Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Deadfall - review

I wrote here a while ago about Desmond Cory’s obscure but intriguing book Bennett, and I’ve now watched a film based on one of his other novels. This is Deadfall, directed in the Swinging Sixties by Bryan Forbes, and starring Michael Caine.

Caine is a jaded jewel thief who is persuaded by an attractive Spanish woman called Fe Moreau (played by Giovanna Ralli) to undertake another heist. He becomes involved with Fe, and her rather unpleasant husband Richard (Eric Portman, who sadly died in 1969, just a year after the film was made). The robbery that he and Richard undertake is brilliantly interwoven by scenes at a concert attended by the people they are stealing from.

My enjoyment of those scenes was enhanced by the fact that the concert featured John Barry, who composed “Romance for Guitar and Orchestra” for that part of the movie - the concert performance is integrated into the script, and takes place while a robbery is underway. The soundtrack really has stood the test of time, and even though “My Love Has Two Faces”, the song over the main titles, sung by Shirley Bassey, doesn’t quite compare with Barry’s best songs for the Bond franchise, it’s still pretty good. Another bonus was an all too brief appearance by Leonard Rossiter, one of my favourite comic actors, but in a straight role here.

I felt that the later stages of the film were not as gripping as the first half, but overall it’s a good and original story; I suspect this is true of much of Cory’s work, though I don’t know whether the movie was faithful to his book. Cory lived in Spain for a number of years, and the Spanish scenes in the movie add to its glamorous quality. I gather he wasn't totally bowled over by the film version of the book, but all in all, it is well worth a look – not least for that marvellous music as well as Caine’s typically assured performance.


Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - Yes, I can see how the music itself would be enough of a draw. Glad you enjoyed the film overall.

seana said...

Thanks, I'll add this to my Netflix list and see what I think.

John said...

I saw this last month. Intriguing caper film. Loved how the theft went terribly wrong. Caine was fabulous. The DVD I rented had a special interview with Barry which was fascinating. He talked about how film composing was so very different from regular composing. All the timing involved to match the editing of the action sequences. Barry played the conductor in the symphony scenes in the movie. Did you know that?

Martin Edwards said...

Margot, Seana, as always thanks for your responses.
John - I'm envious. My DVD does not have the Barry interview and Barry material is mysteriously rare. I did recognise him in the film, though of course it's not a speaking part. The Yorkshire accent may not have fitted the Spanish setting!

seana graham said...

Just a note to say that I finally watched this movie the other night and I was very taken with it, and, as you say, especially the musical aspect. I actually wasn't sure where I had gotten the original impulse to watch this film, but realized it might be here, so thank you. Well worth seeing.

Martin Edwards said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Seana