|The Friends of Eddie Coyle
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Studio: Image Entertainment Release Date: 05/19/2009 Run time: 102 minutes
- A Low-Key Classic
This is not only Mitchum's best performance, but also the best all-around movie he was ever in. Surrounded by some of the best character actors of the time (Peter Boyle, Richard Jordan, Steven Keats), the script is taut and low-key, and remarkably faithful to George Higgin's excellent novel. Is a gem of a movie, worth seeing again and again. Never available on laserdisc, and rumored to get the full Criterion treatment, this has been on my "wish list" for years. It can't be released soon enough!...more info
- One of the best films of the 70's
It was a crying shame that The Friends of Eddie Coyle was unavailable in any format for years and years. This Criterion edition is both long overdue and very welcome indeed. Quite simply, this is one of the best American films of the 70's, and one of Peter Yates's best films ever. The documentary quality to much of the film is riveting, and the location shooting in Boston and environs, as well as the superb supporting players, give a real feeling of authenticity, of time and place. Then there's Robert Mitchum...certainly, this is one of the outstanding performances of his career, and I would call it the best of the latter portion of his career. The people who call it the best of his ENTIRE career have a very arguable point (Out of the Past and Nigh of the Hunter aren't exactly chopped liver) but I can see where they're coming from. But undoubtedly this gritty film deserves to be better known. ...more info
- Bravo Criterion!
I was very pleased to find this on Criterion's pre-release list, but not surprised - it's just the sort of little-known cinematic gem that Criterion does wonders with. In fact, I've been looking for a copy of this for some time, having first seen Eddie Coyle years and years ago, the memory of the film's stark realism and mood etched in my mind like few others. This is definitive 70's Noir and a title fully worthy of a pull-out-all-the-stops release that Criterion consistently provides. What a fine addition to the Criterion title catalogue, the choice reflecting - as usual - an impeccable sense of film history on the part of Criterion's staff. ...more info
- Mitchum's absolute best
To steal a line, Mitchum "put his whole soul into" this film. Eddie is a loser who knows he will never be a big player but who manages to keep his niche in a criminal world well enough to raise his family, until he faces prison time he can't afford to do. He tries to do some small snitching for treasury agent Dave Foley (Richard Jordan)but Foley is as slimy as everyone he's after and wants more and more, and Eddie's despicable "friend" Dillon (Peter Boyle) is busy working both ends against the middle, where Eddie gets caught. Terrific cast at their best. Dark, dangerous, and frightening. Very Boston and very 70s. Very, very good....more info
- Mitchum's Finest Performance
Though often dismissed by critics as "walking through" his roles, Robert Mitchum) was perhaps Hollywood's most underrated actor. True, many of his films were not worthy of his talent, but when he did get a good script (e.g. THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, HEAVEN KNOWS MR. ALLISON, CAPE FEAR), his performance was always mesmerizing.
Arguably, Mitchum's finest screen performance can be found in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE (1973), now available on DVD from The Criterion Collection.
Directed by Peter Yates, who supplies audio commentary on the disc, the film is set in Boston and casts Mitchum as a small-time felon, a family man facing a 2-5 year sentence on a smuggling conviction. His only hope of avoiding prison is to give an FBI agent (Richard Jordan) information that will help to bring down some bigger bad guys...like the men who have been on a bank-robbing spree and killed a teller during their last job.
Mitchum's problem is that, if he "rats" on those guys, his life is not worth a plugged nickel.
Peter Boyle co-stars in the picture, playing Mitchum's "friend," a former felon who is now a bartender and also supplies confidential information to the Feds.
Adapted from the novel by George V. Higgins by Paul Monash, this is a gritty, first-rate crime drama, shot in almost a semi-documentary style. Mitchum's performance, particularly his first scene in which he explains to a young punk gun dealer how he got the nickname, "Fingers," is unforgettable.
The Criterion package contains a booklet of essays on Mitchum and the film.
? Michael B. Druxman...more info
- Great view of Provincial Boston, before the tech/financial service boom bust cycle
I absolutely adore this film. My theory is that we sometimes feel a special affinity for films for the place and time where we grew up.
