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Pursuit

3.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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(Oct 19, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

What begins as the routine investigation quickly escalates into a heartstopping race to save millions from certain death in this taut and gripping thriller. Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park, ER ) makes an impressive directorial debut (The Hollywood Reporter) in this deadly cat-and-mouse game in which the stakes couldn't be higher!When government agent Steven Graves (Ben Gazzara) investigates political extremist James Wright (E.G. Marshall), he uncovers a diabolical plot to blastlethal nerve gas into San Diego during the Republican Convention. What's worse, a computer hacker (Martin Sheen) has provided Wright with a psychological profile to help him outwit Graves. As Wright ingeniously eludes Graves, can Graves find a way to stop him before the ultimate nightmare begins?

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ben Gazzara, E.G. Marshall, William Windom, Joseph Wiseman, Jim McMullan
  • Directors: Michael Crichton
  • Writers: Michael Crichton, Robert Dozier
  • Producers: Lee Rich, Robert L. Jacks
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: October 19, 2004
  • Run Time: 73 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002KPHYM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,379 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Pursuit" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"Pursuit" tells the story of a team of Government Agents trying to head off an assassination attempt on President Nixon during the 1972 Republican Convention. This ABC Movie of the Week featured the directorial debut of best-selling author Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park, Prey, The Andromeda Strain) adapting his suspense novel "Binary" (written under a psuedonym) for the small screen. Ben Gazzara and Martin Sheen star with a brief appearance by E.G. Marshall as the bad-guy industrialist behind the plot. "Pursuit" also features a score by the late Jerry Goldsmith, who went on to write music for many of Crichton's feature films.
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How this movie doesn't get more acclaim is strange.

The prophetic and imaginative Michael Crichton ("Andromeda Strain",
"Coma", "WestWorld" directs his own screenplay. Michael Crichton had a
prescience in his vision and this movie is no exception. Getting hung
up on setting the movie "in the future" never presented a dilemma for
Crichton. He just uses contemporary settings to bring the movie closer
to home. The technology may be beyond our means, but it still affects
us all today.

The movie stars brilliant and eclectic Ben Gazzara ("The Killing of a
Chinese Bookie", "The Big Lebowski"), Storied great E.G. Marshall ("12
Angry Men", "Creepshow"), Prolific Martin Sheen ("Apocalypse Now", "The
Dead Zone") and Television guest star William Windom ("Star Trek: The
Doomsday Machine", "Escape from the Planet of The Apes").

The musical score is even composed by composer-great Jerry Goldsmith.

The story revolves around a political activist-millionaire-terrorist
who steals a large supply of nerve gas and threatens to release it in
San Diego, which is hosting the Republican National Convention.

Sounds simple. The movie is really thrilling for a TV Movie, the story
has a familiar contemporary feel, the acting and musical score are
good, although the acting has that "understated 70s" style to it.
The movie was filmed in early 1970s San Diego and for anybody who
loves or lives in San Diego (like me), the movie is a great archive
piece to record how San Diego was 40 years ago. Much more watchable
than "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes".

Could the movie have been better? Sure it could. It suffered from
low-budget syndrome. Michael Crichton's visionary writing shakes most
of the deficiencies the move has and makes this a great
TV-Special...certainly one of my top 10-made for TV Movies of all time.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Michael Crichton's first directorial effort came in the form of Pursuit, a television film made 1972. Following the critical acclaim garnered with the Robert Wise production of The Andromeda Strain (1971), Crichton decided to give directing a go, adapting the novel Binary (written by Crichton under a pseudonym).

The telemovie stars E.G. Marshall as a political extremist who plans to spread stolen nerve gas in a city where a political convention is being held. Government agents (Ben Gazzara and William Windom) are sent to catch him. Although a talented actor, Gazzara turns in a rather uninspired performance, with the only notable accolades going to Marshall and Joseph Wiseman as Dr. Nordman.

The film which could have been a powerhouse thriller (even Jerry Goldsmith, who has scored many blockbuster films delivers a lacklustre score) becomes a contrived work with mediocre script, poor action sequences and a downright lack of suspense.

In fact, the best thing about the film was the DVD cover from MGM, what looks like a great film really plays out like a two part episode of MacGyver, with an embarassingly shabby restoration by MGM (rivals that of their restoration of Force 10 from Navarone).
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The book (entitled Binary) was great, suspenseful and kept me reading. In fact, while I was reading it I kept thinking it would make a great film. Then, while surfing through Amazon's recommendations based on my previous purchases (I had purchased Coma and The Great Train Robbery - both are good solid films directed by Crichton) I saw this. Due to the DVD case art I was expecting a great movie. I was unfortunately disappointed with both the acting and script. It almost makes me sad that Crichton, himself, directed this. The story is good and could make a great movie. This is one of those that I wished Hollywood would adapt and set in the present day. It would make a good thriller.

My advice, skip the film, but read the book.
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Format: DVD
Most ABC Movies of the Week back in the 1970s were pretty forgettable stuff, but a few were worthy of being preserved via DVD releases. Those would obviously include "Brian's Song"; "The Night Stalker" and its sequel, "The Night Strangler"; ...and "Pursuit".

I remember being impressed enough with the movie that I went looking for the book by "John Lange" (really Michael Crichton). The book certainly has a better name -- "Binary" -- and despite the fact that it's a fast read, it's more detailed and intense. The movie made from it is suspenseful enough, though. The plot involves a cat-and-mouse game between a driven intelligence agent and his quarry, an extremist millionaire hatching a deadly plot. As the film begins, and throughout, we see a running countdown clock...although for quite a while we don't know what it's counting down toward. It turns out that the millionaire fanatic has much, much bigger plans than just a simple bomb or an assassination, though it's up to the intelligence agent, Steven Graves, to figure out just what it is the madman is up to. And even when Graves has figured it out, it looks like there may be no way to stop it.

I found the acting adequate, by several familiar 1970s TV faces, including Ben Gazzara, William Windom, E. G. Marshall and Martin Sheen. But this is a puzzle mystery, and by its nature that sort of limits the acting range to things like Marshall's smug vanity and Gazzara's intensity and frustration.

The movie transfer is poor and looks muddy. Better than an old VHS tape I had of this movie, but not by much. To my surprise, there are captions, however, for those who need them.

Now if somebody would just release another outstanding Movie of the Week: "A Cold Night's Death".
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