Most helpful critical review
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Nice, forgotten movie
on August 2, 2011
In recent years, a few of the major studios have launched DVD-on-demand branches for many of their library titles that do not necessarily warrant a full commercial home video release. Warner Home Video has their "Archive Collection," and Sony has the "Columbia Classics" division. Basically, for around $20, you can order a DVD of one of these hard-to-find movies online through Amazon or directly from company. The discs are then individually manufactured as they are ordered.
Releasing their Limited Edition titles through 20th Century-Fox, MGM's initial foray into the DVD-on-demand market last spring was plagued with problems. Customer complaints about defective discs and lousy transfers were blamed on CreateSpace, the Amazon.com subsidiary that was contracted to fill the orders. But last fall, MGM re-launched the program with a new company, Allied Vaughn, manufacturing the DVD-R's. If the current release of the 1973 pickpocket movie, HARRY IN YOUR POCKET, is any indication, the quality control issues have been put to rest.
Filmed on location in Seattle, Salt Lake City and Victoria, Canada, HARRY IN YOUR POCKET focuses on the inner workings of a pickpocket team. Charismatic movie star James Coburn portrays the title character as a smooth-as-silk professional. His longtime partner in crime, Casey, is played by veteran British thespian, Walter Pidgeon, who was in his mid-seventies when this film was made. Joining their criminal enterprise are greenhorns Ray (recently deceased Michael Sarrazin) and Sandy (Trish Van Devere).
The film was produced and directed by Bruce Geller, a veteran TV writer/producer from the early 1950's through the mid-1970's, when his life and career were cut short in a small plane crash. Among Geller's most notable television work was the creation of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE. In HARRY IN YOUR POCKET, Geller was obviously going for something hipper than what he could get away with on TV. The location shooting gives the film a nice feeling of veracity, and the performances - especially by Coburn and Pidgeon - are coolly effective. The examination of the inner workings of pickpockets, the techniques and terminology, is one of the film's main attractions.
But HARRY IN YOUR POCKET's script by veteran TV writers James D. Buchanan and Ronald Austin is a bit wan and thin. The bottom line is, not a lot really goes on in the film, and the characters feel like they could use some fleshing out. Making the aged Casey the one with a cocaine habit is an unexpected twist, but too much of the film is dominated by shots of people coming and going. And after a few montage sequences of our anti-heroes working together as a finely tuned team lifting wallets on city streets, I was longing for something more to keep me engaged.
Still, making rarely seen, often forgotten movies available to an interested audience is something that should be fully supported. And if the quality of presentation on HARRY IN YOUR POCKET is an indication of the respect with which these films are treated, then let's hope the MGM Limited Edition Collection keeps up the good work.