The Mackintosh Man
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2002
The simplicity of this movie sets it apart from modern spy movies. The hero (Newman) is given little to work with in terms of information or equipment is forced to problem-solve in a way that makes him seem much more genuine than a James Bond type of character. Similarily the villians are much more realistic and multi-dimensional, as well. It feels more plausible that the big chase scene is between little utility truck and a run-of-the-mill mid-sixties Mercedes sedan than a couple of sports cars. Further the writers resisted the temptation to have the hero kill everyone that he was in conflict with. Even the way the villagers discuss the events up at the mansion adds a sense reality that most action films leave out.
The film has a rainy day in a far-away land feel about it which is complimented by the haunting music. In many ways this movie reminds me of the "Day of the Jackal" and "The Odessa File" in it's controlled scope and tasteful direction.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2003
A real no-nonsense spy thriller, in the same style as The Man Who Came In From The Cold, which is probably the BEST. Paul Newman really outdid himself with this film. Althogh his accent was lacking at times, he is very believable as one of those real heroes, from the cold war era. After all, here is a guy who allows himself to be thrown into a foreign prison, just to break out, with enemies he does not know. The courage involved, is off the charts, and Newman makes you believe that he is doing it because . . . well, simply because he is asked to do so. Without giving too much away, allow me to point out to those who have missed this classic to date; that the ending is right from the archives at the CIA. Decisions, behaviors, and reactions are all to real, and that is what places this film above the others of this genre. The music is also tremendous, with a very haunting theme that is repeated throughout, and yet never becomes repetitive; due to arrangements, instruments, and simply because it is always welcome, given the continuous perils the lead character is thrust into. This is a testatment of what brains, not gadgets, can do.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
This is my all time favorite Paul Newman movie. Great fun, just to watch those english actors is a treat.
The background music adds to the mystique. I like this movie so much I've given away 3 copies to friends.
At the time of it's release the critics gave it a poor review,but what do they know?
John Keaveny.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2010
One of my top ten favorite films. I disagree with some other reviews here that Newman is out of his element. I thought Newman was great! I've tried to envision a famous British actor playing Newman's character, and it just won't work. His acting abilities add a lot to the film. I do agree with other reviewers that the British supporting actors are all excellent and worth a look on their own. Yes, the music is perfect. Goodness, gracious, folks! Look what you've got here: a prison breakout, a spectacular Irish mansion, Malta, a beautiful girl, and James Mason and his yacht! It's perfect. What more could you want? I will say, on that Irish mansion, I previously had this movie on VHS and when I put it on pause to freeze the fire sequence, the film shook on the screen so I couldn't tell if the mansion was real or not. What a shame to burn down such a beautiful place, I thought. But in this DVD version, I can freeze it and determined it was not a real place...just built to burn down by the moviemakers. Still, that haunting setting with the house alone on the bog and that music as Newman flees away...really, really great. As for the final ending, hey, folks, it's an espionage movie. You're not supposed to figure it out right away. Think about it and watch it again. It gets better every time I watch it, the sign of a truly great movie. You can feel that Irish air. I love this movie. If you haven't seen it, you need to. One of the great sleepers of all time, straight to you from the golden age of movie-making when the stars were REAL MOVIE STARS. Don't miss this one.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2010
Don't pay any attention to the critics reviews. This film is not unflawless but it's a good film. How many films are perfect? not too many i think!! So , Like Paul newman in this role as a Undercover Agent who is asked by MacKintosh ( His Boss) to steal Jewels. Well, Newman completes the Heist succesfully but is quickly captured and sent to prison. Eventually as you would expect , he is busted out of prison along with a communist spy who was in jail with him. When newman is taken to his refuge. he finds himself in Ireland. Now this On Location filming in Ireland is brilliant!! the scenery is cold and desolate and eerie. When Newnman escapes from his so called rescuers there is a cool chase with newman burning down a mansion and then running through the hills of Ireland being chased by thugs and a guard dog. the haunting musical score is outstanding. james Mason is a spy who Newman is on the verge of revealing. Dominique sanda is just so - so as Newman's mild love interest and Undercover partner. Not a perfect film by any means but certainly worth watching!! And I bought the DVD !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2013
I wasn't sure what to expect with this film, but as it features two of my favorite actors James Mason and Paul Newman - I thought I'd take a chance.

