Monday, July 18, 2011

A Frank Review of "St. Ives" (1976)

The Short Version? He's clean. He's lean. He's the go-between.
What Is It? Crime dramedy.
Who Is In It? Paul Kersey and oodles of character actors.
Should I See It? Nope.

St. Ives is a lame, lazy movie. Raymond St. Ives is a laid back guy who rarely hurries and never seems especially invested in anything. He's a former crime beat reporter who was supposed to retire to write a novel, but since he never did, he takes the occasional job as a bag man. He's supposed to be a high stakes gambler, but the movie drops that joke fairly early on, and only one obnoxious character keeps bringing up St. Ives' unfinished book. There's only one real action sequence, involving the very young Jeff Goldblum and Robert Englund as muggers. Bronson was clearly too old to do much heavy action, and in fact one wonders if he didn't pull something vital in this scene that forced him to take things easy for the rest of the production. Pretty much the whole movie is St. Ives stumbling upon fresh bodies, getting questioned by police, and then questioning other people. St. Ives knows all the hoods in town, so if anything happens, a crook is invented to provide the necessary exposition for the next scene. Since there are only a handful of returning characters, it's a simple matter to figure out into which slot everyone will fit by the final act. In terms of quality of execution, it feels like a failed TV pilot to a totally watchable yet totally missable show. Everybody is just phoning it in, but their obvious disinterest lends a certain bemusement to the proceedings. "Why am I here? How much above scale am I getting for this? What was my line, again?" The best parts are Bronson's pained deadpan delivery that'll have you trying to find a cue card in the frame somewhere, and a cast of dozens of familiar faces from period crap. If you decide to make a drinking game out of spotting them, lightweights should select Elisha Cook Jr., while the bingers should pound 'em back to Harry Guardino. Sadly, Michael Lerner and his rarely seen quasi jewfro are only in the one scene.


  • Bronson St. Ives CheeZY promotional puff piece fluffing Chuck's peen furiously.
  • Theatrical Trailer He is not mean. No one puts enough effort into this thing to qualify as mean.

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