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Hot Rock, The (1972, Robert Redford, George Segal)

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‘This American comedy,’ said the Daily Mail ‘evokes the great golden days of Ealing’. It was inventively scripted from Donald E Westlake’s novel by William Goldman, who had won an Academy Award for the script of his previous film with Robert Redford, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

This time Redford was cast as a contemporary outlaw, just out of jail after four years and engaged, with his brother-in-law George Segal, on a new and audacious scheme to purloin a priceless diamond from the Brooklyn Museum. Helped by expert getaway Ron Liebman and explosives wizard Paul Sand, the daring duo steal the gem with a little assistance from bombs, a faked car crash and a little dressing up as uniformed guards and doctors. But almost as soon as they get their hands on the loot and prepare to transfer it to an African diplomat (Moses Gunn), Redford and Segal lose it and are forced to spend the rest of the movie trying to retrieve it from the various hands into which it falls.

The mixture of farce, slapstick and fast-moving thrills comes off entertainingly under the direction of Peter Yates, who makes excellent use of well chosen New York locations and stages a memorable wild helicopter ride through the city’s concrete canyons as a thrilling prelude to the film’s climax.

‘Redford,’ wrote Variety , ‘continues to reveal a compelling screen presence… Segal’s latter day segue into comedy-drama is again proved to be a correct career move.’

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production details
USA / 101 minutes / 1972

Director: Peter Yates
Writers: William Goldman, Donald E. Westlake,

cast
Robert Redford as Dortmunder
George Segal as Kelp
Ron Leibman as Murch
Paul Sand as Greenburg
Moses Gunn as Dr. Amusa
William Redfield as Lt. Hoover
Topo Swope as Sis
Charlotte Rae as Ma Murch
Graham Jarvis as Warden
Christopher Guest as Policeman
Zero Mostel as Abe Greenberg

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Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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