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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Lady Ice (Blu-ray)
Lady Ice (Blu-ray)
Scorpion Releasing // PG // October 23, 2018 // Region A
List Price: $17.49 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Stuart Galbraith IV | posted February 19, 2019 | E-mail the Author
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Despite its good cast, Lady Ice (1973) is a dreary romantic crime thriller from producer-director Tom Gries, who exhibited much early promise working with Charlton Heston on three nearly back-to-back films. Will Penny (1968) is an excellent, elegiac Western, while the nearly forgotten Number One (1969) is an underrated portrait of an aging football quarterback. The Hawaiians (1970), a more standard historical epic, is nonetheless entertaining and well-made.

Soon after, however, Gries seemed to lose his way. He had better luck returning to television, where he'd first made his name as the creator of The Rat Patrol. Gries's later TV work (e.g., Helter Skelter) was far more interesting than later theatrical features. Even working with Charles Bronson at the peak of his stardom didn't help: Breakout and Breakheart Pass (both 1975) are among that actor's least interesting films.

Lady Ice is basically a role-reversal Thomas Crown Affair (1968), with Donald Sutherland playing an undercover insurance company investigator as Faye Dunaway had in the earlier film, with Jennifer O'Neill essaying the Steve McQueen part of the chic criminal trying to fence half a million dollars in precious jewels. The main problem with Lady Ice is that it has no consistent tone or point of view. Sometimes it goes for a MASH-like irreverence, at other times it's serious, and the Harold Clemens-Alan Trustman script never gets inside the head of either character. By the end I didn't care who'd ultimately get the jewels, get rich, go to prison or die. I just wanted it to end.

So what is the movie about? Damned if I can remember. I usually write reviews the day after I see ‘em, but in this case a sudden root canal, a wife's case of influenza and other factors delayed writing it this time and, frankly, the film made so little an impression I now can barely recall the plot. Andy Harmon (Sutherland) starts out undercover pretending to be a cocky, antiauthoritarian high-end car mechanic. The car operation is apparently just a front for an international diamond fencing operation headed by Eddie Stell (busy TV actor Jon Cypher) and his wayward girlfriend, Paula Booth (O'Neill), using her father's (Northern Ireland actor Patrick Magee) business. The father, Paul, is anxious to go legit, but she's turned on by the intrigue and risk of getting caught, or something.

Andy and Paula soon fall for one another, despite being on opposite sides of the law, and Andy clearly wants to persuade Paula to go straight, though the high of the thrill is, for her, a narcotic. Not that any of this is delved into with any depth of real seriousness. Instead the movie is a string of pointless vignettes: a mild car chase or two, Sutherland being irreverent, Eric Braeden (as Paula's Bahamian connection) acting suave in his usual manner, Robert Duvall slumming as a detective annoyed by Andy's methods, etc.

This is one of those pictures where, when at about the halfway point one sort of gives up any hope that it'll get better, attention is turned to other production details. In this case it's the movie's use of Miami locations, less obvious ones than most films, and the mild interest in studying what southern Florida circa 1972-73 was like.

What's frustrating, of course, is there's a lot of talent packed into the picture: Sutherland, O'Neill, Duvall, Braeden, Magee and others, all wasted on a 93-minute chunk of cotton candy.

Video & Audio

Presented in its original Panavision, 2.35:1 aspect, Lady Ice looks great for such a lousy, inconsequential picture. The DTS-HD 2.0 (mono) Master Audio likewise. English subtitles are offered on region "A" encoded disc.

Extra Feature

The lone supplement is a 13-minute interview with composer Perry Botkin, Jr., who seems like a nice, agreeable fellow, but who has less to say about the picture than about his own career, which is probably a good thing.

Parting Thoughts

Tough sledding all the way, Lady Ice should have been far better than it is. Considering the talent involved this reviewer found it an almost complete waste of time. Skip It.






Stuart Galbraith IV is the Kyoto-based film historian largely absent from reviewing these days while he restores a 200-year-old Japanese farmhouse.

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