Combustible Celluloid
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With: Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan, Woody Strode, Jack Palance, Claudia Cardinale, Ralph Bellamy, Joe De Santis, Rafael Bertrand, Jorge Martinez de Hoyos, Marie Gomez, Jose Chavez, Carlos Romero, Vaughn Taylor
Written by: Richard Brooks, based on a novel by Frank O'Rourke
Directed by: Richard Brooks
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (formerly GP)
Running Time: 117
Date: 11/02/1966

The Professionals (1966)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Who Are the Good Guys?

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

It's hard to say whether Lee Marvin would be an action star today, with his wiry swagger and dangerous cleverness. The current crop of brain-dead action pics don't quite live up to this kind of movie cool. In The Professionals, Oscar-winner Jack Palance plays a Mexican bandito who kidnaps easy-on-the-eyes Claudia Cardinale, the wife of Ralph Bellamy. Bellamy hires a group of "professionals," led by Marvin and Burt Lancaster, to go into Mexico and get her back. Getting in and out offers not only thrills, but tension and drama as the hardened men slowly let their characters be revealed. The twist ending is, once again, something you'd never expect from one of today's films. In addition, the widescreen cinematography by Conrad Hall is superb. It received three Oscar nominations, for directing, screenplay, and cinematography.

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