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The Running Man
The Running Man (1963)
Movie
  • Director:
    Carol Reed
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    John Mortimer,Shelley Smith
  • Cast:
    Laurence Harvey,Lee Remick,Alan Bates
  • Time:
    1h 43min
  • Year:
    1963
Hard up and with a grudge against insurance companies, English pilot Rex Black fakes his death and meets up with his wife and the money in Malaga, Spain when things have quieted down. But when the insurance investigator turns up, Rex starts a game of cat-and-mouse.
Casts
Cast overview, first billed only:
Laurence Harvey Laurence Harvey - Rex
Lee Remick Lee Remick - Stella
Alan Bates Alan Bates - Stephen
Felix Aylmer Felix Aylmer - Parson
Eleanor Summerfield Eleanor Summerfield - Hilda Tanner
Allan Cuthbertson Allan Cuthbertson - Jenkins
Harold Goldblatt Harold Goldblatt - Tom Webster
Noel Purcell Noel Purcell - Miles Bleeker
Ramsay Ames Ramsay Ames - Madge Penderby
Fernando Rey Fernando Rey - Police Official
Juanjo Menéndez Juanjo Menéndez - Roberto (as Juan Jose Menendez)
Eddie Byrne Eddie Byrne - Sam Crewdson
Colin Gordon Colin Gordon - Solicitor
John Meillon John Meillon - Jim Jerome
Roger Delgado Roger Delgado - Spanish Doctor

The Running Man (1963)

Last movie score of William Alwyn.

As Rex crosses the land border from Spain into Gibraltar (the actual gated border is not shown) in the white Lincoln Continental, he is pursued by two Spanish Guardia Civiles on motorcycles. They are shown dodging the lowered barrier at the airstrip road crossing, and a few seconds later they peel off on the runway as his aircraft takes off ahead of them. In reality, they would not have been allowed to cross the border and enter Gibraltarian territory. Earlier, in the scene with Stella and Stephen in the Hotel Andalucia, the pair are shown after lovemaking with the bedclothes barely covering Stella's left breast while Stephen is dressing. All of this scene was cut from both the Gibraltarian version shown on the Rock and the version shown in the Army Barracks Cinemas (the Globe) throughout the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR).

The little red car Rex and Stella drive to the airfield is a 1946 MG TC "Midget".

The fifty thousand pounds sterling insurance claim would equal about one hundred forty thousand U.S. dollars at the time, or 1.15 million U.S. dollars in 2018.

The white car Rex hires in Spain is a 1962 Lincoln Continental convertible.

Opening credits: All characters and events in this film are fictitious. Any similarity to actual events or persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

nailer
nailer
Sorely underrated and dismissed at the time of its release, THE RUNNING MAN can now be seen for what it it: a highly effective thriller. Director Carol Reed was said to be shaken after being dismissed from MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY, but it really doesn't show. He conducts us deftly through a nicely conceived intrigue, with no time wasted. If a viewer can forgive a small handful of plot contrivances, this movie delivers in suspense, interesting characters, acting, and pleasing use of locations. The cast is superb: Laurence Harvey might look underfed, but his character is richly drawn he seems to have a great time. Lee Remick has never been better: a woman who sees her husband for what he really is when he assumes a new identity. And Alan Bates, an actor who radiated charm, brings a lot of substance to his part. Watch for Fernando Rey and Fortunio Bonanova (the singing teacher from CITIZEN KANE--"Impossible! Impossible!") as a bank manager. The script has a good helping of humor along with the suspense. And William Alwyn's music score enhances the film as well. It may not be THE THIRD MAN, but THE RUNNING MAN is likely to satisfy most fans of thrillers, the director and the estimable cast.
JUST DO IT
JUST DO IT
A bitter airline pilot fakes his own death and gets his wife to collect the money. They escape to sunny Europe after committing a perfect crime. But, of course, there's always the dogged investigator to make things difficult.

This movie is a good afternoon's diversion. It's bright, flashy and pacey. With John Mortimer writing and Carol Reed directing, it has a certain touch of class. It's not an A list movie by any means, but a quick look in any reference book will tell you that it's well respected. Good performances, bright locations and a decent pace make this well worth a look.
Gaudiker
Gaudiker
This movie had the misfortune of being released just around the time of JFK's assassination, where it got swallowed up in the general grief of the time. It did not do well at the box office, and one of its publicity stunts backfired when Dallas police saw personal ads in the newspaper signed by "Lee" and asking to meet up at an appointed place. The police thought it might be a Lee Harvey Oswald connection, not a Lee Remick stunt -- and spent some time chasing down this blind alley.

