Night Moves stars Gene Hackman as Harry Moseby, a private detective and a former football player who gets hired by a former Hollywood actress who wants Moseby to find her missing daughter. Moseby travels to Florida to find her but quickly finds a connection between the missing daughter and an unsolved murder mystery. Night Moves was released in 1975 and co-starred Jennifer Warren, James Woods, and Edward Binns. This is the first time that Night Moves has been released on Blu-ray. It is receiving a transfer courtesy of the Warner Archive Collection. The 1970s brought us a lot of stunning neo-noir movies such as Chinatown and Farewell, My Lovely so I was excited to check out Gene Hackman as a private detective.
Easily the best part of Night Moves is Gene Hackman’s performance as a man aware of his past and present. He was once a football star, but that is long gone and he accepts his fate of the man he has become. Hackman’s performance adds a level of depression that only the great Gene Hackman can pull off. I admire Gene Hackman as an actor and he stars in one of my favorite movies of all-time, The Royal Tenenbaums, but this could easily be one of his best performance. There are a few key scenes that add a lot of depth to his character such as a confrontation with his wife’s lover that builds the character up in an even more depressing light.
The journey Harry Moseby ventures into doesn’t seem fitting for the man since he lazily attempts to solve parts of the beginning stages of the mystery. Moseby takes his time for most of the film but the more he gets involved with the case, the more violent the movie becomes and the more determined Moseby appears to be. It offers such strong character development because as a viewer, I find it hard to believe that Moseby will be able to solve the case he takes on but as the movie goes on, I believe more in the character.
The Blu-ray transfer was meant to preserve elements, ensuring the film’s future availability. Night Moves offers bright and colorful scenes while also presenting deep blacks as well. Moseby travels from Los Angeles, California to Florida and visuals are both vivid and dark. The Blu-ray scan captures the dark grimy look at California and it also captures the vibrant colors of Florida. There is a lot of detail in up close shots where the actors involved. You can see the sweat dripping off Hackman’s face. Even though it is unpleasant to watch, it is also very impressive.
The audio transfer is decent for this new release; I do find the Blu-ray transfer to be more impressive. The film captures the dialog quite well but what is more impressive is the background sounds of key locations provided in Night Moves. It creates a haunting atmosphere that matches the tone of the film.
The extras for this film has been transferred over from the 2005 DVD release which are the trailer and “Day of the Director”, an in-depth look at Arthur Penn at work. The trailer has been remastered in 1080 p. For such an older film, I wasn’t expecting many extras in the first place.
I was very happy when viewing Night Moves and the performance Gene Hackman provided. I always viewed him as an outstanding actor and this solidifies him as one of the best actors that hit it big in the 1970s. His self-aware performance and his strong character development led to a bloody, graphic, satisfying ending. Night Moves definitely sneaks underneath the radar as the 1970s offered a lot of fantastic films in many different genres. I am happy that Warner Archive is doing everything possible to preserve this film and making sure that future generations will have the opportunity to view it.
The Warner Archive generously provided Hotchka with a Blu-ray of the film for reviewing purposes.