4/10
Who Shot the Plot?
28 December 2010
Vietnam veteran Gene Hackman (as Roy Tucker) is serving time in San Quentin for murder. Then, mysterious dark-suited Richard Widmark (as Tagge) arrives to spring Mr. Hackman from prison in return for his assassinating somebody very important. Hackman insists foul-mouthed cell-mate Mickey Rooney (as Oscar Spiventa) should also be released. On the outside, Hackman is eventually reunited with wigged-out wife Candice Bergen (as Eleanor "Ellie" Tucker). Handsome young Edward Albert (as Ross Pine) is part of the plan. Ever reliable Eli Wallach (as Tom "General" Reser) helps arranges stuff.

Very disappointing, "The Domino Principle" isn't what you're expecting from a Gene Hackman movie directed by Stanley Kramer. It seems to have suffered from re-writes during filming and/or extensive cutting. The opening monologue turns out to be pointless, along with much of what follows. It's impossible to determine what was intended.

The supporting cast must have been wondering what happened. Mr. Rooney ponders sexual exploits amusingly. "Instead of getting her period every 28 days, she had periods that lasted 28 days," is how Rooney describes one disinterested female; it's one of his cleaner observations. As we watch the plot unravel before our very eyes, Mr. Widmark sums it up as, "The bigger the stink, the more there is to cover up." Mr. Albert offers a good, albeit underdeveloped, characterization. In a noteworthy final appearance, watch for veteran Jay Novello as an immigration official who wants to see Hackman's passport.

**** The Domino Principle (3/23/77) Stanley Kramer ~ Gene Hackman, Candice Bergen, Edward Albert, Mickey Rooney
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