Saturday Cinema – The Stuntman, 1979 – A man on the run sees a stuntman’s death during an impromptu shoot. The director covers it up, but what will be the new stuntman’s fate?
Peter O’Toole died this week.
O’Toole was in any number of classics and stinkers. But his presence was enough to add star power to any scene he was in. Why? His height. His sing-song voice and punctuated, clipped diction. His good looks. His ability turn all that off or crank up to excess and play a parody version of himself. I never met the man and am not sure that I’d like him as drinkers are a difficult bunch but his acting was riveting.
If you don’t know the Stuntman, stop reading this and locate a copy.
If anyone could also tell me why Richard Rush never directed after this, I’d also be very grateful.
Steve Railsback is a man on the run who stumbles onto a film scene being shot on a bridge. The result is an accident where the stunt driver dies. The director decides to cover up the accident and continue shooting his World War 1 love story using the escaped felon as a replacement stuntman.
I’ll come out and say it, I never liked Lawrence of Arabia. It’s well-shot, edited and would great to watch with the sound off if I didn’t like Jarre’s score so much. It’s just that Lawrence of Arabia is so full of people doing not-obvious things for cloudy reasons. Perhaps because of this, O’Toole was perfect casting because his charisma would wallpaper over the what is in my opinion, script weaknesses. In Stuntman, O’Toole’s demonic motivations are open to question by the man on the run. Does the director need the new stunt man to survive the film shoot? This too is unclear but we’re given a definitive answer by the end.
Anyway, this film is part thriller, funny, romance and has the best jump cut in the world after 2001’s bone throw/space ship. This film made a heck of an impression on my adolescent mind and I remember being blown away by it. Every few minutes, the film seemed to change into a completely different kind of story.
This film took a long time to come out on DVD and it included a documentary called the Sinister Saga of the Making of the Stuntman where the director details studio interference when shooting and then trying to distribute the film. However, Rush fails to name names so the documentary is kind of a frustrating watch. Rush must have pissed off people with money because he never was near a camera again.