The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973, Peter Yates)

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The kind of movie that makes me say I Love Film.

I'm going to watch Night of the Hunter now.

TheTco, Friday, 1 August 2008 07:33 (fifteen years ago) link

So there's no DVD of this, but you can get it as a iTunes download. Weird.

Brilliant movie BTW.

Elvis Telecom, Thursday, 7 August 2008 23:52 (fifteen years ago) link

The book has a reputation in certain circles as the best crime novel ever. I tried it and it did seem to be the granddaddy of the Lots-of-Gasbag-Dialogue-That-Doesn't-Advance-The-Action school of storytelling.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Saturday, 16 August 2008 02:46 (fifteen years ago) link

one year passes...

yeah this was p. good. pacing is v. deliberate & it's so unsentimental abt its characters. feels 2 me like a precursor 2 the sopranos

johnny crunch, Wednesday, 7 April 2010 16:41 (fourteen years ago) link

didn't see enough Sopranos to say, but the film was unique in presenting crime as kinda just another blue-collar job.

kind of shrill and very self-righteous (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 7 April 2010 17:08 (fourteen years ago) link

three years pass...

Watched this for a second time last night. I can't really find fault with it, but it's a film I ought to love and I don't. Mitchum and Boyle are great, and I liked the gun dealer a lot too. I want to say that I need all the dumb movie conventions it leaves out, but Straight Time leaves them out too, and that's a film I do love. Definitely hard to think of anything else quite like it (anything American, anyway).

clemenza, Thursday, 18 April 2013 23:16 (eleven years ago) link

I agree with your second sentence.

the little prince of inane false binary hype (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 18 April 2013 23:21 (eleven years ago) link

Kael didn't review it, but there's mention of it in her Mean Streets review--could two gangster films be more different?--and an entry in 5001 Nights:

"...this movie should be better; the plot and the dialogue are first-rate. The elements are all there, and Mitchum, looking appropriately square-headed, tries hard and has some good scenes. But you get the impression that the dialogue is moving faster than the action. Probably this picture, directed by the English Peter Yates, needed an American director with an instinctive feeling for the milieu; the movie is shallow and a little mechanical, with noise and loud music used to build up excitement. The police and the gangsters have no roots, and intertwined roots are what the story is meant to be about."

I don't know if an American director would have helped--it probably just would have ended up very conventional. And Yates made Bullitt, so you can't say he had no feeling for crime films. I found its deliberate flatness very off-putting, though. While understanding why someone else might love it.

clemenza, Friday, 19 April 2013 00:39 (eleven years ago) link

the granddaddy of the Lots-of-Gasbag-Dialogue-That-Doesn't-Advance-The-Action school of storytelling

GVH def seems like the major influence on Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, although Higgins' fiction is more low-key than Tarantino's movies, even Jackie Brown.

Ward Fowler, Friday, 19 April 2013 07:40 (eleven years ago) link

The gun runner in Eddie Coyle is named Jackie Brown!

clemenza, Friday, 19 April 2013 19:20 (eleven years ago) link

incredible film imo. i thought mitchum was great. boyle excellent as well. and richard jordan too (died too young.) as did steven keats, who played jackie brown (suicide.)

christmas candy bar (al leong), Friday, 19 April 2013 20:41 (eleven years ago) link

loved the super-harsh ending. i was trying to think of another ice-cold ending like that, kind of reminded me of the novel 'to each his own' by leonardo sciascia in terms of the relative (very relative in this film's case) nobility of its lead character being thoroughly destroyed by the corruption of everyone around him. also reminded me a bit of the way 'the pledge' ended in terms of the hopelessness if not the actual outcome.

christmas candy bar (al leong), Friday, 19 April 2013 20:44 (eleven years ago) link

i reviewed this eh

Pope Rusty I (Dr Morbius), Friday, 19 April 2013 22:16 (eleven years ago) link

Seem to remember reading that. Did you link to it on another thread?

What About The Half That's Never Been POLLed (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 20 April 2013 00:37 (eleven years ago) link

six months pass...

negative reviews that make you want to watch a film --

The film of George V. Higgins's novel, "The Friends of Eddie Coyle", is a happily brutal, bleak without artistry, cold-hearted and life-denying piece of amorality in cinematic form, populated with actors whose characters possess no character (the filmmaker's fault, not the actors) and only barely resemble human beings as they mug their way through recitations of some of the most anti-dramatic and banal dialogue I've ever heard in a mainstream Hollywood production. The only excuse for making a film like this is to make pure, unadulterated evil look hip, cool, and therefore falsely exciting. But how can you make losers, traitorous cops, and thugs look interesting?

