The Black Windmill


Action / Crime / Thriller

IMDb Rating 6.3 10 2249


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
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April 11, 2019 at 10:55 PM



Michael Caine as Maj. John Tarrant
John Rhys-Davies as Fake Military Policeman
Donald Pleasence as Cedric Harper
Joss Ackland as Chief Supt. Wray
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
883.09 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 46 min
P/S 0 / 6
1.68 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 46 min
P/S 0 / 13

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by barnabyrudge 6 / 10

Unfairly lambasted espionage thriller.

Don Siegel will always be remembered as the man who gave us Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers and Dirty Harry, as well as being the mentor of Clint Eastwood when he was just starting out in the acting business. Here he tackles very atypical material with a low-key British spy thriller based on the book Seven Days To A Killing by Clive Eggleton. Although this is not really Siegel's kind of thing, he manages to coax sound performances from an impressive cast, and gets across a certain degree of excitement. From time to time the suspense slackens a little, but on the whole this is an engaging enough potboiler.

Major John Tarrant (Michael Caine) is a secret agent who is distraught to learn that his son has been kidnapped by a gang who want a batch of diamonds for his safe return. Tarrant's boss Cedric Harper (Donald Pleasance) has never got on well with Tarrant, and even goes so far as to suggest that maybe the kidnapping is an elaborate double-cross hatched by Tarrant himself in order to get hold of the diamonds. Supported by his wife Alex (Janet Suzman), Tarrant steals the diamonds needed for his son's safety, and attempts to elude his own colleagues plus the police long enough to secure the return of the young boy.

Critical opinion at the time seemed to be of the view that The Black Windmill was a bad film. Generous critics were kind enough to call it average. Perhaps everyone still had Siegel's extraordinarily good Dirty Harry fresh in their memories and were unable to accept that he couldn't always make films of that standard. The Black Windmill, while stilted and a touch dry in parts, is certainly not a full-scale dud. It has interesting plot twists, good acting (always good to see John Vernon in any of his '70s villainous roles), intriguing character clashes, and a nice sense of genre. I'd rather have a low-key thriller like this than one of the modern spectacular-but-empty popcorn actioners. Try not to be influenced by the negative buzz.... give The Black Windmill a try. It's no classic, but it's better than you might expect.

Reviewed by rsoonsa 9 / 10


For this work, scenes of "action", a Don Siegel specialty, are less significant than those that generate characterization and plot, functioning to release tension rather than keep it at bay, although the director's customary taut pacing and stoniness are here, within a twisty story largely faithful to its source, a Clive Egleton novel: "Seven Days to a Killing", strongly scripted by Leigh Vance to further define the character-focused film. A cleverly fresh storyline involves a kidnapping, the victim being son of MI-5 operative John Tarrant (Michael Caine), with a ransom demand for greater than one half million pounds worth of uncut diamonds that are resting within a Defence Ministry safe, as an unknown traitorous official has informed the abductors, with subsequent dual scenario devices of Tarrant's struggle to retrieve his son held by illicit arms syndicate villains, along with Ministry efforts to culpably link Tarrant with the conspiracy. The film benefits from attention to continuity, no loose ends rupturing one's concentration, with heed to detail perhaps its primary strength, yet telling contributions come from many, including players Caine, who adds a needed element of engagement to his Harry Palmer persona, Delphine Seyrig giving a splendidly nuanced performance as companion of the principal evildoer (played with effectual guile by John Vernon), and Donald Pleasence earning the acting laurels here as a dispassionate MI-5 security chief, along with Clive Revill, Joss Ackland, and ever intense Janet Suzman.

Siegel's hand is apparent in the spare deployment of music, with scoring and silence each appropriately employed; palette and filter for well-composed cinematography and montage (shooting is in London, Paris and the Sussex countryside); a symbolic use of clothing colours; and accomplished post-production efforts, all increasing the worth of a piece undervalued by some reviewers, indeed by Caine himself, unfortunate in the event as the film is one of Siegel's finest, his skill with improvisation mating well with capable workmanship.

Reviewed by JamesHitchcock 6 / 10

Will never rank alongside the likes of "Dirty Harry" and "The Shootist".

I caught this film when it was shown on British television recently and was surprised that I had never previously heard of it, despite the fact that it stars an actor as iconic as Michael Caine and was made by a director as famous as Don Siegel. The "black windmill" of the title is one of the two Clayton Windmills (known locally as "Jack and Jill") on the South Downs near Brighton; this windmill plays an important part in the plot.

As in "The Ipcress File", Caine plays a British secret service agent, but his character here, John Tarrant, is very different to Harry Palmer. Whereas Palmer was a working-class outsider, a former Army sergeant who was virtually blackmailed into joining the secret service to avoid a criminal charge, Tarrant is an establishment insider, part of the officer class. (He holds the rank of Major). He is engaged in an undercover operation to counter the activities of a gang of arms smugglers selling weapons to terrorists in Northern Ireland. (The film was made in 1974 when the Northern Irish troubles were at their height).

The film starts with Tarrant's young son David being kidnapped and held to ransom. The kidnappers appear to have a detailed knowledge not only of Tarrant's family circumstances but also of the work he is engaged on; as their ransom they demand a valuable quantity of uncut diamonds which he has recently acquired to fund his intelligence work. Tarrant initially believes that the kidnappers are connected either to the arms dealers or to the terrorists for whom they are working, and confides in his superior, Cedric Harper. As matters progress, however, he begins to wonder whether matters are really as they seem and whether he can really trust his colleagues.

This is far from being Caine's worst film. (For an actor of his distinction he made more than his fair share of dreadful ones, "Blame It on Rio" and "Ashanti" being two that come to mind). It does, however, highlight one of his weaknesses as an actor, namely that in the early part of his career he was not very good at conveying strong emotions. Most of his iconic roles, at least from this period, involved him playing characters who, for one reason or another, avoid showing much emotion. This could be because they need to keep up the "stiff upper lip" (his characters in "Zulu" and "Battle of Britain"), because they hide their feelings beneath a mask of impassivity (Jack Carter), because they deliberately avoid emotional commitment (Alfie Elkins) or because they try and distance themselves from their feelings through cynicism and irony (Frank in "Educating Rita"). Certainly, some of his more mature performances do show greater emotional depth, such as "The Honorary Consul" and "The Quiet American", but in "The Black Windmill" he is rather wooden, never suggesting the anguish and anxiety of a man whose son is being held for ransom.

Some of the acting is better; Janet Suzman as Tarrant's estranged wife Alex provides the emotional conviction that Caine's performance lacks, while Donald Pleasence is very effective as the smooth but unsympathetic and possibly duplicitous Harper. The film as a whole is a professionally made thriller, if not a very original one, but an essentially American director like Siegel was not the most natural choice to direct a British spy thriller like this one. "The Black Windmill" is never going to rank on his filmography as highly as the likes of "Dirty Harry" and "The Shootist". 6/10

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