blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Badge 373 (1973, Howard W. Koch)

Robert Duvall stars in BADGE 373, directed by Howard W. Koch for Paramount Pictures.

Badge 373 sounded good because it’s seventies Robert Duvall (before he was eighties and nineties Robert Duvall). My high hopes were quickly dashed. It’s poorly written, with lousy direction.

It’s amateurish, far beneath Duvall’s abilities.

I thought Howard W. Koch was somebody–I thought it was because of the New York mayor (Ed Koch), but it’s really Howard non-W. Koch (co-screenwriter of Casablanca). It’s rather confused why I thought he was a good director. He’s not.

It doesn’t feel much like a post-Dirty Harry cop film. It’s just another one of those seventies, bigot cop movies. There’s only so much time one has for that genre.

It’s certainly the worst performance I’ve seen from Duvall in the 1970s. Though not as ludicrous as some of his nineties work.

Trying to come up with anything else to say about the film is difficult, but it’s boring and long with unlikable characters. It’s based on the life of a real cop, who achieved some notoriety as the inspiration for The French Connection. He appears in the film and is a terrible actor.

It doesn’t compare to that film in the filmmaking or the script.

Verna Bloom is in it, who I like from–not High Plains DrifterAfter Hours. It’s After Hours I’m thinking of, the film where I really like Verna Bloom.

If you were full of crap and promoting the film, you could say it was 1970s American cinéma vérité.

It’s not; it’s just really poorly made.



Directed by Howard W. Koch; screenplay by Pete Hamill, inspired by Eddie Egan; director of photography, Arthur J. Ornitz; edited by John Woodcock; music by J.J. Jackson; production designer, Philip Rosenberg; produced by Koch and Jim Di Gangi; released by Paramount Pictures.

Starring Robert Duvall (Eddie Ryan), Verna Bloom (Maureen), Henry Darrow (Sweet William), Eddie Egan (Lt. Scanlon), Felipe Luciano (Ruben Garcia), Tina Cristiani (Mrs. Caputo), Marina Durell (Rita Garcia), Chico Martínez (Frankie Diaz), Jose Duvall (Ferrer), Louis Cosentino (Gigi Caputo) and Luis Avalos (Chico).


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