Sunday, September 16, 2012


Roman Polanksi's Frantic with Harrison Ford and Emmanuelle Seigner will celebrate its 25th birthday next year. I remember seeing this movie in a theater when it came out in 1988 and being amazed at the quality of  Harrison Ford's acting. Too bad his career mostly got stuck in the blockbuster-cash-machine groove, ensuring that he rarely worked with coherent screenplays or intelligent directors.

As many critics observed at the time, Frantic constantly reads as a tribute to Hitchcock. Like Jimmy Stewart in The Man Who Knew Too Much, Ford is a bumbling American doctor abroad, trying to recover a mistakenly kidnapped family member. Like Cary Grant in North By Northwest he is forced by the plot to wear the same single-breasted suit throughout the entire movie, subjecting it to many desperate physical struggles and proving its indestructibility.

Yet in spite of the good reviews and a Grace Jones soundtrack, the original release lost money. I recently watched the movie again on DVD, and found it as good as I remembered.