The Hot Rock

1972. Directed by the great Peter Yates.

THE SHOT: Robert Redford et alia steal a diamond from a museum, but have a hard time keeping ahold of it.  They must plan and execute four different capers in the course of the movie.

TONE: Light, high-spirited 70s realism.  Redford breezy and effortlessly charming in the lead, much more so than he is in The Sting, where he comes off as pretty but forced.  George Segal, Ron Leibman, Paul Sand, Zero Mostel and Moses Gunn are the colorful eccentrics who provide ethnic New Yorkness to Redford’s WASPy charisma.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Helicopter ride, featuring the World Trade Center under construction.

Paul Sand steals every scene he’s in.  What happened to him?

Downtown Theater pillar George Bartinieff appears as a museum guard, as well as (what’s this?) Christopher Guest (really?  Christopher Guest?  Is that even possible?).

Robert Weil is back as a safety-deposit-box guy, as is Lee Wallace (he plays the Mayor in Pelham, a role he would repeat in Batman, 17 years later).

This was one of my favorite movies when I was 11 years old.  I remember the first time it was on TV; back in the days before VCRs, you had to reserve TV time in our family to see what you wanted to see.  I told my mom that I wanted to make sure to see The Hot Rock months in advance, and when it finally came on, she was stunned to find it was a caper film.  She had thought it was going to be a rock music documentary.

DOES CRIME PAY?  Eventually, yes.
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4 Responses to “The Hot Rock”
  1. eronanke says:

    Lord, you’re on a role!
    Slow down, I can’t rent them fast enough to comment intelligently! 🙂

  2. craigjclark says:

    Two things:

    1) Christopher Guest was active with the National Lampoon in the early ’70s (appearing in the stage show Lemmings and on The National Lampoon Radio Hour), so yes, he was around. He also played a bit part as a cop in Death Wish a couple years later.

    2) Will crime pay in the caper film you’re evidently warming up to write?