Cast & Crew
Rex Black, a pilot running a private airline, learns he cannot collect insurance when his glider plane crashes because he failed to renew his policy the day before the accident. Infuriated, he formulates a plan for defrauding the insurance company of £50,000. After faking a supposedly fatal crash, he changes his name and appearance and goes to Malaga, Spain, while his wife, Stella, remains in England to collect his life insurance money. Company agent Stephen Maddox investigates, finds everything in order, and puts through Stella's claim. In accordance with Rex's instructions, Stella also goes to Spain. She is distressed to discover that he is posing as Australian millionaire Jim Jerome, whose passport he found and whom he plans to kill off on another policy. Stephen Maddox suddenly appears, ostensibly on a holiday. The three become friendly as Rex tries to discover whether or not Maddox is suspicious. Then, convinced that their scheme will soon be exposed, Rex forces Stella to flee with him to Gibraltar, unaware that Maddox is no longer an insurance man and really is on vacation. Maddox, in love with Stella, follows them, and Rex becomes panic-stricken and tries unsuccessfully to force Maddox's car over a cliff. Stella jumps out of Rex's car as he races to an airport to steal a small plane. Unaware that the fuel tank is almost empty, he takes off and crashes into the sea.
Juan Jose Menendez
Antonio Padilla Ruiz
Sinfonia Of London
John R. Sloan
The Running Man (1963)
Star Laurence Harvey was generally unhappy about the state of his career and the type of projects he felt forced to do. As he wrote to his parents during the shooting of The Running Man, "As one continues to work in this profession one finds it increasingly difficult as the whole economy and structure of the motion picture has, and is continually changing. The people who run the companies today are not longer interested in films, but only in greed, lining their pockets and destroying what was once a great field of entertainment and sometimes even an art. In order to survive one had to be continually fighting their negativity and stupidity. Where one time we could spend all our efforts and energies on performance, we now have to watch every other aspect of the business. After all these years of intensive hard work and concentrated labors, I find myself no better off financially than I was ten or fifteen years ago, and one wonders whether it's all worth it. Unfortunately I am stuck with this business and know no other, so am forced to continue in this rat race hoping for survival."
Harvey's spending habits and the high tax rate in Britain made it necessary for him to stay out of England, Scotland and Wales. As Nicholas Wapshott wrote in his book Carol Reed: A Biography, "[Harvey] therefore placed in his contract a clause which said that all filming should take place outside Britain. At first Reed had planned to begin shooting in Barcelona, Spain, then work up toward the mountains of Andorra, but he switched to taking the company south, with the film's grand finale a spectacular crash into the Rock of Gibraltar, not only a recognizable location but, to fit in with the ironies of the plot, the symbol of the Prudential Insurance company. Reed took the cast and crew off for a ten-week location schedule in Málaga, Algeciras, San Roque and La Línea on the Costa del Sol. There were a few distractions from the work. Harvey thought that the film was a nonstarter, Lee Remick remained icy throughout and only Alan Bates emerges with credit. The plot twisted and turned, but Reed found few ways of heightening the tension. There was a painful reminder of his lost ability to keep an audience on edge when an open-air showing of Odd Man Out (1947) was screened in his honor at the bullring at San Roque." Remick's iciness was attributed to her dislike of Harvey, who was known for his abrasive personality.
Friction between cast members was only one of the troubles: in September 1962 one of the stunt pilots and a cameraman were seriously injured when they crashed into the ocean in Gibraltar while filming. When production was moved to Ardmore Studios in Bray, Ireland, the temperature change from sunny Gibraltar and Spain caused several of the cast and crew to get sick. As Harvey wrote to his parents, "every member of the cast and crew seemed to have come down with a bad cold and sinus trouble, but the principal sufferer is me."
Reed, meanwhile, was seriously overweight and felt ill during most of the production. Nicholas Wapshott wrote that "[Reed] was losing his hearing and his concentration...[He] hugged the security of an old working friendship by once again joining forces with his favorite cinematographer, Robert Krasker, and his old editor, Bert Bates...During the period of editing, Bates found Reed's dithering increasingly irritating and attempted to force him to be decisive. What had previously been a genuine appeal for a second opinion had become a fundamental lack of confidence in his own decisions. Bates would say to him, 'Well, I haven't got all day. I've got some roses to prune,' and would leave the cutting room to tend his rose garden. Reed was still paying the terrible toll brought on by Brando's humiliation of him during Mutiny. The Running Man was universally dismissed by the critics when it was released in London in August 1963. The [London] Times found the whole thing rather old-fashioned and obvious. It was universally thought that Reed was in terminal decline. In France the decline was stressed by the insensitivity of a switch in the film's title to Le Deuxieme Homme."
Reed's greatest film was, arguably, The Third Man (1949). The translation of the French title for The Running Man is "The Second Man."
