dark and ambiguous.

Harry thinks if you call him Harry again he's gonna make you eat that cat!

Alan Sharp's (Ulzana's Raid) terrific screenplay is appropriately as sharp as a razor. Dialogue is often hardboiled or zinging with wit, and the conversations come with sadness or desperation. Be it chatter about a fateful chess move, sexual enlightenment or the pains of childhood and bad parenting, Sharp's writing provides fascinating characters operating in a tense thriller environment.

Listen Delly, I know it doesn't make much sense when you're sixteen. Don't worry. When you get to be forty, it isn't any better.

Arthur Penn brilliantly threads it all together, as he hones a great performance out of Hackman and notable turns from the support players, he smoothly blends action with pulsing unease. There's nudity on show, but in Penn's hands it is never used for gratuitous purpose, it represents dangerous fantasies or dented psyches. Small's jazzy score is a fine tonal accompaniment, and Surtees' Technicolor photography provides deft mood enhancements for the interior and exterior sequences.

Biting and bitter, Night Moves is essential neo-noir. 9/10
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HALL OF FAMEon 17 August 2007
Harry Moseby is a private investigator with a marriage that's falling apart and an unwillingness to deal with his own personal issues. He used to play pro ball for Oakland; now he gets by with divorce work. He likes to solve chess problems. He's smarter than you think. One day he gets a call from a friend who says he's got a case for Harry. A 16-year-old girl, daughter of an alcoholic former small-time movie star and a deceased Hollywood mogul, has run away. Harry tracks the teenager down to an island off Florida and the home of her stepfather, Tom Iverson. Iverson and his wife, Paula, run a small charter boat operation. The days are filled with hot sunshine. The nights with puzzles and temptations. Harry intends to return the girl to her mother, but lands up to his eyes in murder, Hollywood stunt men, stolen Mexican artifacts and emotional betrayal.

Night Moves stars Gene Hackman as Moseby. It's one of his best roles. Arthur Penn directed and I'd put it up there with Penn's best. Several things make this movie so good. First is the coherence of a complicated story. At times Moseby is a step or two ahead of us. Some times we're a step or two ahead of Moseby. The solution, however, comes as a logical but surprising revelation to both Moseby and us. All the elements were there if we'd only noticed them. Penn's direction keeps us engrossed in the story and in the action. Even when Moseby is dealing with his wife who is having an affair, in part because of Moseby's own emotional distance, Penn keeps us involved and looking forward to the next part of the story.

Equally important, Night Moves features some first rate actors whom we believe in as their characters. After Hackman is Jennifer Warren as Paula Iverson, a complicated mixture of honesty and evasion. Paula is edgy, with a quick mouth and ping pong talk. She looks straight at you when she challenges you. Edward Binns as an aging stuntman gives another fine performance. He's tired, experienced and has seen it all. Melanie Griffith as Delly, the run-away sex nymphet, gives an excellent performance in her first billed role. She was 18 when she made the movie. Strong performances also are given by John Crawford as Tom Iverson, Janet Ward as Delly's usually drunk mother who is dependent on Delly's trust fund, Susan Clark as Harry's wife, Harris Yulin as her lover and James Woods as a repellant mechanic.

The movie steadily builds tension and interest as Harry tracks Delly down and meets Paula and Tom Iverson. Then one night Paula takes Delly for a late night swim and Harry decides to tag along. Delly strips off and dives in nude while Harry looks uncomfortable and Paula just smiles. Then Delly comes up screaming. Paula turns on the underwater lights and they peer through the glass bottom. Not too far down in the water they can see the remains of a small plane. In the cabin, fish are still nibbling at what's left of the pilot's face. At this point the movie picks up a lot of steam, with Harry determined to find out what's going on. The end of the movie is violent and surprisingly poignant. Night Moves is a movie worth having.

The DVD transfer looks just fine, maybe a little soft. There is one light-weight extra called The Day of the Director about Penn. It didn't seem worth sitting through.
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on 13 January 2001
Right from the word go you know that this film is never going to lose your attention. Never spoonfed you have to make sure that you follow the film's intricacies as one trip out of the room and you will lose the plot altogether, (a bit like Gene Hackman's character in the film). The film however does deserve your full attention and the viewer is fully rewarded for watching with an ending that will leave you gobsmacked. Rife with Murder, Mystery and suspense the classic ingredients to cook a tantalising broth.
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on 9 May 2012
Part of the thrill in watching this great film lies in the sense of discovery. Made in Hollywood in the early 1970s by a first-rate cast and crew, Night Moves disappeared soon after release and has largely been neglected ever since.

Rarely seen on television, and not easily available on DVD, Night Moves has gradually attained recognition, at least in some quarters, for being a fascinating detective thriller with a post-Watergate subtext. A revisionist detective movie was not to the public's taste (just as the Missouri Breaks, a revisionist western, similarly failed at the box office). And yet Night Moves, with a script by respected Scottish novelist Alan Sharp, contains a fine performance from Gene Hackman, and was directed by Arthur Penn (Bonnie and Clyde).

Although it was released in 1975, Penn filmed Night Moves late in 1973, extensively reworking Sharp's script (originally titled, The Dark Tower). Penn hadn't released a movie since Little Big Man in 1970. During this three year break, he seemed to suffer some sort of personal crisis, and claims only to have agreed to make Night Moves on a whim; it was in fact originally a Sidney Pollack project. The film follows ex pro-footballer Harry Moseby (Gene Hackman), an LA private investigator who is searching for the runaway daughter of a faded movie actress. Moseby, meanwhile, discovers that his wife is having an affair. We soon realise that Moseby is a man who seems disconnected both from himself, and those around him. As the plot proceeds, Moseby uncovers clue after clue, but seems to lack the facility to see and understand the reality of his own situation.

