Figures in a Landscape (1971)

GP | 95, 109, 111 or 118 mins | Drama | July 1971

Director:

Joseph Losey

Writer:

Robert Shaw

Producer:

John Kohn

Editor:

Reginald Beck

Production Designers:

Ted Tester, Peter Williams

Production Companies:

Cinecrest Film Ltd., Cinema Center Films
Full page view
HISTORY

The print viewed contained illegible credits for the names of the film’s camera operator and sound editor. All the reviews list assistant director Julio Sempere as Julio Sempere Parrondo. A Dec 1968 HR news item indicated that Peter O'Toole had been signed to star in Figures in a Landscape , which would be directed by Peter Medak. The article also listed Stanley Mann as the writer of the screenplay, which was to be based on the Barry England novel. Producer John Kohn had purchased the screen rights in Aug 1967, prior to the book's publication.
       In a Sep 1969 LAT article on the hardships encountered by cast and crew during the film's production, director Joseph Losey stated that he was brought on to the project because the producers wanted a director with more experience. Losey added that he found the book uninteresting and overrated. Robert Shaw, who also starred as "MacConnachie," had taken over writing the screenplay, which Losey revealed was being written concurrent with filming. In addition to acting in theater and film, Shaw was a novelist and playwright.
       According to Filmfacts , although Figures in a Landscape had its world premiere at the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain in Jul 1970, it remained unreleased in North America until after Losey's 1971 production, The Go-Between (see below). Figures in a Landscape was filmed in Granada, Malaga and the Sierra Nevada mountains in ... More Less

The print viewed contained illegible credits for the names of the film’s camera operator and sound editor. All the reviews list assistant director Julio Sempere as Julio Sempere Parrondo. A Dec 1968 HR news item indicated that Peter O'Toole had been signed to star in Figures in a Landscape , which would be directed by Peter Medak. The article also listed Stanley Mann as the writer of the screenplay, which was to be based on the Barry England novel. Producer John Kohn had purchased the screen rights in Aug 1967, prior to the book's publication.
       In a Sep 1969 LAT article on the hardships encountered by cast and crew during the film's production, director Joseph Losey stated that he was brought on to the project because the producers wanted a director with more experience. Losey added that he found the book uninteresting and overrated. Robert Shaw, who also starred as "MacConnachie," had taken over writing the screenplay, which Losey revealed was being written concurrent with filming. In addition to acting in theater and film, Shaw was a novelist and playwright.
       According to Filmfacts , although Figures in a Landscape had its world premiere at the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain in Jul 1970, it remained unreleased in North America until after Losey's 1971 production, The Go-Between (see below). Figures in a Landscape was filmed in Granada, Malaga and the Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Filmfacts
1971
pp. 424-26.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Dec 1968.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jul 1971
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
7 Sep 1969.
---
New York Times
19 Jul 1971
p. 31.
New Yorker
31 Jul 1971
pp. 55-57.
Saturday Review
14 Aug 1971
p. 42.
Time
9 Aug 1971
p. 63.
Variety
29 Jul 1970
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
Helicopter cam photog
Helicopter cam asst
Cam op
Lighting cam, 2d unit, Spanish
Chief elec
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
Art dir, Spanish
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Const mgr
Prop master
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward mistress, Spanish
SOUND
Sd mixer
Dubbing ed
Boom op
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv, Spanish
Prod mgr, Spanish
Helicopter pilot
Loc mgr
Loc mgr, Spanish
Loc mgr, Spanish
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Figures in a Landscape by Barry England (London, 1968).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
July 1971
Premiere Information:
World premiere at San Sebastian Film Festival, Spain: 14 July 1970
Production Date:
June--September 1969 in Spain
Copyright Claimant:
CBS Worldwide, Inc.
Copyright Date:
4 August 1970
Copyright Number:
LP40828
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Eastman Color
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
95, 109, 111 or 118
MPAA Rating:
GP
Countries:
United Kingdom, Spain, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

At dawn one morning, two fugitives with bound hands, MacConnachie, a middle-aged man and Ansell, a younger man, flee across a beach. In the distance, a helicopter carrying a pilot and armed co-pilot search for the men, who hasten to the cover of nearby foothills. Climbing a rocky area with some difficulty, the men spot an old man tending a herd of goats. Mac demands that Ansell help him attack the goatherd, but Ansell refuses and listens with horror as Mac brutally kills the man. Disgusted to discover the goatherd has no weapon of any sort to cut the binding ropes, Mac lashes out angrily at Ansell, blaming him in part for the senseless murder. As the men climb higher into the steep terrain to evade the droning helicopter, Mac demands to know why Ansell fled with him if he did not realize the difficulties before them. Reaching the hilltop, the men gaze down upon an open section of farmland, which Mac declares they cannot safely cross without exposing themselves. With no other option, however, Mac and Ansell proceed across the expanse and soon the helicopter has spotted the pair. The men split up, but the helicopter follows Mac, flying dangerously low and close, nearly knocking him down. Ansell finds refuge in some low, dense shrubbery and Mac eventually joins him, cursing the helicopter pilot. As darkness falls and the helicopter disappears into the sunset, Mac and Ansell walk toward the sound of a church bell in the distance. Arriving at the outskirts of a small village, the men wander cautiously through the streets where ... +


