Sunday, September 12, 2010

'Medusa' is a twisted crime drama
full of quirky characters

Medusa (1973)
Starring: George Hamilton, Luciana Paluzzi, Cameron Mitchell, Theodor Rambow, and Takis Kavouras
Direector: Gordon Hessler
Rating: Six of Ten Stars

Jeffrey (Hamilton) is a drunken playboy living in Greece and whooping it up like the quintessential Ugly American. However, when word gets out that a last minute change to their father's will might leave Jeffrey and Sarah penniless, Jeffrey's life takes a turn for the serious, as a local mobbed-up casino owner (Mitchell) starts squeezing him to settle his $170K+ debts, and a mysterious strangler starts following him around, killing everyone connected with the rumored will. Is this masked killer real, or simply a figment Jeffrey's cracked mind?

"Medusa" is an offbeat crime drama that, despite an excess of padding in the form of Greeks singing, dancing, throwing plates, and otherwise behaving as though they're in an "Official Production of the Greek Travel and Tourism Department," is a fun and entertaining ride. Its populated by quirky characters, many of whom have an almost classic film-noir sense about them, such as the omni-present, nameless homicide detective (Kavouras) and Mitchell's health-nut gangster. In fact, I think Mitchell may well give the best performance of his career in this film.

Hamilton also gives the best performance I think I've ever seen from him--and while that may sound like I'm damning with faint praise, I'm not. I've always seen him as a comedic actor, and while he certainly plays a goofball here, he plays a dangerous, crazy goofball... and the menace oozes from his glittering smile when the scene calls for it.

In fact, this film was good enough that I almost feel inclined to forgive Gordon Hessler for the awful piece of crap that was "Scream and Scream Again".

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you that I think it is definately Hamiltons best performance. Quite liked the movie.