My quest to fill in a million and one movie gaps brings me to another Gene Hackman film. This time it’s Night Moves, last time it was Uncommon Valor. He always oozes great charisma with his acting talent, with such presence and character on the screen. Can’t help but think though that with every role, Gene Hackman is playing Gene Hackman.
In this incarnation of Gene he is a Private Investigator called Harry Moseby, a man with a slight vulnerability but also very dedicated to his new profession of detective work after retiring from professional football.
After receiving a job offer from a horny, rich older former b-movie actress Arlene Iverson (Janet Ward) to track down and bring home her estranged daughter Delilah. Harry agrees to the contract with expenses and sets off on his quest to find the girl.
Arlene Iverson – She hangs out with freaks, smokes marijuana and gets laid I guess!
Now 16 year old Delilah ‘Delly’ Grastner, played by a young Melanie Griffith (Working Girl, Mulholland Falls) in her debut role, is a very “free” liberal young girl who is a flirtatious little minx ,who loves getting naked and having some fun. Her path takes our private eye on a journey passing through film sets and stuntmen, a mechanic “freak” (James Woods) to dolphin wheeler and dealers in the Florida Keys.
Tagline – What private eye Harry Moseby doesn’t know about the girl he’s looking for… just might get him killed.
Harry is determined to solve this, his first big case, but also has the pressures of a failing relationship with his wife Ellen played by Susan Clark (Coogan’s Bluff). He gets to stay at the coast line residence of Delly’s stepfather Tom Iverson (John Crawford) and his open lady friend Paula, played by Jennifer Warren (Slap Shot). Harry and Paula hit it off with a bout of banter and quips.
Random saucy story scene – Paula informing Harry about how a sexual encounter had given her erect nipples for half an hour or so! Probably not a good first date line.
Has our P.I Harry Moseby got himself dug in way too deep over his head or can he solve the mystery with keeps opening up in front of him? Track this most excellent film down for a watch if you haven’t seen it already. An underrated well written gem in a film noir style I thought not far removed from the classics like Roman Polanski’s Chinatown.
Right from the outset the music score sets the scene and giving that delicious 70’s funky jazz groove. The soundtrack is by Michael Small and he is giving time to not only include incidental music but almost whole tracks. The opening scene is over 3 mins of funky jazz following our hero in his car. It’s superb and I don’t believe it was ever released as an LP?, check it out here.
Further Reading Links