Well, one way among other things is to sprinkle the actors' dialogue with the most casual and blissfully ignorant racist assumptions equating only Blacks with welfare and sub-standard living conditions, which of course serves the purpose of validating the selfish, furtive, low-life moves of Eddie and his so-called friends (???) by implying that even though they may be bone-headed criminals that routinely botch-up their little capers, at least they ain't n-----s. For those of us who have the courage to question the debatable validity of those assumptions, please read Barbara's Ehrenreich's 1991 article in Time magazine entitled, "Welfare: A White Secret." And then do the research that she did, in case you disagree with her conclusions.

Another way to make the death of life appear to be dramatically compelling is to get creative visually, in this case recording the action in long, slow takes reminiscent of documentaries, and to de-saturate the film stock so that color is drained from Nature. This makes the footage look "artsy", though I don't completely understand why that is. It's a production value that is routinely employed (and at other times successfully) to make things appear more "realistic", but here it only serves to make this film a more detached and unfeeling experience. It's as though the filmmakers said, "Life is miserable, and misery loves company, so let's make Nature look the way we feel".

There is only one, brief scene in this film that admits the possibility of joy in life, and that's when Eddie lovingly embraces his sweet, matronly Irish wife, Sheila, in the kitchen as she washes dishes. Whether it's her dutiful attendance to her lowly domestic chores, or her non-accusing, selfless acceptance of Eddie's legal troubles, it's clear that his suddenly amorous gesture is motivated by loving feelings so strong that she giggles with girlish satisfaction at the urgency of his forgivably mis-timed carnal need.

Movies may reflect life in its various aspects, but the reflection is more useful and constructive when we don't focus exclusively on death, and man-made death at that.

ian, Sunday, 3 November 2013 17:13 (ten years ago) link

four years pass...

Saw this for what I thought was the second time last night, but a post above tells me it was the third. Wouldn't change a word from what I wrote five years ago: like, not love. Great game footage of Bobby Orr.

clemenza, Saturday, 24 February 2018 15:08 (six years ago) link

two years pass...

Phase IV last night, this tonight, Talking Pictures is on a roll.

Sonny Shamrock (Tom D.), Saturday, 1 August 2020 20:02 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

This is fantastic, scuzzy, down and out.

Legalize Suburban Benches (Raymond Cummings), Tuesday, 25 January 2022 02:50 (two years ago) link

about as unglamorous as a crime movie can get. mitchum at his most weary and downtrodden too.

Saxophone Of Futility (Michael B), Wednesday, 26 January 2022 18:09 (two years ago) link

i love when crime movies like this really lean into presenting criminals as deeply pathetic losers

nobody like my rap (One Eye Open), Wednesday, 26 January 2022 18:18 (two years ago) link


terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 26 January 2022 20:43 (two years ago) link

six months pass...

Watched this last night. It's a pretty unique atmosphere - like the film exists inside the cooling, coiling smoke shot from Peter Boyle's gun. The end reminded me of Dog Day Afternoon (maybe the whole film did - it's scuzziness, the helplessness). Fwiw, I was convinced Mitchum was going to wake up.

Shard-borne Beatles with their drowsy hums (Chinaski), Tuesday, 26 July 2022 11:52 (one year ago) link

The other thing it made me think of quite often was S2 of the Wire. Again, something to do with the hopelessness of it all. And the interiors - everything cramped and ill-lit. Helena Carroll could easily have slotted into one of those port-side cottages.

Shard-borne Beatles with their drowsy hums (Chinaski), Tuesday, 26 July 2022 11:58 (one year ago) link

ten months pass...

thought this film was pretty good, it was very much about the grungy aesthetic of 1973 - the story, the cars, buildings, clothes, music, neon signs, etc - as well as about the Bruins and Bobby Orr

I was a little disappointed with the agreement between Foley and Dillon at the end

Dan S, Sunday, 4 June 2023 23:22 (eleven months ago) link

I think it's gone from being underrated and underseen to slightly overrated.

clemenza, Sunday, 4 June 2023 23:28 (eleven months ago) link

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