McGoohan's Hard Way

Saturday, 21 March 2009 12:58

Acting heavyweights Patrick McGoohan (The Prisoner) and Lee Van Cleef (“The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”) star in the psychological thriller “The HARD WAY”. Executive produced by John Boorman (“Excalibur”), it portrays the life of the mercenary assassin - transitory and violent, they roam the world in packs, feeding off obscure political upsets, war and the general shabby consequences of man’s appetite for destruction and power.

Many are loners. Patrick McGoohan is John Connor, and he is one such man. One of the world’s top hit men, he has grown weary of watching men die. The anonymous hotel rooms, wet streets and ever-present fear of a tap on the door in the dead of night, have led him to retire and settle down in Ireland. But ‘The Co-Ordinator’ McNeal (Van Cleef) has other ideas.

The Hard Way DVDThe DVD release of this title comes 30 years after its original debut, and many fans believe that McGoohan’s appearance in this modest movie is one of his finest roles ever. The plot builds slowly to its climax – dialogue is frugal, and the action almost intrusive.

In one scene, McGoohan gently menaces his ‘handler’ McNeal, resisting attempts at persuasion with a quiet, stubborn resolve. Kathleen (Edna O’Brien) is John Connor’s estranged wife, and she punctuates the movie with a commentary that fills in much about the background of Connor, although by the end we still feel that we hardly knew him. The other star of the movie is the Irish countryside – the beauty of the surroundings at odds with the depressing world inhabited by the protagonists of the film.

A taught thriller with career-defining performances, the film makes use of Brian Eno’s innovative readymade soundtrack “Music for Films”, with ‘Patrollng Wire Borders’ and ‘Events in Dense Fog’.  Also featured is a track by violinist Tommy Potts, ‘The Dear Irish Boy’.

Enter this unforgiving and merciless twilight world at your own peril, but rest assured that the end result is very rewarding – a movie equivalent of a Joy Division album.

“The Hard Way” has a ‘15’ certificate, a running time of 90 minutes approx, and a RRP of £14.99, or less from


Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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