I think this is doubly true when we look back to a world we new that no longer exists. For me, who has viewed at least 2500 films in the last 5 years(more than half international) and came of age (21 or so) in the early 70's in the Boston area this is a particularly poignant, and powerful, film. I think for other people in this, at that time, very ethnically (e. g. Irish vs. Italian with Brahma still visibly at the top) racially (the busing crisis and the deplorable situation of Black people that still exists today), and economically segregated, pre-high tech, pre-globalized Boston, this film is very accurate and also reflects the somber economic quagmire of this area in the early 70's. I think only Paul Newman in the Verdict and the documentaries: particularly the Documentary "Salesman" - by the Maysles brother's- and to a lesser extent the great, largely unheralded, work- of Joseph Wiseman (e. g.; "Titticut Follies") come close to giving a unique view of this fascinating city before it started to lose it's provincial authenticity and charm; and the Oscar Winners: Mystic River, which captures some of pre yuppie Charlesown- although the characters are still a little too glamorous (i.e.; Sean Penn- although Tim Robbins is great) really doesn't capture the grit and desperation of that place at that time) although it is still a good story. Except for it's depiction of the somewhat Kafkaesque, and sometimes corrupt Boston Police and government, The Departed could have been shot anywhere. The Boston accents were terrible. Matt Damon played his usual- post "Good Will Hunting-" vacuous pretty boy self, and Jack Nicholson's representation of evil, or perhaps adult naughtiness, (what's new) was entertaining but not least bit Bostonian. Scorsese won an Oscar, not so much because this was his best film, but in true OSCAR style, his time was due: IMHO, Goodfellows, The Taxi Driver, and even Mean Streets were better, but they were too controversial for the "airheaded" superficial, self congratulatory OSCAR clique. DiCaprio was the real diamond in the ruff here and, as usual, he didn't get the credit he deserved. Also, Mark Wahlberg, a local, did a reasonably good job as a
Boston detective, but the power of his and Dicaprio's authentic acting was eclipsed by Martin's quick cutting (ever notice how quick the cutting
has become in many contemporary films compared to great masterpieces of
the past- another sign of the lack of depth in the postmodern aesthetic), and Jack, Matt, and the rest of the bozo's.
Sorry for my digression into the authenticity of Boston film portrayals,
and Back to Eddie Coyle. The post poster boy Robert Mitchum was fabulous
as Eddie Coyle, playing the down and out 2- soon to be 3- time loser, who fatefully decides to play ball with uncle (SAM) in the form of a fairly convincing Richard Jordan who plays an undercover agent a little too charismatically for this very uncharismatic film. Peter Boyle as the bartender/hitman was quite good (not as good as in his portrayal as the
monster in Mel Brook's Young Doctor Frankenstein though). In true racist
Boston style he tries to make the ultimate demise of Coyle look like "The Niggers" in Dorchester did it (shades of the infamous Charles Stuart murder case of the late 80's). This may be Mitchum's last great, albeit unrecognized, performance- he gives a great Boston accent without trying to sound like an upper class Kennedy or Brahman. The landmarks, whether they be the Old Boston Garden, the then new (since much hated) modernist monstrosity called the government center, and particularly the somewhat sparsely populated, compared to today, south shore suburbs or Weymouth Sharon and Quincy, are all very authentic for the pre boom/bust era; and I couldn't believe the light auto traffic compared to the gridlock of the
Boston area roads of today, but I guess this factor is sadly universal
exept perhaps in the emerging Economic powers of the so-called third world. Finally, the three highly stylized bank robbing scenarios were
This noirish story of the trials and tribulations of Eddie Coyle (Mitchum) and the almost too congenial Boston underworld (see Whitey Bulger) has lots of suspense, crime, mystery, and deceit. And it should keep most viewers involved even if they aren't old Bostonians like myself. Each time I watch this I find some more subtle but accurate elements that I missed. Although this is true of most movies with any depth as my film professor so aptfully taught me. It is nice that Amazon offers a download of this film. At last you don't have to get it on the black Market or wait for AMC or TCM to give it a rare cable showing. I do agree that it is a crime it's not out on DVD with another reviewer.
