Moore Not Less - Street People
the years after The Man with the Golden Gun, while Roger waited for
production to start on The Spy Who Loved Me, he kept as busy as he
could and even took a leading role in the 1976 Italian exploitation
crime action film Gli esecutori (aka Street People, The Executors, The
Sicilian Cross) for producers Manolo Bolognini and Luigi Borghese.
seems rather strange that the current James Bond would be in a film
like this but then, to be fair to Rog, his then wife was Italian and
the chance to enjoy some weeks in Rome probably seemed like a nice idea
at the time. Also, he would be starring alongside the respected
American actor Stacy Keach. Street People was not much of a success
though and remains arguably the most obscure film of Roger's career.
This is not a film I have ever encountered on television.
People has a somewhat incoherent plot that doesn't make an awful lot of
sense at the best of times. Roger himself admitted that neither he or
Stacey Keach could make head nor tail of the film while they were
shooting it or when they tried to watch afterwards. They hadn't the
faintest clue of what they were acting in.
the film, Roger plays Ulisse, the (ahem) lawyer nephew of a Sicilian
mafia boss dispatched to investigate a heroin shipment smuggled into
San Francisco in a church cross. Ulisse has to find the culprits. Or
something like that. The film seems like a vague attempt to be a
bargain basement French Connection.
you are wondering how on earth we can possibly accept the easygoing
self-deprecating Roger Moore as a hot-headed Sicilian troubleshooter
for the mob, well, they do explain that Ulisse had an English
education! Helping him in the film is his friend Charlie (Stacey
Keach), a racing car driver who is handy with his fists and not a bad
chap to have at your side in a tight scrape.
film is more violent than Roger's Bond films - as you'd expect from the
Italian action film industry - but exploitation fans might be a trifle
disappointed that there isn't just a bit more sleaze, blood and action.
The action is rationed far too much although there is a bone crunching
car chase in San Francisco and a sequence involving tanker trucks that
- bizarrely - anticipates a similar sequence in the 1989 Bond film
Licence To Kill with Timothy Dalton.
can only describe the direction in this film as eccentric. Full of
bobbling camera shots, gratuitous zooms, and bizarre lens blurs. Even
the simplest scene is often shot in a strange way. You do wish this
hyperactive camera had got much more action to shoot at times. Roger
never seems to have the faintest idea what he is doing in this film and
looks like he wants it over with as quickly as possible. You can
imagine him on the set constantly glancing at his watch and counting
down the hours until he can go and have some dinner in a fancy
Street People, Roger tends to slip into his standard Bond/Templar suave
persona as much as he can although Ulisse is a somewhat less
sympathetic character. Roger looks good in his suits and sunglasses
Keach probably gives the best performance in the film as Charlie. It
helps that he's given a decent amount of humour. Keach seems to have no
idea what he's doing in the film either but he's relaxed and
charismatic. Stacey Keach can be a superb actor with good material -
William Peter Blatty's The Ninth Configuration a case in point. Sadly,
Street People is no The Ninth Configuration.
strangely enjoyable to see Moore and Keach as an unlikely onscreen
double-act and they work fairly well together, much in the manner that
Roger and Tony Curtis did as a chalk and cheese double-act in The
Persuaders. You tend to wonder if the original idea for Street People
had been to re-team Moore and Curtis as a sort of big screen
Persuaders. That would have been a lot of fun if they'd managed to
stage a Curtis/Moore reunion. One quibble you could have regarding
Keach and Roger is that they separate them a little too much at times.
The relationship between the pair is slightly vague - like everything
else in Street People.
interiors of Street People were shot in Italy and there is some
absolutely terrible English dubbing of some of the Italian cast
members. The location work in San Francisco is enjoyable though and
gives the film a good seventies atmosphere at times. Some flashback
sequences come off as somewhat half-baked and pretentious but the music
cues are pleasurably melodramatic and dated to modern ears.
People is entertaining in places and it's interesting to see Roger
slightly out of his comfort zone (well, in unfamiliar surroundings at
least and playing a very different sort of character) but you can't
help feeling that the chance of a minor cult classic was flubbed here
by the confused story and a general lack of mayhem and trashy fun.
film delivers some spectacle and bloody-shoot outs but never in enough
volume or with the style you'd want. Street People is probably one for
the curious and Roger completists only but it's not a complete loss and
worth at least one late night watch for the unlikely Roger/Stacey Keach
double-act if nothing else.