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The Outfit

The Outfit (1973)

October. 19,1973
| Drama Crime

A two-bit criminal takes on the Mafia to avenge his brother's death. Earl Macklin is a small time criminal who is released from prison after an unsuccessful bank robbery only to discover that a pair of gunmen killed his brother.


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betty dalton

This is true heroic gentleman gangster stuff. An eye for an eye. You mess with them, they will mess with you, no matter who you are. It has great guts and glory. Although I am certainly not a fan of supporting violence in movies, Robert Duvall and Joe Don Baker play gentleman gangsters, which make the portrayed violence look almost heroic. They only kill when they have to. And so they do in this story where Robert Duvall's brother got killed by a mob boss. The revenge for his brother's death is what this movie is all about. Honor his brother by killing the crime gang responsible.Has Tarantino influences written all over it and he enjoyed it alot being a kid, so he sayed. Especially one scene reminded me of "Pulp Fiction". At Imdb "The Outfit" is listed as one of 10 forgotten classics of the seventies. If one looks at what others who saw this flick liked too, then you are in for a real treat:"Charley Varrick" is mentioned, which is another Tarantino favorite. "Prime Cut" and "Point Blank" are mentioned too. These are all true macho crime classics, wherein men are real MEN. Either this gun stomping flick has got everything in it others have copied since, or it is a copycat itself. Anyhow, lots of scenes do bring to mind so many other crime classics made since then...Acting, Story and Supense are just Excellent ! This is how crime flicks aught to be made. Robert Duvall and Joe Don Baker carry this movie with bravoure and machismo. They are true modern cowboys. Their way of life is the way of the GUN. Their guns are sacred: "Dont ever touch my gun.." screams Robert Duvall to his girlfriend, the ONLY time in the movie he raises his voice. Mr. Cool himself.At a trivia end note: Sound quality is pretty horrific. But so was sound in almost all early seventies movies. Bass sound basically just didnt excist back then. Unless you can see a remastered pumped up blu ray version with enhanced sound and picture quality, you will have to settle with rather meager quality of picture and sound. That reminds me of the following: once "The Godfather" was restored, director Francis Ford Coppola was astounded by the gorgeous sound and picture quality, it was better then he could have ever imagined.The original Godfather was really in terrible shape technically speaking. But all of this is just a long introduction to explain the only fault with "The Outfit": it's picture and sound quality. Maybe you wont even notice it, if you dont care about that. It is rather superficial and doesnt really matter though, because the core of this movie is rock solid.


Don't start with a crime syndicate which controls the bank you have robbed. This is the theme of this film.Robert Duvall gets out of jail and his brother, his accomplice, who participated in this robbery which would be his last job, is shot to death by the syndicate.The film is devoted to Duvall's revenge along with his pal Joe Don Baker.Karen Black shines as Duvall's girlfriend, longing to go home, only to take a fatal bullet while sitting in back of the car.Robert Ryan, the head of the syndicate, is given relatively little to do here. His usual sinister persona is not made use here.The ending is contrived.


I'm not used to seeing Robert Duvall playing lead as bad-ass gangster, but there it is. He (unsurprisingly) does a fine job of molding his character into a tough, mostly upbeat-in-spite-of-bad-circumstances, guy. Mostly, because when he goes slapping his girl around, things get awkward really fast. Back then in the early seventies, it must have been explained away as an action to "settle the chick down" but leading roles wouldn't get away with that nowadays. The 'chick', by the way, is none other than the fantastic Karen Black. The other big supporting role is played terrifically by Joe Don Baker, playing an unusually nice guy (still a gangster, though) compared to what I'm used to.The film is pretty fast-paced and straightforward, with a plot that is built on blind vengeance and acquiring big money fast from a big organization which killed the leading man's brother. There are hardly any big surprises plot-wise, but it stays more than interesting enough, and the finale ís surprisingly happy, almost like a caper. Good enough for me, though.A good 8 out of 10.


I feel I got tricked into watching this movie, first by a Roger Ebert review, then by TCM last night with its "guest programmer," a crime writer who was enthusiastic about the film, although he didn't give any reasons for his enthusiasm. Ebert led me to expect more than the average crime and action flick, with fuller characters, with even some of the minor characters given flesh and blood. I watched for just over an hour before giving up, because I didn't see any of it.We're told that it was originally planned as a film noir, set in the 1940s, but that the decision was made later to give the story a contemporary setting. What a shame. The 70s add nothing to the film. It was desperately short of the noir romance of sinister, darkened streets, long shadows, cool old cars, rainy roads. Some of the blame has to go to the director and cinematographer for turning out a film with so little for the eye. I think of a scene in which a car drives up a country road, turns into a yard, two men get out and stroll across the yard. Totally bland. Nothing of interest to watch. Most of it belonged on the editing room floor. The scene takes place in an auto shop. Surely the frame could have had something of interest to watch while all that non-action takes place, with the camera set up behind an engine hanging from a block and tackle or with a rat creeping across the screen. Something. Anything. There's even a couple of minutes in which the mechanic talks lovingly about his souped-up Volkswagen, yet the shot really only shows the front window of the car. Couldn't we be shown a frumpy-looking VW but a massive engine in it? Nope, just a front window. Weird.The music is wretched--some sort of bare, plinkety noise, maybe a bit of sitar in it, utterly annoying and distracting. When I think of the fabulous sound behind The Maltese Falcon, I want to cry at how feeble the musical effort was in this film.The Outfit is not amateurish, it's not implausible, it's not stupid, but it sure is mediocre—and dull.