Producer/Director: Carol Reed
Screenplay: John Mortimer
Cinematography: Robert Krasker
Art Direction: John Stoll
Music: William Alwyn
Film Editing: Bert Bates
Cast: Laurence Harvey (Rex Black), Lee Remick (Stella Black), Alan Bates (Stephen Maddox), Felix Aylmer (Parson), Eleanor Summerfield (Hilda Tanner), Fernando Rey (Police Official).
by Lorraine LoBianco
Carol Reed: A Biography by Nicholas Wapshott, 1994
Reach for the Top: The Turbulent Life of Laurence Harvey, by Anne Sinai
The Internet Movie Database
The Running Man (1963)
Sir Alan Bates (1934-2003)
Born Alan Arthur Bates on February 17th, 1934 in Derbyshire, England, Bates was the son of amateur musicians who wanted their son to become a concert pianist, but the young man had other ambitions, bluntly declaring to his parents that he had his sights set on an acting career when he was still in secondary school. He eventually earned a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, but had his career briefly interrupted with a two-year stint in the Royal Air Force. Soon after his discharge, Bates immediately joined the new English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre and by 1955 he had found steady stage work in London's West End theatre district.
The following year, Bates made a notable mark in English theatre circles when he starred as Cliff Lewis in John Osborne's charging drama about a disaffected, working-class British youth in Look Back in Anger. Bates' enormous stage presence along with his brooding good looks and youthfulness (he was only 22 at the time of the play's run) made him a star and promised great things for his future.
Four years later, Bates made a solid film debut in Tony Richardson's The Entertainer (1960) as the son of a failing seaside entertainer, played by Sir Laurence Olivier. Yet it would be his next two films that would leave an indelible impression in '60s British cinema; Bryan Forbes' Whistle Down the Wind (1961) and John Schlesinger's A Kind of Loving (1962). Bates' performances as a murderer on the lam who finds solace at a farm house in the company of children in the former, and a young working-class husband who struggles with his identity in a loveless marriage in the latter, were such finely nuanced portrayals of loners coping with an oppressive social order that he struck a chord with both audiences and critics alike. Soon, Bates was considered a key actor in the "angry young men" movement of the decade that included Albert Finney and Tom Courtney.
For the next ten years, Bates simply moved from strength to strength as he chose film roles that both highlighted his range and raised his stock as an international celebrity: reprising his stage role as the brutish thug Mick in the film adaptation of Harold Pinter's The Caretaker (1963); starring alongside Anthony Quinn as the impressionable young writer Basil in Zorba the Greek (1964); the raffish charmer Jos who falls in love with Lynn Redgrave in the mod comedy Georgy Girl; the bemused young soldier who falls in love with a young mental patient (a radiantly young Genevieve Bujold) in the subdued anti-was satire King of Hearts (both 1966); reuniting with director Schlesinger again in the effective period drama Far from the Madding Crowd (1967); a Russian Jew falsely accused of murder in John Frankenheimer's The Fixer (1968, remarkably, his only Oscar nomination); as Rupert, the freethinking fellow who craves love and understanding in Ken Russell's superb Women in Love (1969); playing Vershinin in Sir Laurence Olivier's underrated The Three Sisters (1970); opposite Julie Christie in Joseph Losey's tale of forbidden love The Go-Between (1971); and his moving, near-tragic performance as Bri, a father who struggles daily to maintain his sanity while raising a mentally disabled daughter in the snarking black comedy A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (1972).
Bates would slow down his film work, concentrating on the stage for the next few years, including a Tony award winning turn on Broadway for his role in Butley (1972), but he reemerged strongly in the late '70s in three good films: a conniving womanizer in The Shout; Jill Clayburgh's love interest in Paul Mazursky's hit An Unmarried Woman (1978); and as Rudge, Bette Midler's overbearing manager in The Rose (1979).
By the '80s, Bates filled out somewhat physically, but his now burly presence looked just right in some quality roles: as the notorious spy, Guy Burgess, in John Schlesinger's acclaimed mini-series An Englishman Abroad (1983); a lonely homosexual who cares for his incarcerated lovers' dog in the charming comedy We think the World of You (1988); and a superb Claudius in Franco Zeffirelli's Hamlet (1990).
Tragically, Bates lost his son Tristan to an asthma attack in 1990; and lost his wife, actress Victoria Ward, in 1992. This led to too few film roles for the next several years, although he remained quite active on stage and television. However, just recently, Bates has had some choice moments on the silver screen, most notably as the butler Mr. Jennings in Robert Altman's murder mystery Gosford Park (2001); and scored a great comic coup as a gun-toting, flag-waving Hollywood has-been in a very broad satire about the Canadian movie industry Hollywood North (2003). Also, theatre fans had a treat when Bates appeared on Broadway last year to critical acclaim (and won a second Tony award) for his portrayal of an impoverished 19th century Russian nobleman in Fortune's Fool (2002). Most deservedly, he was knighted earlier this year for his fine contributions as an actor in all major mediums. Sir Alan Bates is survived by two brothers Martin and Jon, son Benedick and a granddaughter.
by Michael T. Toole
Sir Alan Bates (1934-2003)
Copyright length: 109 min. Location scenes filmed in Spain. Released in Great Britain in 1963; running time: 103 min.
Released in United States Fall October 2, 1963
Released in United States Fall October 2, 1963