Michael Ritchie – Prime Cut (1972)

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Quote:
Michael Ritchie, better known for his gentle satires of American social institutions, enters Don Siegel territory in the unusual crime thriller Prime Cut. Lee Marvin is surly collection agent Nick Devlin, who is hired by Chicago racketeer Jake (Eddie Egan) to collect an overdue payment from Kansas cattle baron Mary Ann (yes, Mary Ann!) (Gene Hackman). When Devlin travels west to get Jake’s money from Mary Ann, he finds the cattle king mixed up in complex drug deals and pimping wild women — two of which are Poppy and Violet (Sissy Spacek and Janit Baldwin — both in their film debuts). ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi Continue reading

Michael Ritchie – Downhill Racer [+Extras] (1969)

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Criterion wrote:
Astonishing Alpine location photography and a young Robert Redford in one of his earliest starring roles are just two of the visual splendors of Michael Ritchie’s visceral debut feature, Downhill Racer. In a beautifully understated performance, Redford is David Chappellet, a ruthlessly ambitious skier competing for Olympic gold with an underdog American team in Europe, and Gene Hackman provides tough support as the coach who tries to temper the upstart’s narcissistic drive for glory. With a subtle screenplay by acclaimed novelist James Salter, Downhill Racer is a vivid character portrait buoyed by breathtakingly fast and furious imagery that brings the viewer directly into the mind of the competitor. Continue reading