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The Happening (1967) Starring Anthony Quinn

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The Happening (1967)

Starring Anthony Quinn

Four neophyte criminals get some unexpected help from their first victim in this caper comedy. A quartet of Miami Beach bohemians -- Sureshot (Michael Parks), Taurus (George Maharis), Herby (Robert Walker Jr.), and Sandy (Faye Dunaway) -- are looking for kicks and some fast money, and they hatch a scheme that they're sure will bring them both. Roc Delmonico (Anthony Quinn) is a well-known local restaurateur believed to be connected with the Mafia; the four beach bums kidnap Roc and hold him for ransom. To the surprise of the first-time kidnappers and the great annoyance of Roc, neither his wife, Monica (Martha Hyer), nor his business partners are willing to pony up 200,000 dollars to set the former gangster free. The angry Delmonico soon joins forces with his kidnappers, and with his background in crime, he advises them on how to make a hostage situation work. Roc's advice is right on the money, and the price for his safety zooms from 200,000 dollars to three million dollars. Roc's new friends are happy about this unexpected windfall, and Delmonico likes the idea of putting the screws to the so-called "friends" who let him down, but actually getting their hands on the money turns out to be far more complicated than any of them expected. The theme song from The Happening proved to be a major hit for Diana Ross & the Supremes -- in fact, a much bigger hit than the movie itself.

Director: Elliot Silverstein
Writers: Frank Pierson (screenplay) (as Frank R. Pierson), James D. Buchanan (screenplay)

Stars: Anthony Quinn, George Maharis, Michael Parks, Robert Walker, Martha Hyer, Faye Dunaway, Milton Berle, Oskar Homolka

During 'The Happening''s shoot, Robert Walker Jr. was working on two projects at the same time. The second week of filming he did double duty shooting an episode of The Time Tunnel (1966), where he played Billy the Kid.
Quinn usually did not play comic parts. His physical appearance was cruelly handsome, and it encouraged dramatic roles either as villains (as in his early roles) or as anti-heroes (Zampano in LAS STRADA) or as heroes (Zorba). He rarely played comedy. A typical early comedy part was in THE ROAD TO MOROCCO, where his evil sheik is a foil for Hope & Crosby, and his biggest joke is when his rear gets burned with a torch in a fire. Films like THE HAPPENING were rarities, where he was actually allowed to be funny.
There are some great moments of comic energy in the film. When Hyer reveals the lack of feeling she has for Quinn, she brings up the subject of the multi-million dollar showplace mansion. She and Quinn paid an interior decorator (whom Quinn could barely stand) to do the house - and he did it in modern art. It turns out neither Hyer nor Quinn like modern art. In the last act of mutual agreement they have, they smash every bit of the decor to bits, apparently enjoying the entire explosion as though it was a great sex act!
The movie is an anti-establishment story that questions the values of Middle America and the older generation.
"The Happening" became a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 when released as a single on the Motown label. Another music piece, "The Fuzz," was used by several local area TV news programs in the United States and Canada in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and is still used by Brazil's Rede Globo national newscast Jornal Nacional. The soundtrack is by De Vol is excellent.