In closing, in this much too overly long explication I highly recommend this film for anyone, and it is essential viewing for anyone with Boston roots stretching back to the 50's of last century. (PS think of Barry Levinson's Baltimore (E.G.;"The Diner") as an analogy of medium sized city urban American authenticity. but even Levinson's films aren't as great an artifact as "The Friend's of Eddie Coyle," but I guess I'm a little prejudiced being brought up in Boston- also Levinson is a little too nostalgic for my taste, while Eddie Coyle is as cold as the barrels
of the stolen guns that Eddie buys in the Barbo's parking lot to bargain
for his freedom that never came.
- Where is the DVD?
This is a fantastic and realistic movie with a great cast, great story, and great music that still holds up to this day. I watched it a long time ago when it first came out. I bought the download on itunes the other day and watched it again and it is still great! So I ask, what is that hold up on getting this movie on DVD? It is fantastic....more info
- Not the best Boston film, but certainly one of them
"The Friends of Eddie Coyle" is a fine film and one that features one of the best performances by the always great Robert Mitchum. It is one of the best films made about Boston, and living in the area my whole life, gives it a little more value to me personally. While the book had great dialouge and characters, its ending was a little anti-climactic and didn't seem to say a whole lot, which inevitably reflects in the film. I will have to disagree with the reviewer who claimed that this was better than The Departed, however. It was not in the same league as that film, which stands above all other Boston based films, like the great "The Verdict", "Good Will Hunting", and "Gone, Baby, Gone", all terrific films. To say the accents in the Departed by Damon and Nicholson were butchered is absurd, and DiCaprio especially nailed. However, we are talking about "Eddie Coyle" and if you want to see a gritty crime drama with great characters and awesome location shooting, check this one out....more info
- One of the Best Crime Films
This film has inexplicably been unavailable for decades,except for DVD's shot from TV.
the film was usually chopped badly for its TV appearances,although the Mystery Channel did a credible job.
Criterion-wow!!I have to see this.
This film was remarkably faithful to George V.Higgins' excellent dialogue-driven novel.
Robert Mitchum gave the performance of his lifetime and the supporting cast of a genially sinister Peter Boyle,as well as Mitchell Ryan,Alex Rocco,Richard Jordan,and Joe Santos played their roles to the hilt.
The location shooting and cinematography were perfect and the dialogue was as believeable as it gets.
There were even two good subplots that were never out of place.
This was truly a realistic,even understated, crime film devoid of gimmicks or gratuituous violence.
I spent 26 years in lw enforcement and consider this one of the best crime films ever made.
Now,when will Criterion get their hands on The Man From Mallorca and The Man on the Roof,two great Bo Widerberg crime films,and Nick Gomez'Laws of Gravity?
All are available only on VHS,although The Man on the Roof can be found on DVD if you have a region-free player....more info
- Please release this movie on DVD
Please Paramount release this great movie on DVD. Nice to see that is available as a download. Unfortunately it doesn't work in Europe. There are a great number of movie fans out there that want this movie in their collection....more info
- A great, underappreciated crime film from the 1970s!
The Friends of Eddie Coyle is one of those forgotten films from the 1970s. It's a melancholic story of small-time criminals working on the fringes of Boston's underworld. It's not exactly the kind of feel-good story that lights up the box office but it is one of those fascinating, character-driven films that amazingly made its way through the studio system at a time when executives were willing to roll the dice on more challenging fare.
Unfortunately, the extras on this DVD are slim at best. As per usual, the accompanying booklet contains a well-written essay by film critic Kent Jones and an excellent profile of Mitchum published in Rolling Stone around the time of the film's release.
There is an audio commentary by director Peter Yates. He cites The Friends of Eddie Coyle as one of the three favorites of his career because of the cast and the location. They shot entirely in Boston. Naturally, he talks about working with Mitchum and praises his style of acting. Yates says that they used as much of the dialogue from the novel as possible because it so authentically represented the rhythms of the way people speak in Boston.
Also included is a Stills Gallery of rare, behind-the-scenes photographs including scenes that were deleted....more info
- Best Boston movie--evah
So says Big Screen Boston: From Mystery Street to The Departed and Beyond, and it's right....more info
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