The Midnight Man

1974

Crime / Drama / Mystery

0
IMDb Rating 6.4 10 967

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN

Director

Cast

Mills Watson as Cash
Charles Tyner as Ewing
Linda Kelsey as Betty Childress
Cameron Mitchell as Quartz Willinger

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 8 / 10

His Own Sense Of Integrity

Burt Lancaster's last attempt at directing was in this sadly neglected film, The Midnight Man. I was lucky enough to catch it theaters back in the day and a few times on television. Why it was panned by so many critics is as big a mystery as the one Burt Lancaster has to solve.

In The Midnight Man Lancaster plays a former police detective who did a stretch for homicide himself, he killed his wife's lover. Now released from prison and on parole, he gets a job courtesy of an old police buddy Cameron Mitchell as a campus security guard at a small southern college. No sooner does he arrive there than the murder of a pretty and popular coed occur and an incriminating diary she kept goes missing.

Of course this is the job of the local sheriff Harris Yulin, but Lancaster's instincts just take over and before long three other murders occur. Of course they all arise out of the initial incident.

The Midnight Man is a good and complex tale of murder and blackmail and was shot on Clemson College campus on location for a good ring of authenticity. Lancaster and co-director/writer Roland Kibbee put together a very good cast. Note the following roles besides those I've already mentioned: Morgan Woodward as a southern senator and father of the first victim, Susan Clark as a faculty member who takes a romantic interest in Lancaster, and Ed Lauter and Mills Watson as a pair of Deliverance type inbreds who are working for someone who really wants Burt out of the way. Burt's son Bill Lancaster is in the cast as another college student who also winds up a murder victim.

Some of the results will surprise you and what I like about the film is that Lancaster probably could have covered for a couple of the perpetrators, but his own sense of integrity wouldn't let him do that. Best scene in the film for action fans is his escape from those Deliverance types who capture him and are awaiting instructions. At least we know they're no good. Who else winds up on the wrong side of the law will surprise you and you will keep guessing until the end.

Reviewed by sol-kay 8 / 10

Once a Cop Always a Cop

****SPOILERS**** Burt Lancaster,Jim Slade, both stared and directed this crime drama set in a southern college about an ex-cop who did time for killing his wife's lover who he found in bed with her.

Having his friend and fellow retired cop, Quartz, Cameron Mitchell, get him a job at the college as a night watchman as part of Jim's parole obligation Jim uses his skills as a big city homicide investigator to crack a murder case that the local police thought they already solved.

Besides Burt Lancaster the movie "The Midnight Man" has a fine cast from old pros like Cameron Mitchall to up and coming stars like the stunningly beautiful Catherine Bach, Natalie Clayborne, and even has Burt's handsome 27 year-old son William in a major role in the movie as Natalie's boyfriend and fellow student Arthur King.

On his first night on the job as night watchman Jim finds that there was a break in at Dr. Prichette, Robert Quarry, office were a number of audio tapes were stolen of students who recorded them for him to help them in their personal problems. One of the tape that were stolen was that of Natalie Clayborne. The next day when Jim asks Natalie about the stolen tape she at first doesn't seem too worried about it. Later that night he sees her outside in the street very despondent as well as both drunk and high on pot where Jim drives Natalie back to her dorm-room at the college.

The next day Natalie is found murdered and the college janitor Ewin, Charles Tyner, who turned out to be a combination religious fanatic and sexual pervert, is arrested and charged with her murder. Police Chief Casey, Harris Yulin, feels that the case has been solved but Jim thinks otherwise. All at once Jim becomes a marked man by those really responsible for Natalie's murder.

It turns out that the stolen tape is being used to blackmail State Senator Clayborne,Morgan Woodworth, who's Natalie's father and who's also in line to be the next state governor. Clayborne molested Natalie when she was a teenager and that's what was recorded on the stolen tape by Natalie but there was more to her death then that. Natalie wrote an unfinished poem to who she was having an affair with who's clues were the Greek mythological personalities Janus & Mylilene that if closely examined identified who was behind her murder.

"The Midnight Man" is a suspense filled murder drama with Burt Lancaster giving one of the best and most underrated performances of his long film career. Complicated but never confusing the movie really comes together in the very last fifteen minutes with all the pieces of the puzzle coming into place. It was then when Jim realized that he was being used by people very close to him that he trusted to get the very incriminating audio tape and then, when he served their aims, make him disappear for good. There are at least three attempts on Jim's life in the movie culminating with an exciting kidnapping breakout and escape from his captors that ended in a slam-bang barn smashing finish.

The ending of "The Midnight Man" is very unconventional for a crime movie but thats what makes the film both unique and at the same time very real and believable where nothing in real life, just like in the movie, is absolute.

Reviewed by thinker1691 8 / 10

" You're not gonna like this, but you would have made a great cop "

Towards the end of his life and film career, Burt Lancaster, created some of the best and most enduring characters in the movies. His 'Twilight Last Gleeming and 'Lawman' are a couple of the more notable ones. This film, "The Mid-Night Man" has got to join that long list as one of the very best. The film is straight forward, the murder of a beautiful and seductive college coed, the long suspicious list of suspects and the unsavory secrets which accompany them. Also the county sheriff, needs to known the reason, why a campus security guard, a man on parole, and former homicide detective doesn't think, the pervert janitor didn't do it. Were it not for the serious cast which include some of the best character actors in the business, this movie would have been just so so. Fortunately, the cast includes Susan Clark as Linda Thorpe, Cameron Mitchell as Quartz, Morgan Woodward as Senator Clayborne and Harris Yulin as Sheriff Casey. Nick Cravat and Lancaster' own son completes the memorable list. With Ed Lauter rounding out the cast, this film cannot go anywhere except to the top of Lancaster Classics. Highly recommended. ****

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