Cincinnati Babyhead

Speaks his mind on music & movies!

Movie : Marathon Man

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We cut back and forth between and older man retrieving a container from a safety deposit box and a younger man jogging along a river pathway. The older gentleman leaves the bank and hands off the container to another man on a busy New York city street. He then gets in his car and after a short drive that includes a road rage incident he is killed in a fiery crash. We see the safety deposit box key being engulfed in flames. The jogger soon becomes involuntarily involved in the deceased man’s shady business which includes his own brother’s secret government agent life and a wanted Nazi war criminal and a whole lot more.

Well written, shot, edited, scored, directed and acted. John Schlesinger takes William Goldman’s story and screenplay and makes a terrific motion picture. From top to bottom everyone involved in the making of this film is on the top of their game. The performances are perfect. Schlesinger made his job easy by casting some great actors. Dustin Hoffman is perfect as the young university student/marathon runner who is sucked into a living nightmare. Laurence Olivier as the Nazi war criminal is also a a perfect choice. Understated and really scary in his realism.

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But the two performances that really give this film that extra special thing are Roy Scheider, who is as good as you can get in his role and William Devane who CB can’t get enough of. He has a style that always appeals to me. If I ever made a film I would have tried to cast both these guys. Solid film actors.

This film has so many memorable scenes. With one in particular that is an iconic piece of film. The tension, the twists, the violence all keep you wondering what is coming down the pike. Why did I do a take on this film? Because like all my takes I really dig it. You want an intelligent thriller that takes you for a crazy ride, hop on the Marathon man train. It’s a nasty ride but worth it.

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I love these 70 films shot in New York city. It stands up today. Just remember if some old bastard asks you “Is it safe?” kick him in the nuts and get the fuck away from him. Fast!

If you want to get a feel for the movie watch the trailer below it’s a good one.

65 comments on “Movie : Marathon Man

  1. Jim S.
    March 1, 2020

    I would like to watch this great movie again but part of me keeps asking whether it’s, I dunno, secure or, out of harm’s way or, at risk. Is it, is it – safe?

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Yeah, Another Blogger
    March 1, 2020

    This is another classic that I haven’t seen. There’s a lot of holes in my movie-viewing list.

    Saw a good doc last night. Echo In The Canyon. It’s about the rock music scene in LA in mid 1960s

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jim S.
      March 1, 2020

      I saw Echo in the Canyon at the theater and am now watching David Crosby documentary which is in a way, kind of sad.

      Liked by 2 people

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        March 1, 2020

        I’ll let you watch that one for me.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        March 1, 2020

        The Crosby? There seems to be a trend in these docs to stick guys in cars and drive them around to their old haunts. Saw it in Johnny Winter doc. Doesn’t really work. Crosby gets driven to a country store and he says, “Hey, it’s not like we were hanging out here or anything.” Otherwise, not bad and I do like that band.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        March 1, 2020

        I just recorded one off of PBS. A new one on Miles Davis. I think it’s the American Masters series which is top notch. I hear this Davis one is real good.
        I listen to Miles more than David. I think we discussed that Crosby’s dad was a talented DOP.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        March 1, 2020

        A new Miles? I’ll track that down. BTW, one I reviewed a while back called ‘Chasing Trane’ is currently on Netflix.
        As to Crosby’s father, yeah the doc went into that. High Noon guy. I said, Why does this sound familiar? And so we’d had that discussion.

        Like

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        March 1, 2020

        I have the Coltrane on my watch list.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        March 1, 2020

        Gotta watch it again. Looks like the Miles might be online

        Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      March 1, 2020

      Get with it Neil. It’s a well done flick. A few cringe moments but weaved into a good story and good performances and all shot in that New York u remember.
      Music Enthusiast did a take on ‘Canyon’ a while back.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. hotfox63
    March 1, 2020

    Great acting from Dustin Hoffman, Roy Scheider and Laurence Olivier. It’s been a while since I saw the film, but the dentist scenes stuck in my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jim S.
      March 1, 2020

      Fun tidbit from Wikipedia: “Reportedly, Laurence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman did not get along well during filming. Olivier did not agree with Hoffman’s style of Method Acting, which involved staying up days at a time to appear truly out of his mind and in physical pain for the film’s famous torture scenes. “My dear boy,” Olivier is remembered as saying, “why don’t you just try acting?”[

      Liked by 3 people

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        March 1, 2020

        I think that story has been going around the acting community since it was supposedly said. A meeting of old school and new school styles. They both work but Larry’s was a little less work.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        March 1, 2020

        Yeah, just show up and go. Daniel Day-Lewis is famous for being in character all the time. If I were an actor I’m sure I’d bring my lazy SOB habits to the set and just memorize the script. Goldman was the king of screenwriters wasn’t he? His script for “Butch and the Kid” is gold. “Think we used enough dynamite there, Butch?”

