November 21st, 2009

ROGUE MALE (1976) **

Peter O’Toole stars as an English lord who tries to assassinate Adolf Hitler after the Nazis kill his wife.  He is promptly caught and gets roughed up by the Gestapo who rips out his fingernails and toss him over a cliff.  Left for dead, Pete eventually escapes to England and is relentlessly pursued by the nasty Nazis.  When no one will help him, O’Toole goes into hiding by digging a hole in the side of a mountain.  While living with his cat inside of his manmade cave, Pete gets a visit by the main Gestapo jerkoff and has to think on his feet if he wants to avoid capture.

 

Rogue Male gets off to a promising start.  Although nothing is ever really shown, the torture scenes are pretty effective and O’Toole’s escape is sorta tense.  However, much of the tension drains out of the film once he arrives in England and the third act is especially lifeless.  I mean I was ready to pull my hair out of my scalp by the fifth scene of O’Toole bargaining for his life from inside of his underground hideout.

 

O’Toole gives a stellar performance and always commands the audience’s attention.  He’s particularly great when the Nazis are kicking the shit out of him.  O’Toole has a brazenness about him that’s likable in these scenes and he really makes you root for him.  Alastair (A Christmas Carol) Sim also does a fine job in a cameo as O’Toole’s uncaring uncle.  Ultimately, their efforts are not enough to save the flick.