I caught the film while flipping channels in the middle of the night and quite enjoyed it.

Laurence Harvey plays an airline pilot/owner who loses out when a two-days' late insurance premium lets his insurance company deny his legitimate claim after he crashes his plane in the sea, narrowly escaping with his life. An honest guy with a love of risk-taking and a mutually reciprocated passion for his beautiful wife, Lee Remick, he decides to get back at the insurance company by faking his own death, with his wife's reluctant collusion. She hopes that this will get his anger out of his system and give them enough money to live comfortably, which seems to be why she goes along with the scheme. But at heart she just wants a quiet, comfortable life, an "ordinary life", she tells him. He, however, takes to life at the edges quite wonderfully, and pretty soon he's all about living the high life and risking their freedom with additional swindling schemes.

Alan Bates plays the insurance investigator who comes round to the wife asking questions after her husband's "death". He has a whole Columbo thing going on, asking questions in an affable, bumbling way that always seems to indicate he knows more than he is letting on. He turns up again in Malaga, Spain, where the couple has gone with the insurance money to start their new life. Again, he's got the questions that could be innocent or could be a dogged inspector following his prey.

Harvey decides that the best way to keep an eye on Bates is to invite him along to enjoy the Malaga sun and surf with the two of them. The three of them hang out together, swimming and eating and drinking and enjoying what Bates says is his vacation time and Harvey claims is a working vacation. Remick is supposed to be the new widow, technically single, who gravitates to the orbit of the Australian rich guy that Harvey is impersonating.

At the movie's emotional core is, yes, a love triangle, as Lee Remick grows disenchanted with her husband's attraction to the James Bond lifestyle while discovering that Alan Bates likes museums and quiet walks, like she does, and seems to like her.

So it's cat and mouse between the two guys on two levels -- over the insurance money and over the woman. The Malaga locations are glorious and reminded me of the villages in Romancing the Stone where Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas run across weddings, dancing, and general romantic danger.

The movie doesn't take itself seriously, and the characters are conflicted in a way that you don't know what to hope for and what the final moral and romantic resolutions will be. Will the husband redeem himself? Will the wife stay true to him or fall in with the man who is on his tail? Harvey is not irredeemable and we do feel sympathy for him, and see that he is more oblivious to his wife's unhappiness than deliberately mean. He treats her as an extension of himself and just doesn't recognize that she has no interest in playing Bonnie to his Clyde.

Good flick. Not great, but good.
Valawye
Valawye
For those who resent paying their insurance premiums--and who amongst us doesn't--there is Carol Reed's The Running Man, not to be confused with the Arnold Schwarzinator film of the same name. The always dapper but much too thin Laurence Harvey stars as Rex Black, a professional pilot whose insurance claim is turned down by frosty Allan Cuthbertson due to coverage that expired two days prior to an accident. Enraged, Harvey and wife (played by an icily beautiful Lee Remick) launch a scheme to bilk the insurance company of a very large sum of money. Unfortunately, claims adjustor Alan Bates is on the job to complicate matters for the felonious couple. John Mortimer's screenplay is a bit flat and frankly unbelievable at times, but the superb cast more than makes up for it. The film, shot in colour and on location in Spain, looks gorgeous, but Encore is airing a pan-and-scan print that severely compromises the original Panavision framing. At least this print retains a widescreen credits sequence, which features some superb work by Bond main man Maurice Binder.
Tolrajas
Tolrajas
excellent thriller about man and wife who plan a scam to swindle the insurance company for a large amount of money after being turned down after a legitimate claim was turn down earlier and the deception begins and they go on the run in Spain where life's fine until the insurance man turns up in the same places, thats where the fun and tension begins.there's great camera work & direction by carol reed and a edgy script by john Mortimer,lots of colour and location works very well as does the three actors,Harvey is at his reptilian and charming best with Remick quite stunning as the not so wife and bates as the dogged insurance man.a delightful diverting film for a Sunday afternoon.
Granirad
Granirad
THE RUNNING MAN is a light and breezy thriller with a Spanish setting for the most part. The premise is good - another spin on the old 'insurance scam' plot - but unfortunately it devolves into a love triangle for the most part and dawdles along for much of the running time. Laurence Harvey is always good value as the man who fakes his own death in order to get one over a company he believes betrayed him, and Lee Remick does her best as his wife; Alan Bates is also good value as the dogged investigator. But the script is hardly zingy, and once the action shifts to Spain things slow down to siesta-speed. It's a bit beneath the usual fare put out by director Carol Reed.
Morad
Morad
A decent enough thriller but one that really needed a Hitchcock or at least a director who knew how to mould the somewhat far-fetched material into something more plausible than this. Instead we get Carol Reed on something of an off-day and he seems more content to let the material carry itself rather than actually do something with it.

