Hunter (1973)

HUNTER (1973)
Article 4571 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 7-3-2014
Directed by Leonard Horn
Featuring John Vernon, Steve Ihnat, Sabrina Scharf
Country: USA
What it is: Spy movie

A special agent who works by taking on the personas of other people takes on the personality of a security agent for a top secret project who may have been brainwashed into killing an associate.

Back when I covered THE WIZARD OF OZ, I ended my review by noting my affection for the scariness of the flying monkey sequence of that movie. It’s fascinating to find that that sequence plays a pivotal role in the story of this movie; part of the brainwashing technique involves the use of several characters and ideas from that movie, with the flying monkeys being the most prominent. This movie sat on the shelf for two years before being released, and I can’t help but wonder if it was intended as a series pilot. In truth, I found the story here to be fun and clever enough that I almost wish that it had made the transition to a series, especially if it retained the decent writing and the bizarre plot elements. Unfortunately, I don’t think the premise of having the hero taking on the personalities of other people would have worked as a regular feature, so maybe it’s just as well. At any rate, this one is solid, and features fine performances by John Vernon, Steve Ihnat, and Fritz Weaver. This is one that ended up on my “ones that got away” list, but someone pointed my way towards a copy, and so it finally makes it here.

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