47 FILMS: 19. THIEF

In our continuing series of ‘47 Films to see before you’re murdered in your dreams‘, we look at Michael Mann’s glorious Thief.

Before the Mohicans were all but one and Miami was Vice ridden, Michael Mann made his feature film debut – and possibly his best film to date – with the 1981 James Caan crime flick Thief.

The tale is familiar enough: a super-professional criminal begins to feel the need for something resembling a normal life, a wife (Tuesday Weld), a family, a home. Of course his criminal associates and corrupt cops want to control or destroy him and ruin his plans. However, the film is lifted from its relatively ordinary story by the amazing performances. James Caan has rarely been better. His diner scene with Tuesday Weld is a professed favorite of the actor’s and you can see why. Caan – who also produced the film – is at his wired best, suggesting a vulnerability of a man ready to fall apart or fly off the handle. Weld is more than capable of standing up to him, and add to the leads debuts by James Belushi and Dennis Farina and some excellent moments with Willie Nelson and Nick Nickeas.

The film looks gorgeous, rain slicked streets of incredible beauty. Mann hasn’t gone kitsch yet. His cops are grubby, there are workplaces and the whole thing is taken seriously. The safe cracking scenes are exciting and at the same time almost humdrum. Caan’s thief – who will appear again in De Niro’s role in Heat – is a man who gets the job done and doesn’t want any part of the glamour or the myth of what he does.

This is the kind of American movie Jean Paul Melville was trying to reproduce, but which probably didn’t exist until after Melville. Tangerine Dream provide an overbearing score, but with this material it works.

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HOOCH AND HOOCH LOSES HANKS

HOLLYWOOD – New spin off comedy Hooch and Hooch has lost star Tom Hanks over what is being called by the studio ‘creative differences’.

Turner and Hooch was the best loved dog/cop comedy of July, 1989 and so when rumors of a remake began to circulate – provisionally titled Hooch and Hooch – it was hoped that the original stars could be reunited. Beasley the Dog had sadly passed away and now it looks like comedian turned actor Tom Hanks will also be passing on the project.

A studio insider told the Studio Exec EXCLUSIVELY:

It isn’t Tom’s fault. He came to the project quite late on. The script had been written and some of the story-boarding too. He has a lot of affection for the original film, but when he read the script he just didn’t think his role was big enough to warrant the time commitment. And so he went and did Bridge of Spies instead.

The synopsis for the film reads:

Hooch is a large sloppery police dog who plays by the book, but his world is about to be turned upside down by his identical twin brother Hooch, a low down street dog. When they both become embroiled in the murder of a local politician mixed up in VIP sex parties and the sale of a corridor of land for a high speed rail link, they must team up to save the day.

The script was written by Nic Pizzolatto and will be directed by Bret Ratner.

Meanwhile James Belushi has confirmed the long-awaited sequel to the second most loved dog/cop comedy of July, 1989 K-9.

Hooch and Hooch will be released in 2017. And K-10 will be released 5 seconds earlier.

Image courtesy of @ThePixelFactor