THIRD POST: March 6, 2012- MERCURY NEWS SERVICE EXCLUSIVE “TOP TEN OF EVERYTHING IMAGINABLE” NOW THE DELIGHT OF ALL OUR READERS.
TOP TEN MOST UNDERRATED MOVIES IN HISTORY: Actaeon Sledge, assistant archivist and statistician reporting. (New York, March 6, 2012). This list is not meant to be interpreted from the standpoint of numerical quality, id est, the number one does not mean that the subject is, in fact, the top of the list. Instead, the list should be viewed as a method of organization with no real intent to one-up or superiorize the lower numbers.
NUMBER ONE: “THE SILENT PARTNER”. A must-see for all thriller-lovers. This movie was made in 1978 by Daryl Dukes from a novel, “Think of a Number”, written by Anders Bodelson. The plot is quite delicious: A bland, dweebish bank teller in Toronto detects a robbery, turns on the alarm and steals the money which was, ostensibly, intended for the thief’s satchel. The thief, played slickly, menacingly and shrewdly, by the wonderful Christoper Plummer, is aware that his rightful reward was now in the hands of that wormy little bank clerk, and so, the rest of the movie evolves into an exercise in terror as the thief tries to regain his funds.
The Silent Partner is rarely mentioned by cineastes as an exemplar of the thriller genre to the detriment of their credibility. This movie stands shoulder to shoulder with, Klute, Play Misty for Me, Silence of the Lambs or Psycho. The show-stealer is certainly not Elliott Gould’s seemingly hypothyroid-afflicted bank teller. It’s Plummer all the way with a performance so intimidating and terrifying that it must rank right there with malignant, iconic characters locked in our subconscious: Norman Bates, Francis Dollarhyde, General Tanz and even, Julian Sand’s Warlock.
One of the most exasperating aspects to reviewing a thriller is not revealing the thrills. Only a wet-blanket of a critic gives away the twists and turns, the climax and the last eructation of horror when the audience shifts uncomfortably in its seats, a sense of dread having enveloped the theatre and someone clutching your shirt, digs her fingernails into your chest as though it were a right.
Plummer doesn’t look bad in drag, his stubbly beard making him seem kinky to some. He almost looks like Peter O’Toole. Here, we see him in one of his many incarnations trying to get his money back.
The movie was no blockbuster at the box office. The production staff didn’t probably have the kind of money available to the DeLaurentiis Group for publicity and marketing. But the movie has a cult following: this critic being one of the cultists. See this movie and report to us about your impressions. Despite our disdain for the average reader’s ability to discern matters involving good taste, we will deign to review your opinions with an open mind and tolerance for the inevitable ingenuous remark. (With the late Susannah York as a love interest.)