Hit! (1973)

R | 133-134 mins | Drama | October 1973

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HISTORY

The working title for this film was Goodbye Marseilles . Robin Clark's onscreen credit reads: "Assistant director and production manager." Actor Yves Barsacq's surname is spelled "Barzacq" in the opening credits, but Barsacq in the closing credits. The opening credits include an acknowledgment to the "City of Marseilles," where much of the film was shot. The French dialogue was subtitled in English on the print viewed. Other locations, as noted in contemporary sources, included Seattle, Washington, D.C. and British Columbia. Several of the film's scenes opened with a shot of a license plate listing the location.
       Actors Billy Dee Williams, Richard Pryor, Sid Melton and Paul Hampton previously had appeared together in Lady Sings the Blues (1972, See Entry), which was also directed by Sidney J. Furie and produced by Harry ... More Less

The working title for this film was Goodbye Marseilles . Robin Clark's onscreen credit reads: "Assistant director and production manager." Actor Yves Barsacq's surname is spelled "Barzacq" in the opening credits, but Barsacq in the closing credits. The opening credits include an acknowledgment to the "City of Marseilles," where much of the film was shot. The French dialogue was subtitled in English on the print viewed. Other locations, as noted in contemporary sources, included Seattle, Washington, D.C. and British Columbia. Several of the film's scenes opened with a shot of a license plate listing the location.
       Actors Billy Dee Williams, Richard Pryor, Sid Melton and Paul Hampton previously had appeared together in Lady Sings the Blues (1972, See Entry), which was also directed by Sidney J. Furie and produced by Harry Korshak. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
24 Sep 1973
p. 4625.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Nov 1972.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Dec 1972
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Dec 1972.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jan 1973
p. 43.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Sep 1973
p. 3, 38.
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
5 Oct 1973.
---
Los Angeles Times
3 Oct 1973.
---
New York Times
19 Sep 1973
p. 3, 8.
Playboy
Dec 1973.
---
Time
29 Oct 1973.
---
Variety
26 Sep 1973
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir, French prod staff
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Gaffer
Key grip
Cam op, French prod staff
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir, French prod staff
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Prop man, French prod staff
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward man
MUSIC
SOUND
Prod sd rec
Sd eff ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles and opt
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Prod mgr, French prod staff
Prod exec
Prod exec, French prod staff
Scr supv
Scr girl, French prod staff
Transportation
Loc mgr, French prod staff
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Goodbye Marseilles
Release Date:
October 1973
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 18 September 1973
Los Angeles opening: 3 October 1973
Production Date:
late November 1972--mid January 1973 in Los Angeles and Marchseilles, France
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
20 August 1973
Copyright Number:
LP42844
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
133-134
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
France, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
23681
SYNOPSIS

In Washington D.C., after fifteen-year-old Jeannie dies from a heroin overdose, her father, federal narcotics agent Nick Allen, takes decisive action. Tracking down the pusher, Nick beats him mercilessly until the pusher reminds him that wealthy suppliers are the real culprits. Later, when the director of the agency offers Nick easy surveillance work in Hawaii, Nick explains his plan "to take" down the Marseilles syndicate, one player at a time. After refusing to support Nick, the director sends agents Carlin and Crosby to follow him, but Nick easily outsmarts them and arranges to meet his part-time girl friend, computer expert Esther, who gives him information about possible operatives for his vigilante team. Nick first enlists jaded agent Dutch Schiller to spy on the nine key players in Marseilles: bosses Zero and Monteca, shipper Jean-Baptiste, operations manager Romain, syndicate lab technician Jyras, prostitution ring operators Monsieur and Madame Frelou, Madame Natalie Orissa and Bornou. Dutch soon discovers that Monteca is bribing customs agents to allow his heroin shipments into the country. In a lab above her restaurant, Natalie, along with Jyras, test the drug shipments, then deliver them to the Frelous’ dress shop, where Dutch, posing as an ignorant American tourist, takes notes on their movements. In the back room, the Frelous prepare to smuggle the drugs to the United States in coat linings. Meanwhile in the United States, Nick assembles his team by implying that he is working for the government. He blackmails prostitute Sherry Nielson, a rich girl turned heroin addict, into joining by controlling her heroin supply, then threatens to prosecute ex-drug pusher and sharpshooter Barry Strong for tax evasion to ensure his cooperation. Soon after, Nick ... +


