What's $600,000 among friends? A 1973 made-for-TV movie from Playboy Films, for starters. That's "Deliver Us From Evil," an obscure crime adventure now available through Warner Archive's burn-on-demand online store.
Its premise reads like D.B. Cooper meets "Deliverance," minus the threat of man-on-man rape. (Seriously, even the first two words of the title sound like "Deliverance" when said aloud.) With virtually none of its 74-minute running time in setting up the plot. six friends are enjoying a weekend of male bonding in the mountains when an uninvited guest drops in ... literally!
They watch as a paratrooper drops with a knapsack full o' 600 Gs, and then kill him once their paths cross in the wild. One dead criminal later, our now-dirty half-dozen friends happily split the loot.
And what was that Gordon Gekko said about greed being good? Yeah, he was wrong, because it tears the guys' unit apart, as they turn on one another like dingos to a baby, once they realize that the less men in their group, the more cash for each. There's also the nagging problem of Mother Nature, and her threats of falling off cliffs, drowning in the rapids and/or freezing to death.
"Deliver Us" isn't exactly breakneck, nor a lazy stroll. Falling somewhere in between, the telefilm is aided by the sure hand of old-pro director Boris Sagal ("The Omega Man"), who gets the most of an able cast that includes leader George Kennedy, a young Jan-Michael Vincent, a grizzled Jim Davis and Jack Weston, who looks like the same character he'd later play in "The Four Seasons."
It may not have you squealing like a pig, but it's a pleasant trip back to the days when prime-time movies regularly resembled exploitation flicks. Here's hoping Warner Archive saves more of them from video oblivion. "?Rod Lott