At dawn one morning, two fugitives with bound hands, MacConnachie, a middle-aged man and Ansell, a younger man, flee across a beach. In the distance, a helicopter carrying a pilot and armed co-pilot search for the men, who hasten to the cover of nearby foothills. Climbing a rocky area with some difficulty, the men spot an old man tending a herd of goats. Mac demands that Ansell help him attack the goatherd, but Ansell refuses and listens with horror as Mac brutally kills the man. Disgusted to discover the goatherd has no weapon of any sort to cut the binding ropes, Mac lashes out angrily at Ansell, blaming him in part for the senseless murder. As the men climb higher into the steep terrain to evade the droning helicopter, Mac demands to know why Ansell fled with him if he did not realize the difficulties before them. Reaching the hilltop, the men gaze down upon an open section of farmland, which Mac declares they cannot safely cross without exposing themselves. With no other option, however, Mac and Ansell proceed across the expanse and soon the helicopter has spotted the pair. The men split up, but the helicopter follows Mac, flying dangerously low and close, nearly knocking him down. Ansell finds refuge in some low, dense shrubbery and Mac eventually joins him, cursing the helicopter pilot. As darkness falls and the helicopter disappears into the sunset, Mac and Ansell walk toward the sound of a church bell in the distance. Arriving at the outskirts of a small village, the men wander cautiously through the streets where down a narrow alley, Mac spots an unlocked door. Peering through a small window by the door, Mac sees a dead man on a table next to a pair of lit candles, his belongings nearby. Mac and Ansell hurry into the room, and Mac retrieves a switchblade from the man's possesions. After the men’s hands are freed, they notice a woman sitting silently in the dark keeping vigil over the body. While the woman remains silent, the men hurry about, collecting clothes, a gun, ammunition and tins of food. As they are preparing to leave, Mac spots a loaf of bread near the man, but when he steps forward to take it, the woman begins screaming. The men bolt from the room and into the nearby church as the screams rouse the villagers. Ansell chides Mac for upsetting the woman just for the bread, which the men then share before creeping out of the village. Mac suggests they split up as he no longer has need of Ansell, and offers him half of the food. When an offended Ansell walks away, however, Mac follows. The next morning, Mac and Ansell use the switchblade to shave and wash in a creek. Fingering the rifle, Mac observes that any armed person can start a war, then agrees they can continue together if Ansell obeys orders. Later, however, Mac grows impatient with Ansell’s slowness and orders him away, but the younger man pleads to stay with him, confessing that he would be lonely without companionship. As the duo head off for a distant mountain range that Mac believes marks the country’s border, they talk about themselves. Mac reveals he is married and grows vaguely annoyed when Ansell describes a cavalier life of romancing numerous women. As the sun rises in the sky, the men hear the helicopter in the distance and as it nears, Ansell proposes that he serve as a decoy to lure the chopper into an open area where Mac can then shoot out the gas tank. Mac agrees and when the chopper swoops upon them, Ansell runs out from the shelter of a boulder. Mac fires at the helicopter, but to Ansell’s shock, rather than shoot the gas tank he shoots the co-pilot, who tumbles from the helicopter. Stunned to realize the men are now armed, the pilot ascends several hundred feet, moving the chopper to safety. Mac celebrates by pilfering the body, taking cigarettes, a wristwatch and bullets. Presenting Ansell with the man’s machine gun, Mac declares that shooting the gas tank was too dangerous as the helicopter might have crashed on Ansell. After smoking cigarettes, the men drink some tinned milk. Continuing on toward the mountain range, Ansell wonders if border patrols might stop them. When Ansell is abruptly overcome by an attack of diarrhea from the tinned milk, Mac laughs until he, too, is affected. As the men squat in the brush, they are stunned to see several soldiers fanned out in the distance, searching for them. After recovering, Mac and Ansell hurry into the underbrush where they come within a few feet of the soldiers, but remain unseen. As the pair crawl into an area of towering crops, the soldiers continue searching. Spotting the fugitives, the soldiers fire, drawing the helicopter, which drops smoke bombs near where Mac and Ansell have hidden. Small fires begin around them, panicking the farmhands in the field. Mac shoots several soldiers before the farmhands turn on a large water valve to douse the flames. In the powerful rush of water streaming through the field, Mac and Ansell are able to escape. At dusk they come upon a group of buildings across a narrow river that Mac recognizes as the soldiers’ base. Mac urges Ansell to attack a lone guard in the furnace building, after which the men then take his rifle, ammunition and a bottle of liquor. As they are sneaking away, however, an alarm sounds and after a wild shootout with startled soldiers, Mac and Ansell flee into the darkness. At dawn in pouring rain, Mac urges the weary Ansell onward as they reach the base of the mountain range and begin climbing. When Ansell collapses in exhaustion and fear, Mac assures him they are near the border. Resting in a cave, Mac begins drinking and rambles nostalgically to Ansell about his wife. The following morning the rain stops and the men resume their trek up the mountain. Seeing the soldiers and helicopter in the distance, Mac and Ansell climb all day, finally reaching a dense snow bank. Near the peak the men stop in amazement to see a border checkpoint building. As Ansell hurries forward excitedly, Mac resumes talking about his wife. Curious soldiers come from the building and when Ansell crosses the border markers, he throws down his gun to assure them of his intentions. As Mac approaches the crest, however, he hears the rumble of the helicopter and, stunned, turns to see it rising up the cliff toward them. To Ansell’s horror, Mac runs back across the borderline and, shouting wildly at the helicopter, begins shooting at it. The helicopter makes several passes at Mac, then opens fire at him. As Mac lies dying in the snow, the helicopter flies off and Ansell sadly turns and walks to the checkpoint alone. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.