Directed by John Frankenheimer
USA 1986


  Harry Mitchell, an L.A. manufacturer with a fancy car, a nice house, and a wife running for city council, has his life overturned when three hooded blackmailers appear with a video tape of Harry and his young mistress. He's been set up, and they want $100,000. To protect his wife's political ambitions, Harry won't go to the police; instead, he shines them on and then doesn't pay. They up their demands, so he goes on the offensive, tracking them down and trying to turn one against the other. Their sociopathic leader, Alan, responds with violence toward the mistress and menace toward Harry's wife. Will Harry let up and pay off Alan or can he find some other solution?


This is the one Elmore Leonard fans were waiting for, the one that lost least on the swings and roundabouts of translation to the screen. It has, damagingly, exchanged the precise economic placing of Detroit for impersonal LA, fiddled a bit with the plot, but courageously sticks by the unheroic tone of the book. Married Harry's passing fling with a young 'model' places him in the hands of a trio of extortionists. They show him the evidence on video, and when he refuses to pay up, execute his mistress with his gun, and play him the subsequent snuff movie. Harry's survival depends upon his ability to play the unstable trio off against each other. Excellent performances. Best of all is the casting of Williams as Bobby Shy - as shamblingly conspicuous as the brother from another planet, golliwog hair and a too-tight raincoat that clings like a hobo's fart, this is a guy who wants a good leaving alone.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE


Theatrical Release: November 7th, 1986

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DVD Review: MGM - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution MGM Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:50:08 
Video 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.22 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) DUBs: Spanish - mono, French - mono 
Subtitles English, Spanish, None

Release Information:
Studio: MGM Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• none 

DVD Release Date: June 12th, 2007

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Chapters: 24




The film, far from being Frankenheimer's best, does have the director's deft markings. Seeing Scheider and Ann-Margret seemed quite worth it.

MGM gives us an anamorphic, progressive, dual-layered transfer that seems to just pass the test, if still a far distance from the honor roll. The image quality is thin but fairly clean - colors are a bit dull but detail is not bad.  Overall it is quite watchable. The original stereo audio was clear if unremarkable and there are optional English or Spanish subtitles.

Bare bones in the extras department and not even a trailer, but it is possible that the film doesn't really support any. To be fair it was mildly entertaining and I think the DVD is priced about right. 

Gary W. Tooze



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Distribution MGM Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC


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