Arthur Penn, speaking of the film's origins, referred to the Kennedy assassinations, and the sense of despair and pervading lack of optimism in American life. He saw the script that he and Alan Sharp developed into Night Moves as a detective story where the detective is cut adrift from his own life and the problems that surround it. The solution, once it arrives for Moseby, only continues the despair, rather than being a traditional detective movie solution.

With these intellectual concerns in mind, Penn created a most unHollywood-like thriller. Some critics have referred to the sort of revisionism seen in Robert Altman's version of The Long Goodbye, where the moral values and discipline of Raymond Chandler's creation, Philip Marlowe, were completely jettisoned. But what Night Moves does first is offer us a rounded, complex character as its private eye hero, not a debasement. From the first few scenes we see him as a man who is ill at ease in his life, and whose gut emotional response is to investigate, to snoop and weigh up, even in terms of his wife's infidelity.

Look out for a young James Woods as a mechanic, and Melanie Griffith playing the role of Delly Grastner, the runaway. DVD extras include the theatrical trailer and an interesting 8 minute featurette, The Day of the Director, shot during production of the film.
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on 16 July 2010
A fine example of 70s film making right here, Night Moves drifts along for an enthralling opening 75 minutes, never quite giving the game away as to where its headed. Instead in this drawn out beginning, you are presented with a delightful script which gives the well crafted characters plenty of room to breathe and develop, being both intelligent and witty. Each actor carries their roll with aplomb, there is no filler here whatsoever. Suddenly the film switches up four gears for the somewhat out of character rollercoaster finale, messy (literally) and perhaps feeling a touch forced before the absolutely stunning final shot, perhaps my favourite final shot this side of the original Pelham 1,2,3. Smart film, well worth you 100 minutes.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 November 2016
Arthur Penn’s ever-appreciating neo-noir from 1975 captures the social, cultural and political mood of its era quite brilliantly. Not only does it evoke the increasing lack of trust and cynicism of the age (in all walks of life – post-Watergate, Vietnam, etc.) very effectively, but, with its running theme on cinema and its ditching of the erstwhile tropes of the noir genre in favour of more reflection and thoughtfulness, Night Moves can be regarded as something of a milestone film of the time. That said, it is certainly not (for me, at least) a flawless film. The acting is a little hit or miss and with its 'fashion sense’ rooted firmly in the 1970s (flares, handlebar moustaches and very much a 'TV soundtrack’ by Michael Small), it does have a dated feel to it, but this is more than made up for by a perceptive and ironic script courtesy of Alan Sharp, a brooding, atmospheric and complex plot that swings between the episodic and unexpectedly dramatic, and another brilliant acting turn by Gene Hackman as the flawed hero, LA private detective Harry Moseby.

We may initially be lulled into thinking that Hackman’s Harry is a traditional 'noir hero’ in the vein of a Bogie or even a 'modern day’ J J Gittes, but any such illusion is soon shattered as Moseby, called in to investigate the disappearance of the daughter of Janet Ward’s ex-actress and (failed) seductress, Arlene Iverson, soon finds himself living out an existential crisis of his own, acting 'private dick’ in following his unfaithful wife, Susan Clark’s Ellen, and reliving his past parental traumas. Harry’s 'man out of time’ persona is brought home to him as Sharp’s intricate plot takes the detective to Florida where he finds Iverson’s daughter, Melanie Grifffith’s teen nymphet Delly, existing in an apparently free-living (and loving) 'commune’ ('I guess you like things to stay the way they are’) and Moseby starts to uncover a (rather fanciful) plot involving murder, inheritance, paedophilia and smuggling. Sharp’s plot, whilst meandering nicely and keeping us guessing (in more conventional fashion) right to the end as to who the film’s 'baddie’ might be, essentially acts as the backdrop to Harry’s own inner turmoil, as the detective questions the morality of his career, his relationship with his wife and (more widely) just who he can trust. Harry’s dilemma is summed up nicely in the film’s (eponymous) chess game sequence.

Acting-wise, Hackman excels again, thereby adding another film turn to his impressive oeuvre, which includes the likes of The Conversation, The French Connection, Mississippi Burning, Unforgiven and Penn’s own Bonnie and Clyde. Elsewhere, Ward impresses as the malevolent Arlene, as does Edward Binns as stuntman Joey Ziegler. The film’s series of (apparent) cinematic references is also worthy of note – Hitchcock getting the most obvious nod via the use of a stunt (then 'real') propeller plane (à la North By North West) and perhaps by the casting of Tippi Hedren’s daughter Griffith, plus Arlene’s world-weary 'film star’ also calling to my mind Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard (perhaps a bit of a stretch this one). The film is also noted for Harry’s (apparently ironic) put-down of Eric Rohmer, 'I saw a Rohmer film once, it was kinda like watching paint dry’.

All-in-all, Penn’s film is a memorable evocation of its era – a time of great social, political and cultural uncertainty, evoked brilliantly on screen by Hackman’s portrayal of Harry, whose past and future life trajectory is summed up in the film’s mesmerising final sequence.
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