The Destructors (1974)

PG | 89-90 mins | Drama | 1974

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HISTORY

End credits include the written statement: "A British/French Co-Production Film, made on location in Paris, Marseille, Nice and Cannes by Kettledrum Films Ltd., 53 Upper Brook Street, London W.1. England, and P.E.C.F., 18 Rue Troyon, Paris 17, France."
       According to a 27 Feb 1974 Var news item, The Destructors was originally titled The Marseilles Contract, but writer Judd Bernard changed it several times after learning that officials in Marseilles, France, one of the locations for filming, were unhappy with their reputation for being a center of drug and gang-related activity, especially after the city’s depiction in 1971’s The French Connection, as stated in a 21 Jan 1974 HR brief. Working titles included: What Are Friends For?; Hard Kill; The Contract; and The Vortex Conspiracy.
       As announced in a 13 Mar 1974 Var news brief, two cameo roles were played by Pierre Salinger, formerly a White House press secretary for Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, and James Jones, a novelist whose works included From Here to Eternity (New York, 1951).
       Filming took place on location in Southern France, Paris, and the outskirts of Paris, as stated in a 1 Mar 1974 DV item that announced principal photography had ended. Postproduction was set to take place at Pinewood Studios in London, UK.
       Critical reception was largely negative. In a 4 Dec 1974 LAT review, Kevin Thomas lamented that the talents of actors Michael Caine, Anthony Quinn, and James Mason had been wasted on poor material, noting, however, that Douglas Slocombe’s cinematography was ... More Less

End credits include the written statement: "A British/French Co-Production Film, made on location in Paris, Marseille, Nice and Cannes by Kettledrum Films Ltd., 53 Upper Brook Street, London W.1. England, and P.E.C.F., 18 Rue Troyon, Paris 17, France."
       According to a 27 Feb 1974 Var news item, The Destructors was originally titled The Marseilles Contract, but writer Judd Bernard changed it several times after learning that officials in Marseilles, France, one of the locations for filming, were unhappy with their reputation for being a center of drug and gang-related activity, especially after the city’s depiction in 1971’s The French Connection, as stated in a 21 Jan 1974 HR brief. Working titles included: What Are Friends For?; Hard Kill; The Contract; and The Vortex Conspiracy.
       As announced in a 13 Mar 1974 Var news brief, two cameo roles were played by Pierre Salinger, formerly a White House press secretary for Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, and James Jones, a novelist whose works included From Here to Eternity (New York, 1951).
       Filming took place on location in Southern France, Paris, and the outskirts of Paris, as stated in a 1 Mar 1974 DV item that announced principal photography had ended. Postproduction was set to take place at Pinewood Studios in London, UK.
       Critical reception was largely negative. In a 4 Dec 1974 LAT review, Kevin Thomas lamented that the talents of actors Michael Caine, Anthony Quinn, and James Mason had been wasted on poor material, noting, however, that Douglas Slocombe’s cinematography was impressive. The 31 Jul 1974 Var review agreed that the film’s technical aspects were “slick,” but described director Robert Parrish’s efforts as “lumbering” and “humorless.”
More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
25 Feb 1974.
---
Box Office
25 Mar 1974.
---
Box Office
29 Jul 1974
p. 4709.
Daily Variety
5 Feb 1974.
---
Daily Variety
1 Mar 1974.
---
Films and Filming
Oct 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jan 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jan 1974
p. 28.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Mar 1974
p. 22.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jul 1974
pp. 4-5.
LAHExam
4 Dec 1974.
---
Los Angeles Times
4 Dec 1974.
---
New York Times
12 Jun 1975.
---
Variety
27 Feb 1974.
---
Variety
13 Mar 1974.
---
Variety
31 Jul 1974
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Kettledrum Films-P.E.C.F. Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
Co 1st asst dir
Unit mgr
Asst unit mgr
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Focus puller
Stills photog
Clapper loader
Chief elec
Cam grip
Head grip
Film processed by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
COSTUMES
Jewels by
Maureen Kerwin and Catherine Rouvel's clothes by
MUSIC
Mus
SOUND
Sd mixer
Dubbing ed
Dubbing ed
Boom op
Dubbing mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff man
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Continuity
Casting dir
Prod accountant
French prod accountant
Dial coach
Prod secy
Car seqs arr by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Round Midnight," music by Thelonious Monk/Cootie Williams, words by Bernie Hanighen, performed by The Fellings Quartet.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Marseilles Contract
The Marseille Contract
Hard Kill
What Are Friends For?
The Vortex Conspiracy
The Contract
Release Date:
1974
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: week of 4 December 1974
Production Date:
23 January--late February 1974
Copyright Claimants:
American International Pictures, Inc. Marseilles Enterprises
Copyright Dates:
28 August 1974 28 August 1974
Copyright Numbers:
LP44133 LP44133
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Eastmancolour
Lenses
Photographed with Panavision Equipment
Duration(in mins):
89-90
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
United Kingdom, France, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
23988
SYNOPSIS

