Deadly Hero (1975)

R   |    |  Crime, Drama, Thriller

Deadly Hero (1975) Poster

When disturbed New York City (NYPD) cop Lacy rescues Sally, a beautiful cellist, from deranged crook Rabbit by shooting Rabbit in cold blood, he sets off a spark of publicity that brands him the city's hero.


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28 November 2017 | Hey_Sweden
| We live in troubled times.
Don Murray, in an intense, forceful performance, plays Ed Lacy, a well-regarded NYC law officer and 18 year veteran of the force. One night, he shoots and kills Rabbit (James Earl Jones), a flamboyant extortionist who terrorizes conductor / musician Sally (Diahn Williams) inside her apartment. The twist is that Sally soon develops doubts about her saviour; as her memory of that night returns, she believes that Rabbit was unarmed when he was gunned down. When she changes her story, an increasingly unhinged Lacy resorts to threatening and scaring her.

This is a good, gritty NYC cop drama, directed in efficient no-frills fashion by Ivan Nagy. It gets most of its juice from commanding central performances. While at first one might feel some sympathy towards Lacy, as they see a promising career go down the drain, he ultimately reveals a very dark side to his personality. The lovely Diahn Williams is appealing, while Jones gets to have some fun playing a decidedly offbeat antagonist. Several familiar faces in the cast include Lilia Skala, Treat Williams (playing Lacy's partner, in his film debut), Hank Garrett, Dick Anthony Williams, Conchata Ferrell, and Josh Mostel. Danny DeVito is listed in the end credits, but is hard to spot.

The film is admittedly violent, but the narrative (by Don Petersen, inspired by a real life story) is compelling, especially when it's told from Lacy's perspective. Location shooting and a vibrant music score by Brad Fiedel & Tom Mandel are definite assets (this was one of the earliest scores for Fiedel, who's best known for his "Terminator" theme).

This seems to be a largely forgotten film nowadays, but any movie lover who's fond of 70s cop / crime cinema will likely find it interesting if they seek it out.

Seven out of 10.

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