The Ultimate Cat & Mouse Thriller – Rediscovering ‘The Silent Partner’ (Canada 1978 – 103 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - October 15, 2013
The Ultimate Cat & Mouse Thriller – Rediscovering ‘The Silent Partner’  (Canada  1978 – 103 mins)

Bank teller Elliott Gould suspects that a phony Santa Claus (a wonderfully psychotic Christopher Plummer) is planning to rob his branch. So he devises a plan so that Plummer only gets away with a small amount of the money, while Gould hides away the bulk of the cash in his safety deposit box. Unfortunately, Gould loses the key to the box, and with Plummer closing in on him, the chase has really begun.

Filmed  entirely in Toronto,  The Silent Partner was unfairly lumped in with the Canadian exploitation pictures of the time (Terror Train, My Bloody Valentine, etc.), and features Elliott Gould and Christopher Plummer, each giving one of their best performances.

Canadian actor Christopher Plummer has never been so enjoyably menacing. The sight of his eyes peering through the open letterbox of Gould’s apartment, while threatening him to hand over the money, is genuinely chilling.

The supporting cast is equally impressive. Acclaimed British actress Susannah York gives the most restrained performance, as Gould’s co-worker and potential love interest. Sexy Celine Lomez (sounding like Claudia Cardinale) is also excellent as Plummer’s mysterious girlfriend.

There is some grisly violence involving Gould’s tropical fish tank, which is truly shocking, and may detract some viewers from the rest of the movie.

Tightly directed by Daryl Duke (who went on to make ‘The Thorn Birds’), and expertly written by Curtis Hanson (nearly 20 years before the Oscar winning L.A. Confidential), this engrossing thriller really needs to find a larger audience. Thankfully, a Region 1 DVD is widely available (albeit with a terrible ‘Reservoir Dogs’ style cover!) and comes highly recommended.

With plot twists, snappy dialogue, and Plummer turning up in drag! This really is one of those movies which can be viewed time and again.

All this and John candy too, this sleeper is a definite keeper!

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