In Washington D.C., after fifteen-year-old Jeannie dies from a heroin overdose, her father, federal narcotics agent Nick Allen, takes decisive action. Tracking down the pusher, Nick beats him mercilessly until the pusher reminds him that wealthy suppliers are the real culprits. Later, when the director of the agency offers Nick easy surveillance work in Hawaii, Nick explains his plan "to take" down the Marseilles syndicate, one player at a time. After refusing to support Nick, the director sends agents Carlin and Crosby to follow him, but Nick easily outsmarts them and arranges to meet his part-time girl friend, computer expert Esther, who gives him information about possible operatives for his vigilante team. Nick first enlists jaded agent Dutch Schiller to spy on the nine key players in Marseilles: bosses Zero and Monteca, shipper Jean-Baptiste, operations manager Romain, syndicate lab technician Jyras, prostitution ring operators Monsieur and Madame Frelou, Madame Natalie Orissa and Bornou. Dutch soon discovers that Monteca is bribing customs agents to allow his heroin shipments into the country. In a lab above her restaurant, Natalie, along with Jyras, test the drug shipments, then deliver them to the Frelous’ dress shop, where Dutch, posing as an ignorant American tourist, takes notes on their movements. In the back room, the Frelous prepare to smuggle the drugs to the United States in coat linings. Meanwhile in the United States, Nick assembles his team by implying that he is working for the government. He blackmails prostitute Sherry Nielson, a rich girl turned heroin addict, into joining by controlling her heroin supply, then threatens to prosecute ex-drug pusher and sharpshooter Barry Strong for tax evasion to ensure his cooperation. Soon after, Nick arranges for underwater demolitions expert Mike Willmer to have access to the drug dealer serving time for the murder of Mike’s wife. Once Mike has beaten the man, Nick then offers to show Mike the “right people to kill.” To coerce more potential team members, Nick hires a young man to pose as a drug addict while he speaks with ex-convicts Ida and Herman, who lost their son to drug addiction. Unaware of Nick’s deception, the couple is so distraught over another man lost to heroin that they eagerly join the team. Meanwhile, Carlin and Crosby, who have coerced Esther into giving them Nick’s list, are there to ambush Nick when he arrives at a racetrack to entice a race car driver for his team. As their bullets narrowly miss him, Nick flees and, driving a towtruck, forces the agents off the road. Nick then sails for an abandoned harbor in British Columbia where he trains his flawed but determined team. After Dutch shows the group the surveillance results, Nick gives them each an assignment and tests them on the clockwork precision of each assassination plan. Mike has only minutes to take off his wet suit and man his boat; Sherry, Herman and Ida are timed on their running and Barry practices rolling from a moving car while aiming his scope. When Sherry collapses after Nick bullies her into repeating her trial all night, Nick admits that he is blindly obsessed with avenging his daughter’s death. The night before they depart for Marseilles, Nick spots Carlin and Crosby with their guns drawn, preparing to kill him and his team. Nick knocks them out, but Barry finds an agent’s badge and informs the team that Nick is running an illegal job, prompting everyone to quit. On a boat headed for home the next day, Nick throws Sherry’s heroin dose overboard, while the group stands by knowing that the withdrawal will kill her before they reach home. As Sherry becomes hysterical from the pain, Nick convinces them that leaving the syndicate intact will mean certain death for many more than just Sherry. Thus shamed, the group agrees to help Nick, after which Nick gives Sherry a dose of heroin to calm her. The night before the plan goes into action, the nine kingpins are celebrating another profitable year, while Nick’s team indulges in a night’s pleasure in Marseilles. While Dutch relishes a hamburger and Ida and Herman exchange intimacies, Barry sleeps with a prostitute and Nick and Sherry make love. The next day, Herman and Ida join a group of tourists, then skip the day’s tour feigning sickness. Proceeding to Natalie's restaurant, Ida stabs Natalie in the bathroom, while Herman shoots another cartel member in a nearby theater. The two then race to rejoin their tour bus, thus escaping suspicion. Another kingpin is pulling up a buoy carrying his heroin when Mike shoots him with a harpoon from under the water. Swimming back to his boat, Mike changes and escapes undetected as the yacht, looking for a man in a wet suit, passes Mike standing calmly at the helm of his boat. Meanwhile, Dutch and Barry shoot one target at his mansion and another target during a drug deal. At a restaurant, Sherry, posing as a waitress, serves a glass of poisoned wine to Jyras, then slips out, changes clothes and races to the Frelous’ dress shop, where she interviews to be a model. After Sherry shoots Madame Frelou, Barry kills Monsieur Frelou with a knife. Meanwhile, Nick gains access to a guarded villa by posing as gas service man, then launches a bazooka, blowing up the target in his car. With the mission complete, Nick heads to the border, where Carlin and Crosby stop him then take him to the director, who congratulates Nick on the efficiency of his plan, which prevented each target from knowing of the others’ assassinations and fleeing Marseilles. Nick has amazed the French authorities, who cannot believe such a small team eliminated the syndicate and have asked for an explanation from the American government. Nick offers to tell the authorities everything, as long as the American government uses its power to stop the syndicates. Nick, who knows that the director will never permit him to perform another vigilante mission, drives off, uncertain how long the American government will allow him to live. +

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

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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.