In what resembles a companion piece to The Conversation Gene Hackman plays the remote, emotionally reticent Harry Moseby, a private investigator who goes on doing other people’s dirty business even while he hasn’t a clue about what’s going on in his own life. The witty, elliptical, intricately plotted screenplay by Scottish writer Alan Sharp sends Harry from Los Angeles down to the Florida Keys on a case to track down the runaway daughter of a fading movie actress. The daughter is played by a very young Melanie Griffith, in her first role. See, she was never lost, but everyone else in the movie may be.
In many ways Night Moves best sums up the malaise of its era. Arthur Penn’s neo-noir classic takes the p.i. genre to the point of no-return: the more answers Harry finds, the further he gets from a solution.
Director Arthur Penn was a generation older than most of the “movie brats”, a graduate from directing Live TV in the 1950s, but his Bonnie and Clyde (1967) was a key film in sparking the New Hollywood.
A key film of the 70s… Essential viewing.
Phil Hardy, Time Out
In the front rank of New Hollywood cinema. In building a formally ingenious, emotionally generous modern-day noir around a man who, in Paula’s words, persists in “asking the wrong questions,” Penn, Sharp, and Hackman succeed in posing searching ones of their viewers, whether in 1975 or today.
Jonathan Murray, Cineaste
This is one of the films that helped us realize there could be films noir in colour… Penn’s use of pople is as tender and piercing as ever. The great cast builds an unforgettable gallery of unease and unrealibility… Night Moves is gloomy, downcast, and grown-up. It’s exactly what America deserved at the time.
David Thomson, Have You Seen…?
Aug 4 Only: Introduction from novelist Sam Wiebe (Hell and Gone; Dave Wakeland novels)
Gene Hackman, Susan Clark, Jennifer Warren, Melanie Griffith, James Woods, Edward Binns, Harris Yulin
Robert M. Sherman
Dede Allen, Stephen A. Rotter
In the Spotlight: Crime Scenes
Mikey and Nicky
Marked for assassination, lowly gangster Mikey (John Cassavetes) calls his best friend, Nicky (Peter Falk), the only man he can trust, and they deviate around New York City all night, one step ahead of a professional hitman (Ned Beatty).
Scorsese's expressionist, hallucinatory rendition of an infernal New York puts us in the head of Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro),"God's lonely man", an insomniac who crisscrosses the city at night and dreams of claiming something better for himself.
The Late Show
Ira (Carney) comes out of retirement when his old partner Harry bleeds to death on his doorstep. What had he been working on? The case of a missing cat... Lily Tomlin, Harry's kooky client, joins forces to unearth the truth - and get her cat back.
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
Ben Gazzara is Cosmo Vitelli, proud owner of the strip joint Crazy Horse West and in every sense a showman. His fondness for gambling lands him in trouble with the mob, but they offer him an out: all he has to do is murder the eponymous Chinaman...
More Films in This Series
Dog Day Afternoon
Based on a true story of a New York bank robbery which turned into a hostage siege (and a media spectacle), Sidney Lumet's gripping movie showcases a bravura performance from Al Pacino as the homosexual, married, unhappy, decent, confused bank robber.
The biggest hit from the 70s phase of Brian De Palma's career, Carrie takes Stephen King's horror novel about a troubled telekinetic teen and weaves it into a purely cinematic rhapsody of angst and (retali-)elation, what Pauline Kael termed "a terrifyingly lyrical thriller".
All the President's Men
This gripping account of Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's investigation into the Watergate break-in is a masterclass of cinematic craft from director Alan J Pakula (Klute; The Parallax View) and DP Gordon Willis (The Godfather).
The Parallax View
The most lucid and ingenious, the most deeply, creepily satisfying of paranoia thrillers, Alan J. Pakula's film posits an assassination corporation. Reporter Joe Frady (Warren Beatty) is on to Them, or so he believes…
A passion project for producer-star Warren Beatty, this frothy boudoir comedy of Beverly Hills manners views its hairdresser hero's bed-hopping with a certain sadness. Goldie Hawn, Julie Christie, Lee Grant and Carrie Fisher come along for the ride.