Movie Title: Death Wish (1974)
First Watch / Repeat Viewing
Running Time: 1 hr. 33 min.
Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo
Where did I watch it?: Home
Death Wish (1974) opens in Hawaii where Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) and Joanne Kersey (Hope Lange) are enjoying a nice vacation. They return to New York City where crime is reaching staggering heights. Paul returns to his architectural firm only to receive a call from his son-in-law saying that his wife and daughter have been taken to the hospital after a vicious assault. Interestingly one of the “freaks” involved in the assault is played by a very young Jeff Goldblum.
Paul’s daughter is traumatized by the event, but even more starkly Paul’s wife does not survive. Paul’s son-in-law takes his daughter out of town to get her away from the events as she spends most of her time sleeping, screaming, or in a catatonic stupor. She ends up committed to an asylum. In the mean time, Paul also takes a temporary posting to Tuscon, Arizona where he helps a new developer design a new residential community. While he is in Arizona he sees a wild west show and goes to a gun club where he develops the idea of becoming a vigilante when he returns to New York. This is assisted by the gift of a gun from a newfound friend in Arizona.
Upon returning to New York Kersey paints the town red. Because he is unable to make good on revenging his wife and daughter he becomes a vigilante and draws criminals to him in order to put them in the ground. The conclusion is very satisfying.
Despite its four middling to terrible sequels Death Wish is one of the greatest revenge flicks ever made. It is vastly superior to the recent remake starring Bruce Willis. See it.
Tomorrow’s Movie: Some Like It Hot (1959)