        Like

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        March 1, 2020

        You’d be the new Brando. He went from Mr Method to Mr Lazy. Put the lines on the off camera actors forehead.
        Yeah I think Goldman turns up a lot. Robert Evans was one of the producers.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        March 1, 2020

        I saw the Evans doc some years back with my sister but she doesn’t remember it. The Kid Stays in the Picture. He was quite the character.
        Do you know they have a contest in New Orleans where you yell ‘Stella!’ and I believe, for the ladies to have a say, “Stanley!”

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        March 1, 2020

        I seen that one. I’d like to see one of those collages of all the different wanna be Stanleys and Stellas doing that.

        Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      March 1, 2020

      It is good and stands up still. Yeah the dental stuff is a little hard on the nerves. Only the teeth with the good nerves.

      Liked by 1 person

      • hotfox63
        March 2, 2020

        “Marathon Man” has set a new standard in the movie torture industry. I think the film doesn’t reduce the fear of the dentist. Quite contrary.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        March 2, 2020

        It certainly became an iconic film scene for a lot of people
        (Fox, I was going through your archives looking for an X take. I thought I remembered you doing one on that band)

        Liked by 1 person

      • hotfox63
        March 2, 2020

        I did something about “Los Angeles”. X was – at least in retrospect – one of the most exciting punk bands from the 80s that came from the USA.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        March 2, 2020

        I thought you did. They have been in my head for the last while. I’l have to feature them next or I’m going to burst.
        I’m sure all the band members would of like this film. Had to stay on topic.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. observationblogger
    March 1, 2020

    I don’t think I’ve seen it either which is extraordinary considering the cast and the reviews. I just added this Passage to India on my ‘to watch’ list. Cool review CB.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. tref
    March 1, 2020

    The first time I saw the film, at the beginning, when Hoffman is trying to keep up with another runner, I assumed he was a guy in his forties still trying to be the runner he was in college. Then I learned Hoffman was playing a college age student, and it made the film kind of laughable to me. It definitely has it moments though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      March 1, 2020

      Good catch tref. Mature student? I remember having the same thoughts but I got carried away with the story and forgot. New character description? Student teacher? Mechanic? Shoe salesman? Struggling actor? Blogger? Hat model? …….

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jim S.
      March 2, 2020

      For the record, Hoffman was 30 when he made his breakthrough film ‘The Graduate’ playing a 21-year-old. Anne Bancroft – who played the older woman with whom he had an affair – was 36. So if you’re looking for verisimilitude in the movies, don’t hold your breath.

      Liked by 2 people

      • tref
        March 2, 2020

        Dig it. But that said, if you look like you’re pushing forty, and playing nineteen or twenty, maybe make some adjustments to the script. It wouldn’t have changed the trajectory of the film a wit. And Hoffman is no Mary Pickford.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jim S.
        March 2, 2020

        Good point. About the adjustments anyway. The Pickford reference is, I confess, lost on me.

        Liked by 2 people

      • tref
        March 2, 2020

        Me, too, actually. But I think Mary was still playing eleven years old well into her forties.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jim S.
        March 2, 2020

        Too funny.

        Liked by 2 people

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        March 2, 2020

        Bette Davis pulled it off in ‘Baby Jane’ . Maybe a little rough around the edges

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        March 2, 2020

        I’m sure that point was discussed. Or not.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        March 2, 2020

        “You want to play younger? Okay lets make your teeth a little younger there buddy” That was Larry speaking in character with his accent.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        March 2, 2020

        I don’t know DeNiro aged down pretty good in his last flick. I was drunk when I watched it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jim S.
        March 2, 2020

        CB is no Mary Pickford

        Liked by 2 people

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        March 2, 2020

        I’d have to play a cop or an old landlord in ‘Party Of One’

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jim S.
        March 2, 2020

        You play one; I’ll play the other. I’m going straight Method acting on this one though.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. 1dancequeendq
    March 1, 2020

    A gripping thriller. I enjoyed watching it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      March 1, 2020

      It is that. I didn’t see to much dancing other than in the dentist chair.
      (I’ve been tuning in a catching up on my Queen listening. To much good stuff to mention. Plus I’m finding my feet wanting to do their thing. Have you heard Mavis’s new album with Ben Harper? Pretty good stuff)

      Liked by 1 person

      • 1dancequeendq
        March 2, 2020

        Hi there. I have heard the new Mavis Staples album it will be included in The Happening soon. Thanks for all the catch ups.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        March 2, 2020

        I tuned into your Living Legends (No place for comments. Maybe its me) programs. You had Tom Jones. He did a great album a few years ago that I’d think you’d dig ‘Praise and Blame’. Similar vibe to the new Mavis.
        I wonder if Mavis and Tom liked Marathon Man?