THE MACKINTOSH MAN is a slow (albeit, measured-paced) film by today's standards, but it is a pretty good espionage/spy thriller with enough psychological twists and turns to keep the viewer guessing the movie's ultimate outcome. The film opens with James Mason's character "Sir George Wheeler" a (so-called) conservative giving a speech before Parliament which actually sets the tone for the whole film - "Dr. Johnson said that "Patriotism was the last refuge of a scoundrel". If this is true, you see before you a villain - unmasked and unashamed. Except that with 'me', patriotism is NOT a refuge, it is a proud vantage point on which I take my stand. And certainly it was never last, but always, thoughout my 25 years as a member of Parliament 'always' first!...But today we face a subtler and potentially much more dangerous enemy. We MUST seek, my friends, to fight ALL those who seek to undermine our British quality and way of life....even 'if' they are weak-kneed men in our own high places."

Seated in the audience listening to this very self-righteous exhortation is none other than "Angus Mackintosh" (played by Harry Andrews) who has long suspected that Wheeler's speeches are less than geniune and is suspicious of his political allegiances. Mackintosh later solicits British Intelligence officer "Joseph Reardon" (Paul Newman) - who is trained to blend in and infiltrate when called upon to do so - into a covert operation designed to get to the bottom of things and expose Wheeler for the fraud that he is, not to mention his criminal activities!

There are some beautiful shots of Ireland and Malta - locations where the film finishes up. (On a humerous note: I think Paul Newman was suppose to have some sort of British or Australian (?) accent in the film, which honestly, didn't sound quite right coming out of his mouth - but it only lasts about a half hour - after that, he's back to his beautiful 'blue-eyed' self! ;o) James Mason gives his usual great performance.

The picture quality looks great in HD!
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
For some reason Paul Newman and international intrigue never hit it off. In The Prize (Mark Robson, 1963), a story of skullduggery at the Nobel Prize ceremonies, complete with kidnappings, violence and romance, Newman looks petulant and sounds whiney. The movie's style echoes Charade and To Catch a Thief, but Newman is definitely no Cary Grant. In Torn Curtain (Alfred Hitchcock, 1966), where a killing is brutal and lengthy, betrayal and capture is a real possibility but where tension is lacking, Newman usually looks irritable and uncomfortable. Torn Curtain isn't much of a movie and Newman disliked his experience working with Hitchcock, but Newman's performance is flat and perfunctory.

With the Mackintosh Man, a story of Cold War intrigue, treason and dangerous escapes, Newman doesn't break his pattern. He gives a performance that, for me, seems commonplace. It's not all his fault. The screenplay by Walter Hill, undoubtedly with a lot of input from director John Huston, is unnecessarily complicated and abrupt. Worse, Huston's direction, in my opinion, is careless and sloppy. Relationships in the movie aren't made clear. There's no subtlety. Details get lost. There's a long, pointless car chase. At times Newman looks like he's all by himself, acting in a vacuum. Much of the movie was filmed in Ireland during Huston's long Irish squire period. One assumes this was the primary reason Huston did the film. He could get great tax write-offs; he was where he enjoyed being; the Irish loved having him there...and he evidently didn't want to be bothered by working too hard.

So why watch the movie? Well, if you're a fan of the adventure novels of Desmond Bagley, you'll know The Mackintosh Man is based on Bagley's The Freedom Trap. For some reason I get a little nostalgic, even while I'm either bored or irritated by the movie, knowing this. The book, as nearly all of Bagley's novels are, is a superior read with careful, tricky plotting, good writing and protagonists you can come to like. The second reason is James Mason. He plays a slippery fellow you'd better not trust too far. Mason is a movie in himself, as he usually was in all of his films. It's a delight to observe just how good he was. The third reason is the large number of first-rate British character actors that populate the movie. Some have significant roles, others are on and off quickly. Here are a few, and they're all memorable...Harry Andrews, Ian Bannen, Michael Hordern, Nigel Patrick, Peter Vaughan, Roland Culver, Percy Herbert, Niall MacGinnis, Noel Purcell, and Leo Genn. The movie may be confusingly written and carelessly directed, Newman may seem out of place, but you can't beat the cast.

