Tony Mastroianni Review Collection
Crime film is too talky
Cleveland Press December 24, 1973
"The Seven Ups" is playing here. Police drama; adults, older teens. In the cast are Roy Scheider, Tony Lo Bianco, Larry Haines. Running time: 103 minutes.
"The Seven Ups" is a new movie from Philip D'Antoni, producer of "Bullitt" and "The French Connection." It draws on the further adventures of one of the detectives in "The French Connection." It also contains the trademark of the other two D'Antoni movies, the complicated chase sequence.
But it isn't in a class with either of them.
D'Antoni has directed this one himself. Maybe that is part of the trouble. Another part is a script that is long on talk - a lot of it small talk-and short on action.
The story is about a group of detectives who operate in an unorthodox manner. They are known as the Seven Ups because seven years and up is the usual sentence for a felony conviction. So says the publicity for the movie. There's only a passing reference in the picture.
Actor Roy Scheider plays the role of the leader of the group. He gets information from an old boyhood friend (Tony Lo Bianco) who has underworld connections.
A number of major crime figures are being kidnaped and held for ransom, the kidnapers posing as detectives.
While it takes Scheider and company the full length of the movie to put two and two together there is no mystery or suspense in the movie. It's all spelled out, like the so-called mystery shows on television.
The obligatory chase sequence lasts 15 or 20 minutes or maybe it just seemed that way. It's fast, well staged but it really looks as though it's there because someone figured it had to be, not because it meant that much to the story.
There's action in "The Seven Ups" but it tends to be meaningless action, unlike "The French Connection" which had minimum dialog and maximum action, the action saying more about the characters than words.
All too often "The Seven Ups" is reduced to what Alfred Hitchcock has called "pictures of people talking."