Frankenheimer's affinity for political subjects involving assassination, conspiracy and terrorism was proved by The Manchurian Candidate, Seven Days in May and Black Sunday, so what went so horribly wrong with this movie about Italy's Red Brigades? Rather than a viable script, it seems to be chunks from Michael Mewshaw's source novel, several of them leading nowhere, while the complicated political background is left to a university professor to pass off as conversation. The casting is dreadful, particularly smug McCarthy as the investigating American journalist, and Stone as a veteran war photographer, coiffured like one of Charlie's Angels. The Red Brigades are strictly pantomime: you expect them to carry round black fizzing bombs. Is our hero compiling a report on the revolutionaries or is he writing a novel about them? Much seems to depend upon this, though the outcome is far from clear. In short, Frankenheimer kneecaps himself.
Year of the Gun
Cast and crew