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Hickey And Boggs

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    Ian Jane
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  • Hickey And Boggs



    Released by: MGM Limited Edition Collection

    Released on:
    August 23, 2011.
    Director:
    Robert Culp
    Cast: Robert Culp, Bill Cosby

    Year: 1972

    Purchase From Amazon


    The Movie:


    Based on a script by Walter Hill, 1972's Hickey And Boggs stars director/star Robert Culp and co-star Bill Cosby as Frank Boggs and Al Hickey respectively, two private detectives who have seen better days. Both men are struggling financially and prone to drinking more than they should, with Boggs having been divorced for some time and Hickey almost there, no longer living with his wife (Rosalind Cash) and no longer in regular contact with the daughter they had together.


    When Hickey is offered a case by a lawyer named Rice (Lester Fletcher), he takes it. Two hundred bucks a day plus expenses is too much to pass up and all he's asked them to do is track down a missing woman named Mary Jane. He gives them a list of contacts to get them started and the pair figure they've got their work cut out for them, that is, until the people on that list start turning up dead. While these detectives may be low rent, they're not stupid and they're able to figure out fairly quickly that they're going to wind up like the people on that list if they're not careful. But why did Rice hire them for this in the first place? What's his part in all of this and how does it tie in to a bank robbery that took place on the other side of the country in Pittsburgh?


    While this well acted and very tightly scripted film features some fun supporting roles from the likes of Michael Moriarty, James Woods and Vincent Gardenia, it really belongs to Culp and Cosby. Taking that chemistry that made I Spy the popular TV show that it was and bringing it to the big screen and giving it a more realistic and adult spin, they're excellent in this picture and play off of one another very well. While it might be hard for those of us who grew up knowing Cosby as the clean and wholesome Dr. Cliff Huxtable, he fits into this far seedier role not only comfortably but quite naturally as well proving that before he'd go on to make dreck like Ghost Dad and Leonard Part 6 he was absolutely a viable serious actor. Culp is every part his equal and his character just as jaded and worn though it should be noted that the comedic and light hearted tone that the two actors took with one another on their TV show is replaced here with a much darker and more serious vibe.


    Walter Hill's script is a solid one, showing us much of the darkness and soul searching characters we'd get in the later pictures he'd make and become better known for. As you'd expect it it's a tough story of tough men, though like The Long Riders would later it leads to a lot of philosophical questioning on the part of the characters and in turn the viewership. The film also features some strong violence, another instantly identifiable trait of much of Hill's work. Culp keeps the action moving at a good pace and easily grounds his film in reality thanks to some great location shooting and by approaching all of this with a rather cold cinematic eye. Underrated and seen far too infrequently given the quantity and quality of the talent involved with it, Hickey And Boggs is a satisfactorily seedy, gritty and very well made crime film and one that should get more recognition than it does.


    Video/Audio/Extras:


    Hickey And Boggs looks pretty good in its original 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio. There's plenty of minor grain evident throughout and some minor color fading here and there in addition to specks and small bits of print damage but none of it is really all that big of a deal - it just furthers the movie's seventies look and feel. Detail isn't bad and there are no problems with compression artifacts, edge enhancement or aliasing to complain about.

    The English language Dolby Digital Mono audio track on the disc is well balanced and features clean, clear dialogue. The fuzzed out rock guitar score also sounds quite good, as do the various sound effects used throughout the movie. Some hiss is present as is the occasional pop, but it's nothing too serious.

    There are no extras outside of a static menu.


    The Final Word:


    A solid seventies crime drama that works rather well thanks to strong direction and an even stronger script, Hickey And Boggs is deserving of a wider audience and hopefully this release from MGM will help the movie find it.




















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