        Liked by 1 person

      • 1dancequeendq
        March 2, 2020

        No comments that’s odd. I have been having some issues with WP. I’m in convos with support. I’ll check out the Tom Jones. Lol reMavis, Tom and Marathon Man. What comments would you like to make on Living Legends?

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        March 3, 2020

        Music Enthusiast went to LA and posted a new take and for what ever reason it didnt allow comments. Phone interface? He didnt have his laptop.
        Yeah the legends just got me thinking of how many are still around. I was digging some of the people I know. Herbie, Cleo Ry etc plus ones you’ve turned me onto, Hot 8 Brass, Pat Kelly (what timing on his passing). Plus I always need a reminder to listen to Courtney more. I have a Shirley Bassey coming up in the next while. Sticking with my Marathon Man take, they could have got her to sing the theme song if they had one.

        Liked by 1 person

      • 1dancequeendq
        March 3, 2020

        Yes, good idea on Shirley Bassey singing Marathon Man theme, if they had one.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. christiansmusicmusings
    March 2, 2020

    Great choice, CB, I’ve dug that picture since I watched it the first time.

    Great story. I also agree that Dustin Hoffman and the other actors you highlighted were outstanding. Though I suppose to some folks who watched the movie going to the dentist may never have been the same thereafter!

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      March 2, 2020

      It’s easy to feature these kinds of films. I like them and it seems a lot of other folks do to. Lots of cringe moments in this one.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. BuriedOnMars
    March 2, 2020

    Love this movie! I first watched it about 10-15 years ago. I haven’t taken a bath when home by myself since.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Phil Strawn
    March 2, 2020

    One of my favorite movies. A runner, New York at its 70s seediest, CIA, and Nazis. The tooth drilling was excruciating, but the end scene with the diamonds in the water was fitting.
    Regarding “Echos In The Canyon.” What a waste of music history. The movie was all over the board and why did Dylan pick those particular artists? They must have been his pals. Many of the people that were big in 68 have passed on, but there are still some left that would have made a better impression about the times. I give it a C .

    Liked by 1 person

  10. 1537
    March 3, 2020

    The film that justified my paralyzing fear of going to the dentist. I love how rundown and seedy New York is in the movie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      March 3, 2020

      My neighborhood dentist was the guy in the movies cousin, Doctor Hurtin. Absolutely brutal.
      Yeah New York looked great huh. Talk about setting the time and place. I’m going on a bit of a run with NYC as the backdrop.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. J.
    March 5, 2020

    I haven’t seen this in a long time. One of those I discovered when I was at college, I think… back then VHS tapes were cheap to pick up and I bought this with some other classics in a 5 for £20 deal. Think I might have gotten it with One Flew Over and Papillon. Can’t mind what the other two were…

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      March 5, 2020

      Pretty good company with the other flicks. I liked Papillon but felt it could have been a lot better. Cuckoos Nest is a great film.

      Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        March 6, 2020

        I know what you mean about Papillon. I’ve read both books and there was so much in there… I guess they could have made a mini-series with the amount of adventuring Henri did. Cuckoo’s Nest is outstanding. Again, I was obsessed with the book. Probably the only fiction book I’ve read more than once (I think I’ve read that about 8 times).

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        March 6, 2020

        ‘Cuckoo’s Nest’ is just flat out good. I read the book twice and loved it. That and Jack brought me to the film. I wanted to be RP up until they cut him. Great film on so many levels.
        (Maybe a take for the J and CB show?)

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        March 8, 2020

        RP was such a character, eh? Jack was a perfect pick, though I couldn’t picture him when I read the book.

        (And yeah, you could sign me up for that!)

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        March 8, 2020

        If I remember, in the book he was a redhead and a brawler. Jack made him his own.

        When I first started doing this CB thing, i would feature scenes and Cuckoos scenes were done twice. I was saving to do the whole film at a latter date. When you’re ready, get in touch and we’ll do it. ‘Morrison Hotel’ was seamless, easy and fun. Why fuck with something that worked.
        (I’ll be curious if my next take hits you. Posting in a few hours)

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Tony
    March 15, 2020

    You know I’ve seen this on shelves so many times and am so familiar with the cover but I never realised what it was about. This sounds so far up my alley it’s screaming to be watched, thanks CB

    Liked by 1 person

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