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The Sellout

PG 1976 1h 42m Mystery & Thriller List
Reviews 20% Audience Score Fewer than 50 Ratings
An ex-CIA agent (Richard Widmark) in Jerusalem tries to help an old spy buddy (Oliver Reed) whom each side wants dead. Read More Read Less

Audience Reviews

View All (3) audience reviews
Audience Member From the information on IMDb, I gather The Sell-Out is generally not so well-liked. Personally, I don’t agree with that viewpoint. I rated it 3.5 out of 5 here, but on a scale from 1 to 10, I would even go as far as to rate it 7.5. What makes it different from most other spy movies I’ve seen so far is the fact that the ever-complicated developments are not there to confuse us and keep us guessing. Instead, they are spelled out to us, either by what we see or by what is told to us. The motivations of those who keep chasing Gabriel Lee (Oliver Reed) throughout the entire movie are made clear in the first two scenes, before we have even met Lee and his old pal Sam Lucas (Richard Widmark). Where Lucas’ loyalties lie is pretty clear too – it is just the viewer’s suspicious mind that keeps suggesting he is not what he seems. The only unexpected surprise in the plot is what Lee describes as the “walking tape recorder”. However, it is not until the scene before the one in which he mentions this that it is beginning to dawn on the viewer there must be such a thing/person. We hardly get the time to start speculating about it. This plot clarity made a welcome change from where I’m standing (especially after watching The Kremlin Letter), but apparently there are many viewers who would not agree with me. Or perhaps they dislike this movie because of the action scenes and special effects (which I happen to think are very impressive) and the choice of music (very varied – sometimes a bit too melodramatic, but really smashing at other moments). Sam Wanamaker is great as the ever-shifty big shot and Vladek Sheybal (as the “Dutchman”) exceeds himself in creepiness. I also enjoyed the filming locations and the way they lend themselves to some particular action scenes. In addition, it is agreeable to see what one might call a men’s movie in which the main female role turns out quite essential. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was the reason why the intended action had to take place in Israel and not somewhere else, but perhaps this was done to muddy the waters (= make it unclear who is behind it all). The Sell-Out is not a masterpiece among spy movies, but I had a good time with it all the same. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/14/23 Full Review Audience Member From the Fatel Force 10 Movie Collection, This Movie is about Spy escapades riddled with double crosses and triple crosses were all the rage in the '60s and '70s, and this is Peter Collinson's belated addition to the genre. An uninspired and very routine espionage yarn, set (and filmed) in Israel, The Sell-Out is preposterously hard-to-follow at times but it would be wrong to dismiss it as a complete failure. It may not be especially good, but the performances are competent enough and the climactic chase sequence is moderately exciting. Elderly ex-spy Sam Lucas (Richard Widmark) lives in Jerusalem with the sexy but much younger Deborah (Gayle Hunnicutt). He likes to think he has left the spy business behind, and he now runs a successful antiquities store. However, he is forced back into action when he receives a call for help from his old protege Gabriel Lee (Oliver Reed). Lee defected to the East some years previously, but has now become the target on a clandestine CIA-KGB death list. His only chance of getting out of Israel alive is to plead for the help of his old pal Lucas, even though it will mean re-igniting long-buried tensions and emotions. There have been so many films of this ilk that The Sell-Out struggles to come up with anything fresh or interesting. Widmark is likable as the reluctant hero and Reed gets to put in some moody posturing as the enigmatic defector. Director Collinson cuts back on the hard-hitting violence that characterises many of his earlier films (there's violence in this one, but nothing in the same league as Fright or Open Season). The Sell-Out is a very formulaic film, never so bad that you feel like turning it off but never so good that you feel the urge to watch it again. Everyone involved has done better.... and worse. 3 Stars 4-10-13 Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/23/23 Full Review Audience Member A muddled little film that is highlighted by the performances by Oliver Reed, Richard Windmark, Vladek Sheybal & Gayle Hunnicutt. Somewhere in here there is actually a better movie but it doesn't really find a pulse until about 50 minutes into it & then doesn't find a heart beat until over an hour. The double & triple crosses along w/ some outlandish chase sequences peak the interest after a while but by then it feels a little too late. Thankfully you do have a solid cast to make up for its weakness that you don't feel like you are completely wasting your time. The script is too confused to really recommend it but those involved don't really make you sorry that you got involved Rated 2 out of 5 stars 01/27/23 Full Review Read all reviews
The Sellout

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Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis An ex-CIA agent (Richard Widmark) in Jerusalem tries to help an old spy buddy (Oliver Reed) whom each side wants dead.
Peter Collinson
Josef Shaftel
Production Co
Mystery & Thriller
Original Language
Release Date (Streaming)
May 12, 2017
1h 42m