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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Okay... I was 19 when these movies hit the theatres and they are pretty typical of the kind of "B" movie action flicks of that era and even featured some soon forgotten actors of the day...a couple of higher priced talent and a couple of legendary directors!

FIRST ... let me say that while the back of the 2 disc set says that both pictures are 1:78 aspect ratio .... they are in fact 2:35...so all you buffs who remember these films relax they are appropriate to their original size but labeled wrong...

Now... while its fun to see Linda Haynes as the love interest in "The Nickel Ride" (her fame was fleeting and mostly came from her sexy romp in "Rolling Thunder") and the lead Jason Miller (of Exorcist fame) this film was certainly not on a par with "To Kill a Mockingbird" ...which was directed by the same man Robert Mulligan. My main enjoyment in revisiting this film was seeing Bo Hopkins, John Hillerman and Victor French in supporting roles.

the other film 99 and 44/100% Dead! features one of my all time favorite directors John Frankenheimer.... and his ability with action shows. Of course the guilty pleasure of seeing Chuck Conners (The Rifleman) as "Claw Zuckerman" as well a another classic Henry Mancini score and Richard Harris' always compelling work raise this film above a "B" for me.

There are Trailers for both films as bonus features but no chapter index....both movies feature about 10-11 chapter stops though.

The prints look very good and I think being in combination not only are a good pair but make this a solid investment at $15 or so.

recommended for fans of 70's films..
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2012
Some directors have a gift for comedy. John Frankenheimer isn't one of them. A big fan of his early work ('The Manchurian Candidate,' 'Seven Days in May,' 'The Train,' 'Seconds,' 'The Iceman Cometh') and not so much of his later stuff ('Prophecy,' 'Dead Bang,' 'Reindeer Games,' 'Island of Dr. Moreau'-- although 1998's 'Ronin' is a happy exception), I found '99 and 44/100% Dead' a very amateurish attempt at an entirely superfluous genre: the gangster spoof. If you can, imagine a mating of 'The Sting' and 'Alphaville' infused with Keystone Cops humor and a swinging-sixties artistic sensibility (yes, it was made in 1974). The story is perfunctory and almost irrelevant, as are the characters serving it (even played by some big names including Richard Harris and Edmond O'Brien), so it's the aesthetic of the film that must work, and it doesn't. Just a jumble of half-baked ideas, gunfire and car chases. The widescreen presentation, however, is very nice, and there are numerous well-framed shots to ogle (the East River-bed 'graveyards,' for instance). Film rates 1 1/2 stars; picture and audio 4 stars.

The keeper of this set is a movie I hadn't seen or heard of before: Robert Mulligan's 'The Nickel Ride.' It's a quiet thriller-- a character study, really-- about a respected, aging mafia property manager ('The Exorcist''s Jason Miller) who discovers too late that his services have become obsolete to those who employ him. No surprise that this modest project flew under the radar, as it features no major stars and generates only a little heat in the action/suspense department (notoriety crib-death when you're released in the same year as 'Jaws,' 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' and 'Dog Day Afternoon'); but performances all around are sensational, and the beaten-down '70s Manhattan mood (interrupted with great metaphorical impact in the second act by a bucolic-cabin-in-the-woods scenery change) evokes a compelling sense of time and place. Picture and audio are also first-rate. 3 1/2 stars for the film; 4 stars for presentation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I've been on a Sam Peckinpah kick lately, and after watching THE WILD BUNCH for the umpteenth time I began wondering how many other films classic character actor Edmund O'Brien (D.O.A.,THE GIRL CAN'T HELP IT, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND) made before he passed. When I saw that his last role was in 99 AND 44/100% DEAD, and that it was directed by another one of my favorites, John Frankenheimer (THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE,SEVEN DAYS IN MAY,SECONDS) I looked for it and very luckily found this Double-Feature DVD that pairs it with another '70's flick, THE NICKLE RIDE, for $5! Both 20th Century Fox color productions deal with life in the mob, but are polar opposites in tone and execution. WARNING: PLOT SPOILERS FOLLOW......

What really seals the deal for this set is THE NICKEL RIDE, by another critically acclaimed director, Richard Mulligan (TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE). The film features the late Jason Miller in the lead role, who's a hometown hero in the area I live (Northeast PA). Miller's two claims to fame are his 1973 Pulitzer Prize winning play THAT CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON (also a 1982 film that he directed, partially in Scranton) and his role as Father Karras in THE EXORCIST. Miller's also terrific in THE DAIN CURSE, an underrated 1978 TV mini-series that faithfully adapted Dashiell Hammett's famous novel and ranks up there IMHO with THE THIN MAN, THE GLASS KEY and THE MALTESE FALCON......