Laurence Harvey is seriously miscast as the serial insurance fraudster pursued to Spain by Alan Bates' insurance investigator while Lee Remick does what she can with the rather thankless part of Harvey's wife. Bates is very good and just about carries the picture while the cat-and-mouse scenario is often exciting and Robert Krasker's widescreen cinematography, (it was shot mostly in the South of Spain), is certainly attractive. It's the kind of film you might expect from someone like Michael Anderson or a host of other serviceable directors slumming it in some exotic locale but from Reed you really do expect more.
Matty
Matty
"The Ballad of the Running Man" (also called "The Running Man") is a frustrating film. It starts off very well and about midway through, it all seems to fall to pieces. It's a real shame, as the movie hooked me and then just left me hanging.

The film begins with a funeral. Rex has apparently died--leaving a young widow, Stella (Lee Remmick). However, a bit later you learn that Rex (Laurence Harvey) is NOT dead but has been faking it. Why? Because he felt the insurance company had cheated him when he'd been in an accident. In a way, you feel a bit sorry for the couple.

Rex disappears to Spain and has created a whole new identity as a blond Aussie. Stella soon joins him--but they cannot act like husband and wife because they don't want to arouse suspicions. During this time, you see a significant change in Rex. He's really enjoying the high-life and seems ready to perhaps commit insurance fraud again--whereas Stella just wants to settle down some place and live a quiet life. He's a great portrait of a sociopath, that's for sure.

All this is quite interesting. However, what happens next is pretty limp. The same insurance man who paid off on Rex's supposed death just happens to be in Spain and meets up with the grieving widow and her new friend, the Aussie (Rex). It's pretty obvious that he's caught them and yet absolutely nothing happens for the next 30 or so minutes. The three go to dinner, have drinks, go to the beach and a lot of other mundane things. Then, completely out of the blue, Stella sleeps with the insurance man--and you are left very confused wondering as to why she did that. In fact, not understanding folks' motivations becomes a big problem with the film. Because of this, it made me feel like I'd wasted my time watching. It really looks like they'd only written half the script and just decided to wing it in the middle.
Cia
Cia
Good drama with a bit of mystery thrown in. It's hard to say what's more beautiful in this movie the locations, which are breathtaking or Lee Remick and Alan Bates both at the peak of their individual attractiveness who are equally stunning. They offer the best performances doing an uncertain dance around each other never sure of the other's motives. Laurence Harvey is his usual squirrelly pompous self but that fits the role. Well known to be an abrasive, selfish, uncooperative and egotistical jerk behind the scenes Harvey apparently was incredibly difficult on this shoot to the point where Lee Remick refused to discuss the problems but was quoted as saying "The tales I can tell of working with him are too horrendous to repeat." Not a classic Reed film but he guides the film well although apparently his confidence had been shaken by exiting another troubled production, the Marlon Brando Mutiny on the Bounty, just prior to this.
Scoreboard Bleeding
Scoreboard Bleeding
Interesting plot, but the movie is marred by an over-stretched middle. Airplane pilot Rex (Harvey) is outraged by insurance company refusal to payoff his accident even though their refusal is his own fault. So he contrives his death for an even bigger payoff, and then absconds to southern Spain with the money and wife Stella (Remick). Unfortunately, insurance man Stephen (Bates) suddenly shows up at their Spanish hotel, claiming he's quit the insurance business and has a new job. However, is he telling the truth or is he actually investigating Rex's scam while undercover.

