5/31/11

St. Ives (1976) Review


He's clean. He's mean. He's the go-between.

For the second movie of Charles Bronson Week, I present to you J. Lee Thompson's 1976 mystery thriller, St. Ives.  This film is actually the first of nine eventual collaborations between Bronson and director J. Lee Thompson, and it disappointed me.

The film itself is pretty damn good and I'll get to that in a bit, but look at that poster.  I was expecting a sophisticated, debonair Bronson to be sipping scotch and smoking a pipe throughout the movie.  Sure, he's certainly a suave gentleman and he downs the occasional whisky and soda, but I didn't see one pipe in the whole damn movie!  That's just false advertising.

Luckily back in the early 1970s the Japanese got a hold of Bronson for a series of commercials for Mandom grooming products, which include a pipe smoking Bronson and a certain Japanese aesthetic. 


Anyway, back to the film.  Raymond St. Ives (Bronson) is a former crime reporter with a sordid past and a love for gambling.  And when he's not losing his money on football games or working on his failing novel, he does favors for wealthy, disreputable types.  An affluent and aging crime boss (John Houseman) had some personal diaries stolen and hires St. Ives to act the bagman and deliver $100,000 to the thieves in exchange for these personal ledgers.  Things don't go as planned.  When St. Ives arrives at the meeting place, a laundromat, he finds his contact dead and spinning in one of the dryers.  St. Ives is drawn into the mystery.  Well, first he's arrested on suspicion of murder, released and then drawn into the mystery of the stolen diaries.  He takes on the challenge of tracking down these missing books and solving the series of murders surrounding them.

"...And that was the second time I got crabs."
Once again, Jeff Goldblum makes an appearance in a Bronson film as an inept thug, although this time he doesn't get to rape anybody like he did in Death Wish.  In fact, this film doesn't have any sexual assaults at all which is strange for a Bronson film. Future Freddy Krueger, Robert Englund also makes an appearance as Jeff Goldblum's equally incompetent cohort.

This movie has the feel of an old 1930s crime drama plopped down in the 1970s.  I was expecting more of a pipe smoking Harry Callahan character but Bronson gives us something different - a more contained and intellectual smart-ass.  For me it works.  I found it to be a pleasant change from his typical assassin/vigilante characters.  The unraveling of the mystery and the sarcastic coolness of Bronson are the reasons to watch St. Ives.  If you're looking for nonstop vigilante action, you should look elsewhere.

Violence Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Booby Rating: 1 out of 5


29 comments:

Dejch said...

seen this one when i was a young puppie

Kicking Rocks said...

its a shame it was bad....

Bart said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ed said...

haha hes clean hes mean hes a gold beat teen

Rob said...

Bronson, and Goldblum... Oh Yeeeaaaahhhhh! low boobie rating though...

Dave said...

Charles Bronson rocks in any picture he is in.

Pool Fool said...

i like Charles and his movies

Zertuzzi said...

i really like the way you move mmmm

elexerdelex said...

hahahaha well you should not believe everything in ads!
Wow thats a hot chick on the side btw ==>

thenitefalls said...

No pipe in the the movie and it's on the movie poster!? False advertisement sucks!

Colin Biano said...

that commercial was slightly disturbing /:C

srnajera said...

uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh jajaj :P old

Malkavian said...

I am dissapointed by the lack of Boobies

Trey said...

I've never seen this one, but it sounds cool.

Zoltan said...

That commercial reminded me of the Suntory Yamazaki ad from Lost In Translation. Freakin' hilarious.

AllenTesch said...

That is a disappointing booby rating.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Nice. I never knew Robert Englund was in this.

Major.Mack said...

I never liked charles for some reason :(

A Beer for the Shower said...

I've never seen a single Bronson film. Yes, I'm pretty sure this makes me less of a man.

Astronomy Pirate said...

He still looks pretty smooth to me. That Japanese commercial was pretty weird, but then I suppose lots of celebrities end up doing some strange Japanese commercial during their careers.

D4 said...

Sure, it may SOUND good, but the poster clearly shows a pipe. I want more of that pipe in there.

hoaks2 said...

Charles Bronson was in some bad films... but I still love him. I guess it's just the awesomeness/cheesiness of the Death Wish films that keep me loving him.

JayPower said...

This movie is an absolute classic! awesome review ;D

Moobeat said...

i feel like ive seen this before

The Angry Lurker said...

Not a bad movie as far as I can remember.

BTN Hip Hop said...

just watched; i gotta say i agree

Laughing Vault said...

booby rating 1? :(

Speedy Ed said...

oh noo, only 1 out of 5 booby rating ? not my kind of film

Solsby Kid said...

Never seen this, but it looks awesome!

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