In Paris, France, a senior officer of the U. S. Embassy’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Steve Ventura, identifies the body of undercover agent Frank Matthews at a morgue. Steve and his colleague, Kovakian, suspect that French drug kingpin Jacques Brizard is behind the murder. Later, Steve meets with Briac, a French narcotics officer, who says that Brizard is too well-guarded and politically connected to be pursued. When Steve tells Fred, his DEA boss, that he wants to go back into the field, he is denied. Soon after, Steve is stopped on the street and forced into a car by two thugs. At a stoplight, he runs out of the car and leads the thugs on a foot chase through a train station. Having evaded his captors, Steve meets with Briac, who confirms that the kidnappers were employees of Brizard. Steve says he wants to hire someone to kill Brizard, who is currently in Marseilles, and though Briac refuses to collaborate, he offers the contact information of an assassin. At a park, Steve meets the hired killer, Johnny Deray, who happens to be an old friend. Although Steve is taken aback that Deray has taken on a life of crime, Deray coolly explains that the “contract” will cost $25,000, but increases the price to $50,000 when he learns that the target is Brizard. The next day, Steve gives Deray the money and a dossier on Brizard and his daughter, Lucianne. While Deray travels to Marseilles, Steve and Kovakian meet an informant in Paris. For $1,000, the man reveals that a shipment of drugs containing 400 kilos of morphine is headed to Marseilles from Turkey, and will be received by Brizard’s ... +


In Paris, France, a senior officer of the U. S. Embassy’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Steve Ventura, identifies the body of undercover agent Frank Matthews at a morgue. Steve and his colleague, Kovakian, suspect that French drug kingpin Jacques Brizard is behind the murder. Later, Steve meets with Briac, a French narcotics officer, who says that Brizard is too well-guarded and politically connected to be pursued. When Steve tells Fred, his DEA boss, that he wants to go back into the field, he is denied. Soon after, Steve is stopped on the street and forced into a car by two thugs. At a stoplight, he runs out of the car and leads the thugs on a foot chase through a train station. Having evaded his captors, Steve meets with Briac, who confirms that the kidnappers were employees of Brizard. Steve says he wants to hire someone to kill Brizard, who is currently in Marseilles, and though Briac refuses to collaborate, he offers the contact information of an assassin. At a park, Steve meets the hired killer, Johnny Deray, who happens to be an old friend. Although Steve is taken aback that Deray has taken on a life of crime, Deray coolly explains that the “contract” will cost $25,000, but increases the price to $50,000 when he learns that the target is Brizard. The next day, Steve gives Deray the money and a dossier on Brizard and his daughter, Lucianne. While Deray travels to Marseilles, Steve and Kovakian meet an informant in Paris. For $1,000, the man reveals that a shipment of drugs containing 400 kilos of morphine is headed to Marseilles from Turkey, and will be received by Brizard’s men. Hoping the information will lead to an arrest, Steve changes his mind about killing Brizard and asks Briac to arrest Deray before he has a chance to commit the murder. In Marseilles, Deray follows Lucianne as she drives on a windy road. He flirtatiously challenges her to a road race, and they end up at a restaurant together. Lucianne invites Deray to dinner at her home, where he introduces himself as “Davos”; however, Brizard discovers Deray’s real name and learns that he has a police record for bank robbery and murder. Brizard suggests Deray take a ride with him, and, in the car, asks what kind of gun he carries. Deray hands over his gun, and Brizard admires it. They arrive at a construction site, where they take an elevator to the top floor of an unfinished skyscraper. On the elevator, Brizard offers Deray $50,000 to kill a man, and Deray agrees. They meet Calmet, one of Brizard’s operatives, on the roof, along with the informant who met with Steve in Paris. Following Brizard’s orders, Deray pushes the informant over the side of the building. Calmet places Deray’s wallet in the man’s pocket, and Briac later informs Steve that Deray died, as authorities mistook the dead body for Deray. Hired by Brizard as a full-time employee, Deray agrees to make a drug delivery somewhere outside of Lyon. However, at the meeting spot, two undercover officers try to arrest Deray, and he flees, barely escaping on a train. Arriving in Marseilles, Deray sees two of Brizard’s thugs awaiting him at the station and sneaks past on a mail truck. Although Calmet tries to ambush him on the street, Deray steals a motorcycle and rides away. When Deray calls Lucianne to meet him at the yacht club, Brizard eavesdrops and sends another assassin after him. However, Deray kills the assassin in the yacht club parking lot. Deray calls Steve from his hotel lobby and leaves a message with his contact information. One of Brizard’s thugs follows Deray back to his room, but Deray is aware of the man’s presence and kills him first. A French police detective named Marsak tells Steve that Brizard is hosting a charity ball that night, but warns that Brizard should be left alone, even though the 400 kilos of morphine are expected to arrive that night as well. At the hotel, Steve asks Deray to cease his pursuit of Brizard, asserting that he will kill the man himself. Deray suggests that Steve will need help if he wants to murder Brizard, so the two travel together to a bar. There, they find one of Brizard’s thugs and strangle him to death. Back at the construction site, Briac stops Brizard at gunpoint, announcing his plans to steal the morphine shipment. A gunfight erupts as Deray and Steve arrive. Brizard speeds away while his men stay behind. In the shootout, Deray is shot and killed. Steve returns to the charity ball where he finds Brizard on the dance floor with Lucianne. Steve dances up to Brizard and shoots him in the back, hurrying away as Brizard drops dead. +

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

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