Passer's first American film is an engaging and remarkably successful, if lightweight, merger of the Czech comedy of social observation with the American police vigilante genre. It's framed against the background of a disintegrating New York residential district, whose inhabitants join the Auxiliary Police unit in an attempt to preserve a veneer of civilisation. There's a deliciously broad parody performance from Karen Black (a Monroe send-up) as a hairdresser given to slanging her customers, and Passer reveals a natural delight in perceiving the comedy inherent in all forms of pomp and ceremony. The emotional judgment is more problematic, especially in the final escalation towards tragedy; but despite its unevenness the film is refreshingly entertaining, and the blue-collar ambience is stunningly well used.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Ivan Passer, William Richert, Kenneth Harris Fishman|