Finding out Stephen's true status creates considerable interest. He acts so ingenuous that it's hard to think he's hiding anything. But then, can it be just coincidence that he turns up so soon in the same place as the insurance scammers. Then too, the big payoff money has changed Rex's personality for the worse, and now Stella's losing affection for him. Besides, Stephen's so nice, she's beginning to feel an attraction. But shouldn't she be careful since his winning personality may simply be the false front of a clever insurance investigator. Things do get complicated, but the central question remains— is Stephen really the nice ex-insurance guy he appears to be.

Now, I think the movie handles this device quite effectively down to the rather ambiguous ending. To me, the balance of evidence indicates Stephen is in fact who he says he is. But since the movie leaves that central question with no definitive resolution, it's still possible to take him as an undercover investigator the whole time. Thus, the movie leaves you with a few points to ponder.

My one complaint is with the drawn-out cat and mouse between Rex and Stephen as Rex tries to determine who Stephen really is. It goes on too long and is too talky and static. That middle part badly needs tightening up. Probably, the producers wanted to get their money's worth out of the Gibraltar location and all the local color, like the bullring. Then too, Harvey was just a couple of years past his Oscar drawing power for Room at the Top (1959). So his part is likely padded. One thing for sure, he's very good at being dislikable; at the same time Remick is very good at being sweetly myopic.

All in all, it's a good movie that holds interest, plus leaving a few points to consider afterward, even if director Carol Reed is not up to top form.
Iell
Iell
A nosy British insurance investigator dogs a recently-widowed woman and her "boyfriend" in Spain; the couple is on the run after bilking the insurance company out of a fortune and don't know for certain whether their newly-acquired friend is onto them or not. Carol Reed-directed drama needed more paranoia-excitement or suspense. As it is, the three leads (Alan Bates, Lee Remick, and Laurence Harvey--looking impossibly skinny) are perpetually stuck in a fog, playing a tepid game of cat-and-mouse that seems fraught with errors (by the characters and the screenwriter). From Shelley Smith's book "The Ballad of the Running Man", and not helped by Reed's lack of grip on the narrative (he seems much more interested in the local Spanish flavor). ** from ****
Thomeena
Thomeena
I was really enjoying this at first. The first fifteen or twenty minutes seemed a good set-up for a premise that sounds exciting and suspenseful. Then suddenly Laurence Harvey is walking around with dyed blonde hair and a terrible Aussie accent and the film derails itself from there. Literally nothing happens for over half an hour. Just characters going to dinner with each other and talking a lot about nothing. Carol Reed was a great director who has done much better but his attempts at building suspense between the insurance agent and the couple fell flat, in my opinion. I've seen a few reviews that referred to this as a "great cat and mouse thriller." Personally I think this is very misleading as it implies this is a movie full of action and intrigue when there's very little of either.

The actors are fine, for the most part. Harvey's fake Australian accent is terrible and he tends to overact more than under. Alan Bates is good for a rather dull part. Lee Remick is beautiful and does OK with the material but her character makes choices we have to make guesses as to the reasoning behind and that sort of thing always bugs me. Anyway, check it out if you come across it. Your opinion might be more favorable than mine. It's not a bad film, just not a particularly good one.
Vut
Vut
Had "The Running Man" not been a Carol Reed film, I might have enjoyed it more. One has a certain expectation that goes with a name. Here, however, the result is disappointing.

Lee Remick plays Stella Black, a widow who isn't one. Her husband Rex (Laurence Harvey), angry that his insurance company didn't pay a claim for 20,000 pounds, decides to get back at them by playing dead. As his widow, Stella is due to collect a good deal of money. The couple makes a plan to meet in Spain after she gets the settlement.

When Stella arrives, Rex is now blond and an Australian named Jim Jerome, and he's totally into the subterfuge. Stella feels somehow unable to connect with him. Then she's spotted by the insurance agent (Alan Bates) who questioned her after Rex's "death." Both she and Rex are convinced that he's after them - he writes in a little book, seems suspicious of Rex, and asks a lot of questions. Then Stella realizes that Rex is also planning on killing off Jim Jerome - and she panics.

The scenery in the film is stunning, and the acting by this fine cast is very good, though the only truly strong role belonged to Laurence Harvey. I don't agree with one of the other comments - I didn't find him particularly likable. The Bates character is much more likable. Rex doesn't have much regard for what Stella wants or needs.

