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Sitting Target


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Editorial Reviews

A killer has one more victim on his hit list – his faithless wife! Oliver Reed (Oliver!) snarls and seethes his way through a brute-force 70’s crime thriller in the tradition of Get Carter. Douglas Hickox, who would go on to helm such memorable films as Theatre of Blood and Zulu Dawn, brings his filmmaking intensity to a story of revenge set in a London as bleak and brooding as the prison from which convicted killer Harry Lomart (Reed) and his fellow inmate (Ian McShane, Deadwood) escape. Once free, Harry sets out to exterminate his seductive wife (Jill St. John), who carries another man’s child. Armed with a handgun, fueled by rage, Harry draws closer to his sitting target. Also closing in: a police inspector (Edward Woodward, The Equalizer), who’s determined to protect the hunted woman. Reed and McShane – one grim, one voluble, and both steeped in violence -- make an intimidating tough-guy team.

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Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Oliver Reed, Jill St. John, Ian Mcshane, Edward Woodward, Frank Finlay
  • Directors: Douglas Hickox
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Archive
  • DVD Release Date: September 11, 2012
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00991164U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,965 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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4 star
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See all 10 customer reviews
Nasty in a very good way.
David Alianiello
Its inconceivable to me that this film was overlooked the way it was because it matches those titles plus any that followed afterward.
William Amazzini
Oliver Reed and Jill St. John are part of the excellent cast in this movie resembling North American action and/or con flicks.
Dwight Logan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By V. Risoli on October 16, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Warner Archive has released MGM's 1972 British actioner, "Sitting Target" starring Oliver Reed and Ian McShane in a kind of buddy picture that suffers from a lack of morals as a lot of British films were prone to from the mid-sixties. In Britain, unlike "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," the buddies eventually turn on one another as a twist. Not very sporting. And the violence ala Peter Collinson (this was after 1967's "The Penthouse" and 1969's "The Italian Job" and 1971's "Fright") is brought to the screen as directed by Douglas Hickox who had previously directed the film version of Joe Orton's comedy "Entertaining Mr. Sloane" and would later direct "Theatre of Blood" and "Zulu Dawn." And as in Britain in 1971 when Sam Peckinpah delivered "Straw Dogs" we learned a lesson through the violence. Here we only know that "vengeance is the Lord's" ultimately, and we knew that from the beginning, but wanted to sit through it. Jill St. John, the leading lady who never really became an actress through the years is cast as Reed's faithless wife and object of his revenge, including a rather unconvincing and prolonged escape from prison. It adds to the thrill factor that she has repeatedly been the dumb sexpot movie star on borrowed time (her British accent comes and goes) and she will get what she deservedly deserves. The Warner Archive edition is in widescreen 16 x 9 and is in Metrocolor with outstanding music by Stanley Myers and features a TV spot trailer. Well photographed by Ted Scaife. The transfer is good and now what we expect from Warner Archive. Hopefully they can release a flood of those quality pictures out there that have never been released on DVD or home video before. Looking over the output lately, one has to be somewhat suspect of taking a chance on an unknown commodity. This is good but a bit disturbing. Probably more appealing now than when first released. Supposedly in the "Get Carter" tradition.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By David Alianiello on November 13, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I caught "Sitting Target" a few times on cable TV many years ago and have been looking for a DVD release ever since, so it is with great delight that I see Warners is producing this film as one of their made-on-demand discs. Very much a product of its time, "Sitting Target" is a brutal British thriller in which an imprisoned criminal (Oliver Reed) breaks out to kill his unfaithful wife (Jill St. John). Nasty in a very good way. I will be ordering this today!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Raegan Butcher on March 26, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is an under appreciated gem. The critics, wrong-headed as always, lambasted it when it was first released. For some reason, the popular consensus names the vastly overrated "Get Carter" as the crime classic from that era. But for my money "Sitting Target" blows it away. Oliver Reed is seriously bad ass in this,like a man possessed. His brooding presence hangs over every frame. His character is, on the surface, a malevolent brute, yet he managed to bring some depth to the part; I felt the sadness, the tragedy, when it all ended. His character did, after all, love his wife. Bravo.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William Amazzini on September 9, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
After experiencing Director Douglas Hickox's riveting revenge thriller 'SITTING TARGET'-1972, I sat back in my chair scratching my head trying to figure out why this film is completely overlooked and forgotten to this day. British thrillers were sprouting up stateside few and far between during the late sixties/early seventies and critics were noticing the standouts such as Director Nicholas Roeg's 'PERFORMANCE'-1970 and Director Mike Hodges's 'GET CARTER'-1971. Its inconceivable to me that this film was overlooked the way it was because it matches those titles plus any that followed afterward. It has outstanding performances by Oliver Reed (so intense that he almost shatters the camera lens) and Ian McShane (long before his turns on the TV series 'LOVEJOY ' and HBO's 'DEADWOOD'); a great jazzy score by Stanley Myers; beautiful photography by one of Britain's best Edward Scaife who also did Director Basil Dearden's 'KHARTOUM'-1966, Director Robert Aldrich's 'THE DIRTY DOZEN'-1967 and Director Burt Kennedy's masterpiece 'HANNIE CAULDER' -1971 among others; and rat-a-tat editing by future James Bond Director John Glen. Reed is sentenced to a 15 year stretch but when his wife pulls a surprise visit confessing her infidelity and pregnancy (not his), he vows to kill both her and her beau, suffice it to say it is a great 93 minute roller coaster ride. Along for the ride are cameos by Edward Woodward, Frank Finlay, Freddie Jones, and beautiful sixties model Jill Townsend. The only thorn is actress Jill St. John who seems out of sorts and who's role should have been given to a British actress such as Susan George. I am not knocking Jill's perf, it just doesn't fit this film. Director Hickox would go on to direct one of Horror master Vincent Price's best films 'THEATRE OF BLOOD' the following year. Warner Archive once again saves an excellent film from oblivion by presenting it it in a crisp 1.85 transfer with an original trailer its only extra.
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Format: DVD
It’s strange that even with the huge revival in interest in British gangster movies in the late 90s, Douglas Hickox’s nihilist-to-the-max Sitting Target has never developed much of a reputation outside of a very, very small cult following you could probably fit in a bus shelter on a particularly quiet country lane. While it’s not in the same league as Get Carter or Performance, it is a terrific little thriller that may not add up to much but does what it does with a lot more style and intensity than you’d expect, especially if you’re familiar with the director’s more conventional later films like Brannigan and Zulu Dawn. Here he brings an often strikingly imaginative visual sense to this defiantly amoral and unsentimental revenge thriller that sees Oliver Reed’s brutish armed robber break out of prison with Ian McShane to kill his wife, Jill St. John (sporting an impressive but occasionally erratic English accent), after he finds out that she has taken up with another man and got pregnant. At times he pushes it a little too far into arthouse territory and it does suffer from some poor greenscreen work in some of the car scenes, but for the most part it makes a fairly simple plot come up surprisingly fresh, with the big central setpiece that sees Reed pursued through clotheslines by two motorcycle cops particularly memorable. There’s a decent supporting cast – a fairly restrained Freddie Jones, Frank Finlay, Tony Beckley, Robert Beatty, Randall and Hopkirk [Deceased]’s Mike Pratt and even EastEnders Dot Cotton herself, June Brown, among them – but with the possible exception of Edward Woodward’s underemployed cop assigned to protect St John, nobody is likeable and betrayal is the name of the game. Yet despite the lack of anyone to root for it’s a surprisingly gripping and effective thriller that’s certainly ripe for discovery.
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