Night Moves (1975)

“Who’s winning?” … “Nobody. One side is just losing slower than the other.” An unfairly neglected “neo-noir” thriller full of post-Watergate era angst, Night Moves stars Gene Hackman as former pro football player and disillusioned private detective “Harry Moseby,” who gets much more than he bargained for when he is hired by washed-up, overbearing actress “Arlene Iverson” (Janet Ward) to help track down her free-spirited, promiscuous daughter “Delly” (Melanie Griffith, in her credited film debut). In addition, Harry has just discovered that his wife “Ellen” (Susan Clark) is having an affair. Harry’s search for Delly takes him from Los Angeles to New Mexico and the Florida Keys. Directed by Arthur Penn (Bonnie and Clyde), Night Moves expertly emits an overwhelming sense of loneliness, despair and hopelessness among each of its trapped characters. The film’s ending is fascinating but extremely bleak. The cast includes Jennifer Warren as “Paula,” Edward Binns as “Joey Ziegler,” Harris Yulin as “Marty Heller,” John Crawford as “Tom Iverson,” Kenneth Mars as “Nick,” Anthony Costello as “Marv Ellman” and James Woods as “Quentin.” When asked if he would like to attend a screening of My Night at Maud’s (1969), Harry declines, remarking, “I saw a Rohmer film once. It was kind of like watching paint dry.”

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