As far as any plot twist, some of this film was fairly predictable.

All in all, for this writer, the film seemed remote and didn't draw me in.
Vutaur
Vutaur
The film is as dull as Alan Bates's character.

I was expecting an exciting thriller based on Maurice Binder's excellent opening title sequence of a man seemingly constantly on the run. It starts off well enough but then gets swallowed up in black hole of nothingness when the 'action' moves to Spain. Laurence Harvey's fake orange hair and moustache and even faker Australian accent are frankly risible and at this point the film starts to lose all credibility. Alan Bates suddenly arrives on the scene and for the next hour we are subjected to the most boring and turgid love triangle full of ridiculous and improbable scenarios. It seems they didn't know how to end the film until we get Harvey ludicrously managing to evade capture by the police by driving like a maniac around Gibraltar until thankfully he kills himself in a plane crash and puts us all out of our misery.

There is not a shadow of a doubt in a mind if this wasn't a Carol Reed film it would not be rated so highly in some quarters. Incidentally, I understand it flopped at the box office which comes as no surprise.
Keel
Keel
Although not a top rated film, 'The Running Man' is far more entertaining than many reviewers have indicated. The plot is perfectly acceptable and the characters believable. Yes - Rex Black is egotistic and bumptious; his Australian accent when he takes on the alias of Jim Jerome, whose passport he pockets, is unrealistic, but he is not playing a trained actor coached in different accents, he is supposed to be just a bloke who is putting on what he thinks is an Australian accent. One or two reviewers obviously lost the plot halfway through. Although Rex (or Jim) is under the impression that Alan Bates' character, Stephen Maddox, is investigating his wife and the insurance claim, Lee Remick, as Stella, discovers that Maddox is no longer with the insurance firm, but never imparts this information to her husband, even on his deathbed. The location filming and scenery are great, and the whole film is enjoyable.. It may not be Carol Reed's finest, but for the average film fan it is still worth seeing.
Watikalate
Watikalate
Coming up to 1,500 reviews,I began looking for lesser-known films by directors who I'm a fan of. Finding The Third Man and Odd Man Out to be magnificent Film Noir's,I was excited to learn that director Carol Reed had actually made a third "Man in hiding" title, which led to me putting my running shoes on.

The plot:

Faking his death,Rex Black arranges with his wife Stella to run an insurance scam. Sneaking home after he starts to get the plan rolling, Rex finds insurance agent Stephen Maddux presses Stella on what happened to her husband. Fearing they may get caught, Rex gets Stella to agree to take a "holiday" to Spain,so the cash can be sorted out there. Arriving, Stella and Rex (under an alias and fake Aussie accent) get set to celebrate, but discover an unexpected holiday guest has joined them.

View on the film:

Sailing to the film after experiencing his own mutiny on Mutiny on the Bounty, director Carol Reed (who got $200,000 for leaving the Bounty) steps out of the Film Noir shadows with cinematographer Robert Krasker for an elegant sunset Thriller. Filmed on location, Reed and Krasker give the Black's holiday a dusty/sand appearance,which slowly grates into the movie an atmosphere of sinister mind-games behind the warm holiday snaps brightness. Touring the side streets and towns with the trio, Reed stylishly use the cramped streets and the locals going about their daily lives to frame Rex and Maddux narrowly looking over each others shoulders.

Giving a Noir mood via opening with an extended flashback, John Mortimer (who wrote Buddy Lake is Missing) gives this Shelley Smith adaptation an extremely strong Patricia Highsmith flavour, (minus her homoerotic overtones!) Slithering round each other like vipers, Mortimer centres this running man on the deep mistrust between Rex and Maddux, where the smiles of the pretty boys barely hides their desire to stamp the other out, and always keeping their guard up. Whilst the ending has an ill-fitting light atmosphere, Mortimer builds up the cracks in the Black's marriage from Rex's rogue charms, and sharply changes Stella's perspective of "holiday guest" Maddux.

