Now I know this might seem like a shameless way to get other people to find loads of 1970s crime…
Fear Is The Key
In the right hands, fear is the deadliest weapon of all.
After his family are killed in a plane crash, a man plots an elaborate revenge scheme on those responsible. He sets himself up as a criminal in order to get close to a tycoon who has been approached by the culprits to help them retrieve the cargo of the lost plane.
This switches gears so frequently and flips so many switches it might as well be a serial. A total narrative chain reaction, like a story was fissile material.
Ben Kingsley had hair?!
I had high hopes for this one - Alastair MacLean's books have provided some solid stories for fun, twist-based action, but Fear is the Key never feels remotely plausible, investing too much in Talbot's ridiculously convoluted revenge plan.
The action slides all over the place, including a senses-deadening early car chase that goes on forever without being exciting at any point (and indeed seems like a handfisted attempt to cash in on Vanishing Point), while Newman just seems miles out of his depth.
When I was a teen there was a big fad in UK cinema for Alistair Maclean movies, which by and large were epic adventures in the vein of *The Guns of Navarone*. I'd stopped going to see them by the time this outing came along. It's far lower-key, more neonoirish in style (although with some Bondish elements). I talk about it more at noirencyclopedia.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/fear-is-the-key-1972/
Growing up in the '80s, one of my abiding memories is of the shelves of video rental shops groaning under the weight of underwhelming Alastair MacLean films. Sure, this was the guy who wrote Guns of Navarone and Where Eagles Dare - stone cold classics both - but the rest of his adaptations were shoddily put together or just plain dull. Little did I realise that amongst that tat was an undiscovered gem: Fear is the Key.
Full Review here:
Barry Newman is a badass, he proved it in Vanishing Point and he proves it again in this film. This is a superb action flick with some great car chases that make Dukes Of Hazard look like a kids show (oh wait, it is). This also marks Ben Kingsley's film debut.
The first 30 minutes of this film are pretty good, the rest not so much. Includes some damn fine stunt driving.
Makes a good double-bill with the Vanishing Point. This one also has a some good car chasing and Barry Newman behind the wheel.
Just a list of films I remember watching back in the 80's when I was a kid, that make me…