Director Alex March’s 1969 caper thriller stars Ryan O’Neal as Jack Ryan, a young ex-GI, drifter and criminal who gets into big trouble in his job at a Californian hotel.
Leigh Taylor-Young plays a shady, greedy young woman called Nancy Barker, who tries to get him to rob her boyfriend Ray Ritchie (James Daly) in a dangerous escapade.
March directs screen-writer Robert Dozier’s vapid version of a nifty novel by Elmore Leonard with a very little bit of bounce, and gets the lowlife crime drama atmosphere wrong. But, seeking gems among the junk, at least there are attractive visuals from photographer Howard R Schwartz, there is a good score by Michael Curb and soundtrack, and there is always Van Heflin (in his last cinema film), Robert Webber and Lee Grant in the support cast to watch for acting lessons.
Also in the cast are Kevin O’Neal, Charles Cooper, Cindy Eilbacher, Noam Pitlik and Victor Paul.
It was O’Neal’s first film after leaving TV’s Peyton Place. O’Neal and Taylor-Young were a married couple.
It was remade as The Big Bounce in 2004.
© Derek Winnert 2016 Classic Movie Review 4461
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