Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Robert Aldrich|
|Produced by||Robert Aldrich|
|Written by||Steve Shagan|
|Music by||Frank De Vol|
|Edited by||Michael Luciano|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|December 25, 1975|
|Box office||$10,390,000 (rentals)|
217,313 admissions (France)
A group of field trip students and a teacher discover a woman's dead body at the beach. Two Los Angeles Police Department detectives, Phil Gaines and Louis Belgrave, are assigned to the homicide investigation. The case appears to be a suicide but things do not add up. The deceased, Gloria Hollinger, overdosed, yet the trail leads back to Leo Sellers, a wealthy and corrupt attorney. Gaines and Belgrave do not believe Gloria's death to be suicide based on information from Gaines' girlfriend, Nicole, a call girl. But they cannot close the case. Along the way, the detectives learn that Marty, Gloria's father and a headstrong veteran of the Korean War, did not believe the official report either and attempts to solve the case himself. He goes after Sellers and learns that Sellers was responsible for his daughter's death. Gaines and Belgrave track Marty to Sellers' mansion where they find Marty has just killed Sellers. Gaines stages it to look like self-defense, letting Marty off the hook for the crime. Gaines calls Nicole to reconcile, and they plan a trip to San Francisco. On his way to the airport, he stops in a convenience store and walks into the middle of an armed robbery. He trades fire with the assailant but is killed in the exchange. Belgrave goes to the airport terminal to inform Nicole, and without a word, she realizes that Gaines is gone.
Reynolds brought the script for Aldrich, while filming The Longest Yard.
Aldrich said he would do the film if they could get Catherine Deneuve for the female lead, even though the part had been written for her. "I didn't think it worked that way," said Aldrich. "I think our middleclass mores just don't make it credible that a policeman have a love relationship with a prostitute. Because of some strange quirk in our backgrounds, the mass audience doesn't believe it. It's perfectly all right as long as she's not American. So Burt accepted this as a condition, and we put up our money and went to Paris, and waited on the great lady for a week, and she agreed to do the picture."
Aldrich said he did not think Reynolds was as good in the film as he was in The Longest Yard.
The film was a commercial success. Produced on a budget of $3.05 million, it earned $10,390,000 in US theatrical rentals. Reynolds said: "I think it was a good film," "At least it was a love story, which I hadn't done in a long time. Catherine Deneuve and I were a case of one plus one makes three so that brought about some interest." The film holds a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on six reviews.
Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of four and called it "a movie about characters, primarily. It cares more about getting inside these people than it does about solving its crime. And the two leading characters, a Los Angeles police lieutenant and a French prostitute, become unexpectedly interesting because they're made into such individuals by Burt Reynolds and Catherine Deneuve."A. H. Weiler of The New York Times wrote, "If this apparent tribute to the Raymond Chandler-Dashiell Hammett detective genre is slightly manipulated for effects, and if it strains a mite too much and too long for its cynicism, it still emerges as a fairly realistic inspection of flawed men's efforts to cope with an obviously flawed urban society."Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune awarded a full four stars out of four and wrote that "violence takes a back seat to character development and storytelling techniques that are classical. 'Hustle' is the kind of picture you don't want to see end. It's going to be a cult favorite."
Arthur D. Murphy of Variety wrote, "Because of some over-contrivances in plot, excess crassness and distended length, 'Hustle' misses being the excellent contemporary Bogart-Chandler-Hawks-Warner Bros. cynical urban crime-and-corruption melodrama it so obviously emulates. However, Robert Aldrich's sharp-looking film has an outstanding cast, well directed to sustain interest through most of its 120 minutes."Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "While this is a wonderfully flexible genre, it does not accommodate comfortably a self-conscious nostalgia that quickly becomes soggily and cloyingly sentimental because it seems so out of place." Gary Arnold of The Washington Post wrote, "Shagan persists in fogging up his scripts with a dense layer of Hollywood weltschmerz that makes it impossible for the interesting or entertaining possibilities in his material to break through ... 'Hustle' would be easier to consume if it were an unpretentious slice of low-life, but Shagan's sensibility turns it into stale baloney."