HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Deathstalker II
Cloak and Dagger
Honeyland
Love Ban, The
Western Stars
League of Gentlemen, The
Higher Power
Shinsengumi
IT Chapter Two
Rich Kids
Arena
Glory Guys, The
Serial Killer's Guide to Life, A
Lovers and Other Strangers
Shiny Shrimps, The
Good Woman is Hard to Find, A
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Doctor at Sea
Spear
Death Cheaters
Wild Rose
Streetwalkin'
Mystify: Michael Hutchence
Devil's Playground, The
Cleanin' Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters
Hustlers
Mega Time Squad
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Souvenir, The
Birds of Passage
Ma
Woman at War
Happy as Lazzaro
Mickey's Christmas Carol
Marriage Story
Santa Claus is a Bastard
Star, The
Tom & Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale
Shadow
Christmas Carol, A
   
 
Newest Articles
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
   
 
  Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round The Long ConBuy this film here.
Year: 1966
Director: Bernard Girard
Stars: James Coburn, Camilla Sparv, Aldo Ray, Nina Wayne, Robert Webber, Rose Marie, Todd Armstrong, Marian McCargo, Michael Strong, Severn Darden, James Westerfield, Phillip Pine, Simon Scott, Ben Astar, Michael St. Angel, Larry D. Mann, Harrison Ford
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Thriller
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Eli Kotch (James Coburn) is spending time in a prison psychology group where the inmates reveal their inner feelings as a way of getting them to think about their actions more and set them on the path to rehabilitation. One prisoner is speaking about how the smell of something sweet can remind him of his abusive, alcoholic father who used to drink vanilla extract but Eli counters that he doesn't necessarily believe scents are the key to a person's inner thoughts and actions, and goes off on a story about the night he and his father realised his mother was having an affair. But then, he likes to spin a yarn, does Eli...

Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round was best recalled today for its nonsensical title - you would have to watch the movie to see where it was derived from, not that this cleared up its meaning much - but perhaps that was selling it short, because it remained the most notable film from the directing career of Bernard Girard. He has been described as largely undistinguished as an auteur, but this example of his work did betray certain aspirations as he took the heist flick and applied a measure of style and aloofness to it which not everyone was going to respond to. All that business without much of a pay-off, the naysayers may well have observed, although there was a twist in the tale.

Actually a twist right in the last seconds of the final scene, which you could view as a clever resolution to an involved caper, or a case of cold feet where the way the plot was heading was considered far too immoral for the time, so they added that dampener on Eli's ultimate achievements. For most of the film you're not even all that aware of precisely what he's up to anyway, as we follow him out of prison and into a series of aliases as he pulls the wool over a selection of characters' eyes. This ranges from pretending to return a rich woman's dog or taking young lady out for a drink posing as a Swiss and making an impression of her employer's key to actually getting married to an au pair, Inger (Camilla Sparv).

She is working for a different rich woman, and as the scenes accumulate in much the same fashion for the next hour we begin to piece together what it is Eli is up to. Given there are scenes scattered throughout with Robert Webber trying to organise a visit by a Soviet Premier to Los Angeles, we might be correct in thinking this has something to do with the overall heist, and as the narrative builds to a denouement at the airport you can sort of understand where this has been aiming. Although such an approach, with all cards played very close to the chest even as the story is wrapping up, could have been not exactly a manner of generating supense but a method of sustaining the audience's confusion.

Not so much to keep them on their toes but to stop them asking awkward questions, as once you begin to think over what you have seen you may well be pondering various implausibilities about both Eli himself and the incredibly involved plan - could many criminals be so set on grabbing that wealth for themselves when they were going to split it up to that extent? It would be easier to get a decent job, which in light of the application Eli offers to his crimes he could become a very accomplished mind in an executive position. It is at this point you twig that everything you've seen is mostly for effect, so that you could enjoy the proceedings as an exercise in gloss and superficial sheen, and appreciate Coburn's effortless charm, which to be fair went a long way. Also interesting was that Steven Speilberg looked to have watched this before making Catch Me If You Can: there were noticeable similarities (conman, era, love affair) although his effort was the better movie. Music by Stu Phillips.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2488 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: