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Rating History

The War Lover
The War Lover (1962)
15 years ago via Flixster
½

The Story

Buzz Rickson (McQueen) is a brilliant but volatile US airforce pilot stationed in England during WWII. His intense personality and maverick attitude leads to tensions running high in his crew, but they respect his skills and trust him in battle more than any other pilot in the squadron. His co-pilot, Ed Bolland (Robert Wagner), also sticks by his side through it all, but the two ultimately find themselves at odds over one critical and devastating decision, and they enter into their own private war, as they develop combatative romantic interests in a beautiful English woman (Shirley Anne Field).

Bolland and Rickson in the air.


McQueen's Performance

Steve McQueen was intense and commanding in this performance as an angry and dangerous young man on the edge. This role got him some good reviews early in his career.

Trivia

While filming in England McQueen was racing high performance cars on the countries well known racing tracks. The studio tried to put a stop to this by telling him that if he had an accident (which would have meant the end of the film) he would be sued the cost of the films production (3 Million dollars). This didn't stop McQueen. Not only did he continue racing on the local tracks, but he had a near death track accident, which luckily only resulted in a badly cut and restitched lip. The director filmed around the injury, allowing him to wear his pilots helmet in certain scenes to cover it up.

The Hunter
The Hunter (1980)
15 years ago via Flixster
½

McQueen plays 'real life' bounty hunter Ralph 'Papa' Thorsen.
The plot includes Papa having to reluctantly deal with impending fatherhood, a dangerous 'job'and a vengeful psycho.

Kathryn Harrold provides solid acting support as Papa's wife 'Dotty'.

Eli Wallach is in typically great form as Bail Lender 'Ritchie Blumenthal', who provides 'Papa' with the job of hunting down a particulary unpleasant Bail Jumper, and character actor Tracey Walter is deliciously weird as the vengeful psycho. McQueen regular Ben Johnson also appears in his final on screen scene with McQueen as 'Sheriff Strong'.
Memorable scenes include a classic TransAm chase/trashing sequence...

McQueen was visibly effected by the cancer which killed him in this film but he still produced a warm and often amusing performance.
Some critics pan The Hunter, but it really needs to be put in perspective....

The first time I saw The Hunter was on TV, and long before I became a McQueen fan. I found it to be an enjoyable 'light' film with some great humour, good character development and brilliant car chase scenes. When I rewatched it years later, after watching McQueen's BEST films, I found it a bit disappointing. The point is that for somebody expecting 'PRIME' McQueen it may not deliver, but it is still 'overall' an enjoyable film.

Tom Horn
Tom Horn (1980)
15 years ago via Flixster
½

The Story.
McQueen plays 'real life' bounty hunter Tom Horn.
Fresh out of the wilds of the west, Horn, an experienced 'Rough Rider' under Teddy Roosevelt, and agent for the Pinkertons, enters newly civilised Wyoming territory. He is soon hired by the local cattlemans federation to rid the area of cattle thieves, and given the mandate to do 'whatever it takes' with their approval, and the approval of the local 'law', in the form of US Marshall Joe Belle, (a man with his own violent past).
A deadly accurate shot...
He tries to take a peaceful approach to his job, but when the local criminal elements turn violent on him, they unleash a devastating whirlwind of gunplay and death from a man who has lived his life in the most exteme and dangerous elements of the west. We are shocked and overwhealmed by the brutality of Horn's actions, as they escalate to a public killing in the streets of the town which has hired him to do it's dirty work. The locals don't like seeing what there dollar is paying for, and this leads to the films powerful second half. The attempt to destroy Horn. This second half is compelling and painful to watch, as we see a man who has no grasp of the civilisation he has helped to create, railroaded by it towards his almost certain death.
McQueen and Linda Evans.
The action scenes in this movie are extemely powerful, and the build in violent tension is brilliantly done, all the while never falling into the trap of glamourising itself. Stuntwork with horses is also brilliant. McQueen's own horsemanship skills are seen at their finest in this film, as we see him riding and shooting, and even 'backing' a horse out of a confrontation, so that he can keep his eyes on his opponents. The film is given depth and emotional resonance through Horn's romance with the local school teacher (played by Linda Evans), and his friendship with local cattleman John C Coble (played by Richard Farnsworth).
An Unrealised Epic
Tom Horn was originally intended to be much more epic in scope, and in a recent interview James Coburn said that he believed Tom Horn would have been McQueen's finest film, had McQueen's vision been released.
Unfortunately McQueen's true vision never got released, because the production company pulled the budget out from under him, and butchered the film in the editing room.

We see clear hint's of the storyline being rushed or compacted, particularly early on in the film's first scenes, but once the story gets going, in spite of this, it still manages to be extremely compelling. Nonetheless, we are left wondering, IF McQueen's version had been made, how much greater and richer a film it would have been.

The film has excellent performances by all players