QZ qz thoughts
a blog from Eli the Bearded

Figures in a Landscape

This was Malcolm McDowell's second film role, and came before Clockwork Orange. He is the younger guy tagging along with Robert Shaw in a cross-country escape. What they did, who exactly they are fleeing from, and where they are headed is never made clear.

This might be the original black helicopter story. Much of the pursuit of these two escapees is followed by one such helicopter.

The story is revealed slowly, and all of the background we get comes from the characters talking, which they don't do a lot of. You get a real sense of these people being in danger, in a way that movies in the 70s seemed to do better than today: you get the sense that the actors themselves are in at least some danger.

One early scene has the black helicopter attack these two guys by flying low, driving up dust and rocks to fly at them, while they run around with their hands bound behind their backs. A couple of times it looks like the helicopter comes close to hitting the actor. Another sequence has the actors working close to flames in a burning field.

There were two things in this story that struck me as odd. One was a costuming choice on the soldiers at the very end, the other is more signficant. These two are pretty good at climbing, running, survial in general, but they can't manage to remove some ropes without a knife? They never found or thought of a sharp / rough rock to cut through them? Neither one can untie the other (working behind the back)?

Three unlabeled tins of food (square are meat, large are beans, and medium is condensed milk) out of five.

Figures in a Landscape at IMDB

A Clockwork Orange at IMDB

Final thought: on those final soldiers: those sunglasses? really?