Catching the eye of every man when sunbathing on her holiday, Lee Remick gives a great performance as Stella. Partners in crime with Rex, Remick makes Stella standout as the only woman in the trio with a subtle softening,from being on edge at the mere sight of Maddux, to showing warmth to both of them. Entering as the outsider, Alan Bates relishes in making every glance or twitch of Maddux suggest that he might be about to stop the Black's in their tracks. Playing games to keep everyone off his tracks, Laurence Harvey gives a fantastic performance as Rex, thanks to Harvey making Rex's poor attempts to hold a fake Aussie accent separate the charismatic cad, with the murky, calculating running man.
Skunk Black
Skunk Black
This movie surprised me. It started out as one type of movie and ended up as another - it was a pleasant enough surprise though.

Laurence Harvey plays charter pilot Rex Black who fakes his death allowing his wife, Stella, to claim the insurance. Although Harvey was not particularly loved by many of his peers, he made some great movies. I always liked him and his Rex Black is cocky and edgy.

Lee Remick plays Stella. Time spent watching Lee Remick on the screen is never wasted. She was an actress whose abilities were sometimes under-appreciated because she was so beautiful. She is as disarming here as she was in everything she did.

Alan Bates plays Stephen Maddux, an insurance agent who investigates Rex's death and later fancies Stella when they cross paths in Spain - he thinks she is a widow, and Rex assumes another identity. Bates plays it low key while Harvey's character becomes darker and more aggressive as he attempts further scams, and is prepared to do anything to stop his plans unravelling.

Sadly all three actors went far too early - cancer in each case.

Directed by Carol Reed, the film has an unusual energy. It starts out as a light caper film, but by the half way mark we realise that the game has become more dangerous. The ending has a similar touch to the one that made "The Third Man" so memorable.

The film was made in 1963, and although it benefits from great locations in Spain, it actually feels a little like British films of the 40's and 50's.

The score by William Allwyn has a lot to do with that. For a long while British film music had a distinctive sound with some brilliant scores. It had a different timbre to the typical Hollywood score. You could tell a film was British as soon as the main title music started, but by the late 50's, composers like John Barry and John Addison brought a fresh sound that was far more international. However the score for "The Running Man" was a throwback - it was Allwyn's last score - maybe Reed had asked for him - but it could almost be a score for a film in 1948.

Although "The Running Man" does not represent the best work of those involved it is more than watchable and has a couple of twists worthy of Hitchcock.
Deeroman
Deeroman
Watchable but somehow unmemorable suspense thriller from a major British director. The plot, cleverly written by John Mortimer, has some quite subtle twists and turns; the acting good. Laurence Harvey as a dislikeable insurance fraudster, Lee Merick is particularly fetchi9ng as his increasingly uncertain wife, Alan Bates gives his usual sensitive performance as investigator who might be on to them, all convince. But Carol Reed (director of such classics as The third Man, Odd Man Out, Oliver) never manages to give it quite enough urgency or edge. It all comes across as something of a pot-boiler in his career. The scenery in Spain and Gibraltar is atmospheric, but it's one of those films that relies just a bit too heavily on pleasing sunny locations.
Whitestone
Whitestone
A rather stupid plot and uninteresting leads are not helped by pedestrian direction and an uninspired script. The supporting cast is underused, and no amount of sun, sea and Spanish bulls can turn this film into worthwhile entertainment. Laurence Harvey continues to prove that acting is not a skill he acquired; Alan Bates is altogether too convincing as a dull insurance man who decides to better himself by going into paint; and lovely Lee Remick just looks pretty as her chances of being The Next Best Thing finally slips away from her.
Debeme
Debeme
For those who have criticized Harvey's Aussie accent, remember, he's not playing an Aussie. His character, who I think it's safe to assume has not been schooled in proper accents, is putting on an Aussie accent. He's an amateur. Therefore it makes perfect sense that the accent would be amateurish. Whether it was a conscious choice or not, realistically, the accent should be bad. I'm an actor and when I try to put on an Aussie accent it's laughable. I could make it better if I practiced. Doubtless, Rex Black (Harvey's character)had no such practice.

The movie itself is lower grade Carol Reed. The problem is you never get to know the characters. If Harvey's character had been fleshed out, maybe his decent would be somewhat moving. Remick is lovely but also a cardboard character. Bates, later a truly great actor, seems lost or playing ambiguity merely to serve the false suspense the story creates. The settings are beautiful, the music fat too bombastic.
Budar
Budar
About as bad as any British movie can ever get -- and that's saying something -- 'The Running Man' is a 1933 opus with the wrong production date attached.

