Friday, March 5, 2010

'Day of the Wolves' is a great heist movie

Day of the Wolves (1973)
Starrng: Richard Egan, Jan Murray, Ric Jason, and John Lupton
Director: Ferde Grofé Jr.
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

A secretive criminal mastermind (Murray) brings together six violent bandits to rob every bank and payroll office in a small town simultaneously.

"Day of the Wolves" is the perfect example of how do to a low-budget action film or heist movie. It's got an economy of locations, a cast of competent actors working with a polished script under the guidance of a director and technical crew that understood how to get the most out of their limited budget. This is the kind of movie that makes some people nostalgic for the "grindhouse days" even while rolling their eyes at the shoddily made counterparts of today. "Day of the Wolves" may not be award-winning material, but the work of skilled artists is on display at every level in it.

(Yes, some of the beards worn by the movie's gang of armed robbers are plainly fake, but there has to be something to remind us of the film's shoestring budget in a more blatant fashion than the fact that all interior shots are probably some crew or cast member's home or office.)

If you like action movies--particularly if you if you want to see the original versions of what Quentin Tarantino copies with every movie he makes--or if you like well done heist movies, you definitely need to get your hands on a copy of "Day of the Wolves."

(I viewed it as part of the "Mean Guns" DVD collection. It's the odd man out in this collection--it takes place in Arizona, and it features a lone lawman (played by Richard Egan) facing off against heavily armed marauders while the townsfolk cower int their homes, but it's hardly a traditional western as it's set in the 1970s--but it's a movie that adds value to the set, and it's almost worth the purchase price by itself.)

1 comment:

  1. walter hill's director of photography shot this. hill should remake this. this film is a great heist flick. it also contains one of my favorite soundtracks EVER!