Newman plays Joe Reardon, a tough crook tossed into a British high security prison for 20 years. Eventually he hooks up with a gang that runs an escape operation for long-term prisoners. They get you over the wall and to another country. They can get Reardon out if he pays their high price. Others have gone before. He agrees and out he goes, with another prisoner who is a traitor. By gum, we find out Reardon really is working with British counter-intelligence. High-level traitors are being sprung from the prison and winding up in a transit pipeline to the Soviet Union by way of Malta. Could an aristocratic member of parliament, Sir George Wheeler (Mason), be involved? Does the beautiful Mrs. Smith (Dominque Sanda) really care for Joe or is she playing her own game? Can Newman ever show he's tough without sounding sarcastic? Could a dramatic shoot-out at the climax be more self-consciously staged and directed?

Read Bagley's The Freedom Trap, then see the movie. You'll like, I hope, the story in the book, and you'll like the actors in the movie.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2009
A number of the other reviewers complain that this movie is too complicated. Not sure what to say about that. It's no more complicated than other movies of this type. The Third Man, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold ...these were no less complicated and are considered classics. I have always wished that Newman had done more movies like this. It is refreshing to see him be the hero in a movie, instead of some other version of egomaniac or smart-a$$. This is more consistent with the charitable person that he really was.

There are some inconsistencies in this movie. Rapid dry clothing...The police racing away from the harbor after he jumps into it...Hence only 4 stars. Additionally, the female lead is positively wooden. Miss Sanja is a pretty girl that should have stuck to modeling.

What this movie has that most don't, is a real sense of loneliness. The vacant Irish landscape is a metaphore for the protagonist's life..out alone in a harsh landscape. I've travelled quite a bit, and know that thrilling loneliness. It's very 60's european, but has the same feeling of landing alone in China, when everyone is still asleep on a Sunday morning.

The car chase is very good, using two run of the mill rides. It's not as flashy as racing through downtown Paris in BMW's, but being free of collateral damage makes it seem more plausable that life could just go on afterward. It goes nicely with the gents at the bar gossiping about the unusual event happening the night before. One might imagine the next day's conversation regarding the poor fellows who missed the turn at the top of the cliff.
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on July 29, 2012
Although it could have been more romance, the Mackintosh Man sets Paul Newman against the directing talents of John Huston.

Set in England during the cold war years of the 1970s, the Mackintosh Man (Paul Newman) must match wits with conspirators more interested in taking one of their own from an English prison (Ian Bannen, of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) for delivery behind the Iron Curtain. Mackintosh figures Newman into the scheme by getting him sent to prison (for twenty years). This gets Newman in 'right' and he does have the necessary money to pay the Iron Curtain fare, from a notorious jewel robbery. However, he must work to figure something better for assurances sake.

Of great importance is the antagonist, James Mason, a member of Parliament for twenty-five years; powerful, politically popular but exceedingly evil.

Mackintosh's daughter (Dominique Sanda) helps direct Newman through the maze, and both seem in good shape until Mackintosh dies.

The film is partly set in Ireland where John Huston resided for many years. Special features are THE MAN, THE MYTH, THE MOVIE-MAKER, and very interesting.
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on January 28, 2015
I always search out the films of John Huston and a fan of Paul Newman as well. I was an assistant manager at a movie theater while in college and we played this film. I saw it a few times while we had it and thought it was okay. As the years passed it was one of those films I wanted to see again, if only to revisit. I haven't seen it on cable and I didn't have a VHS tape of it so purchasing it on Amazon with a gift card was a good deal. The Mackintosh Man was a spy film when spy films had become passé but I found it entertaining, and have watched a couple of times since I bought it a few years ago. While not a great film, for Newman fans and Huston fans it is well worth viewing.
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