Formulaic, pedestrian, and so Britishly twee, it's also notable for the screen's first display of acute anorexia (when Harvey strips off to go swimming in the sea.)

But there is a reason to go to the trouble of seeing this movie, and it's this: 'The Running Man' is a perfect illustration of why the vogue for attributing everything in a movie to the director is, was, and always will be fallacious (blame the French: they're responsible for starting it all).

Reed demonstrated his brilliance -- or so we are led to believe -- with The Third Man. Here, he demonstrates what an utter klutz he could be behind the camera.

The fact is, when you have a superb Director of Photography, brilliant script, Grade A actors and a wonderful music score (as in The Third Man) then chances are, the film will a success.

When you have none of that, and only the director to fall back on, chances are the film will be 'The Running Man'.

Another IMDb entry meriting minus 10 out of 10, but for scoring purposes, an overly generous. . . 1.
Giamah
Giamah
As this movie progresses it becomes increasingly tiresome until it becomes apparent that even those involved in the making are tired of it. Lawrence Harvey, obviously past the point of attempting to make sense of the drivel he was given to serve up, recites one line so as to make it non sensical. If the story is about anything it's about the way some people accept abuse. Lee Remick's character looks unhappy a lot and actually complains occasionally but neither she nor anything else in the story make the nature or cause of her willingness to accept such unhappiness clear. She does tell her husband, the Lawrence Harvey character, that he's changed, but nothing we see of him either in the films action or in a retrospective flashback indicates that he has. He's a sort of manic bully from start to finish. Nor do the other characters develop at all and both Lee Remick's and Alan Bates' characters' ability to forgive and forget anything up to and including attempted murder just become irritating. I don't really know why I continued watching until the end. If I hadn't all I'd have missed was a fairly ordinary car chase. Nothing happens, at least nothing that is worth mentioning. You have to wonder why these three terrific actors wanted to endanger their careers by taking on something as bad as this.
Goodman
Goodman
The problem is Laurence Harvey:not only he is rather ugly dyed in blond but he is also not really able to create a "second man.";it is like a puppet theater where you can see the string man's hands everywhere;the screenplay should insist on this second identity :thus Harvey's best scene is when he sees his reflection in the water and cannot stand it ;but anyway he is better cast as a victim ("the Manchurian candidate" " of human bondage") than when he is a cynical crook ;besides,the long flashback ,when Remick is sleeping, seems like padding

Having said that ,the movie is entertaining,Remick is as talented as usual and very good -looking;Bates gives an ambiguous mysterious performance:are we sure he works in paint?Note Bnuelian Fernando Ray in a small part of a cop.
monotronik
monotronik
In The Ballad of the Running Man director Carol Reed steps into the light and fades fast with this placid thriller that takes place in sunny Spain. Far from the dark moody confines of Belfast and post war Vienna Reed's magic touch reacts to the sun like Count Dracula.

After pilot Rex Black (Laurence Harvey) crashes his plane and then finds out his insurance policy had lapsed two days earlier he vows to get what's coming to him. With wife Stella (Lee Remick) in on it he feigns drowning and runs off to Spain to await his pay day on a newly issued policy. Before rendezvousing with Rex, Stella is interviewed by an insurance adjuster (Alan Bates) who coincidentally turns up in Spain where he crosses paths with Stella and Rex who has grown a moustache, dyed his hair tangerine and assumed another identity. Stella soon finds herself compromised, further complicating the cat and mouse game.

Reed and his magnificent camera man Robert Krasker bring only their reputations to this ho hum suspense that has none of the urgency and tempo of their classic work together. What the sun doesn't expose the flood lights do without a hint of ominous shadowing as Reed's interiors reek of set look and his exteriors travelogue.

Bates and Remick slowly build to a decent chemistry but Harvey is over the top and his attempt at an Australian accent comes across like the mother in The Glass Menagerie. The real culprit remains Reed however who also produced the picture which gave him every opportunity to showcase his formidable talent. But from the look of Running Man the accountant has replaced the artist.
Nuliax
Nuliax
One of my fave 60's movies has you hooked from the start. Harvey, Remick & Bates are excellent in the leads & the interplay between the their characters is riveting. Harvey's character is truly something else. Really enjoyed this movie & so so underrated 5 stars from me