Miller plays Cooper, a mob "keyman" who's in charge of their warehouses in then super grungy and gritty New York City. "Coop" is under pressure trying to finalize a deal for a new warehouse, all the old ones are full. On top of that, the crooked cop he's dealing with is trying to put the squeeze on him for more $$$, one of his buddies is having trouble with a boxer unwilling to throw a fight, his boss (John Hillerman, BLAZING SADDLES, MAGNUM P.I., in an atypical creepy role) is passing along pressure from above, and he's saddled with mentoring a overly-friendly cowboy wannabe (Bo Hopkins, MONTE WALSH, THE GETAWAY) who may or may not be "gunning" for his job...literally. Miller is perfect as man having trouble accepting changing times and alliances, the weight of his worries and increasing paranoia driving him to the breaking point. I was especially impressed with Victor French (LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN) as Cooper's bar-owner best friend Paddie, like Hillerman in an atypical role, I didn't even recognize him at first! The anamorphic widescreen Panavision transfer is fittingly grainy but virtually spotless, the only extra is a trailer. If your a fan of gritty downbeat mean streets realism, this nickel's heads up......

The comic book inspired opening credits and morbidly bizarre prologue warn what's to follow, a mish-mashed semi-comic overly-mannered satire about a war between rival gangsters. An atypically (3rd time) laid back Richard Harris (MAJOR DUNDEE, CAMELOT, GLADIATOR) whose blond pageboy and over-sized glasses reminds one of a male Edith Head, plays "Harry Crown" the best Irish hit-man around, who's hired by gang-boss Uncle Frank (O'Brien) to help him defeat his rival, Big Eddie (Bradford Dillman, COMPULSION, THE WAY WE WERE). Harry re-hooks up with sexy girlfriend Buffy (Ann Turkel), who's a 3rd Grade Teacher (!) when she isn't hanging around nightclubs. She warns him that HIS rival, Marvin "Claw" Zuckerman is also in town working for Big Eddie. "Claw," who lost his left hand because of Harry, is played by Chuck Connors (THE RIFLEMAN, THE BIG COUNTRY, SOYLENT GREEN), milking it for all it's worth. There's a scene where he shows a hooker all his prosthetic attachments worth the price of admission alone. The first half's plot set-up with the over-mannered dialog and performances eventually gives way to a standard run-of-the-mill chase and shoot-em-up programmer. There's also a ho-hum romantic subplot between Harry's young sidekick Tony (David Hall) and Uncle Frank's "adopted daughter" Baby (Kathrine Baumann). Both Turkel and Baumann are lookers, but anyone expecting any '70's gratuitous T&A will have to make-do with Richard Harris' bare derriere. Edmund O'Brien looks great as the natty gangster and gets to chew Cuban cigars and the scenery for the last time. It's sad knowing this was his final credit, he slowly succumbed to the ravages of Alzheimer's disease until his passing in 1985. Also worth noting, according to Christopher Frayling's excellent Sergio Leone biography "Something To Do With Death," the opening prolog's underwater graveyard tour was stolen from an idea the Italian master was considering as the opening of his long-gestating ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA! The anamorphic Panavision transfer looks great with nary a scratch, the only extras are theatrical and TV trailers. A strange artifact for sure, but lightens the mood considerably after watching THE NICKEL RIDE. Without his credit you'd never guess this was a John Frankenheimer film in a million years......
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... THE NICKEL RIDE in particular. Years ago I acquired a film noir encyclopedia with listings from A to Z, and this film was among those listed. For that reason alone I've been wanting to see it, and now that I have I can say unequivocally that it's no great shakes. Too bad, because I like Jason Miller as an actor, and I think he deserved better. But the film has no bite, comes across more like a made-for-tv movie from that decade (the Seventies). As for 99 AND 44/100 % DEAD: Frankenheimer tries for a spoof of the crime genre and doesn't quite pull it off. The film is quirky, goofy, but not that funny, which I think was the intention. The cast is fairly interesting, with Richard Harris, Chuck Connors and Edmond O'Brien among those carrying this picture, Worth a glimpse perhaps for its novelty appeal, but not much else to be offered here.
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on February 24, 2015
I recently purchased this double feature. Not only was the price right but the Richard Harris movie was a joy to see again. British gangster movies can be a great deal of fun to watch as this one was.
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on October 3, 2014
Two hard to find films for the price of one. I enjoyed them both, particularly Jason Miller's follow up role after "The Exorcist."
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on May 2, 2015
It was exactly what I wanted.
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