Badge 373 (1973)
With a new class of actors on the rise in the 1970’s and each taking a turn as a hardened cop it was only inevitable that Robert Duvall would join the likes of Hackman and Pacino taking his turn behind a badge and a gun. Inspired by the exploits of officer Eddie Egan of French Connection fame Duvall is arguably portraying a racist cop suspended by the force after a suspicious death during a raid. While off duty his long time partner is murdered and badge or no badge, Duvall’s taking no prisoners to figure out who’s dirty downtown. With plenty of violence and foul language this film fits in a few notches below most of it’s early 70’s competition in the crime drama department but as is to be expected Duvall is always worth watching. The best scenes in the film really have nothing to do with the crime portion of the film and feature Duvall and actress Verna Bloom as his love interest. While on a cottage weekend she can’t put his fixation on guns and justice to rest and it allows both actors the opportunity to shine.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the film is that it was directed by Howard W. Koch. His previous feature film as a director was in 1959. He directed a number of gangster themed films in the fifties such as Big House U.S.A. and a nice Edmond O’Brien gem called Shield For Murder. He mostly produced films such as the Rat Pack extravaganzas to The Odd Couple and Airplane. He passed away in 2001.
If you are a Robert Duvall supporter like myself then take a look at this title if you can find a copy. Perhaps make it a double feature with another of his gangland films from the same year The Outfit.