Friday, April 15, 2011

Lady Ice (1973)

Calling Lady Ice a routine heist movie is an insult to routine heist movies, because this lifeless flick has all of the trappings of the genre but none of the appeal. Donald Sutherland plays an insurance-company investigator who romances a rich young woman (Jennifer O’Neill) in order to prove she’s a fence for stolen jewels. Sutherland seems game for playing a suave secret agent, flirting his way through a charming performance as a cocksure operator who may or may not be out of his depth, but the vapid script generates neither excitement nor suspense, so Sutherland ends up treading water. However O’Neill, the wholesomely beautiful ex-model who made such a memorable impression in Summer of ’42 (1971), is amateurish. Though she’s enchanting when she smiles with her impossibly white teeth contrasting her deeply tanned skin, she’s boring when she speaks because of her inability to invest dialogue with emotion or reality. Had the film given her anything interesting to do, the shortcomings of her performance might not have been as obvious, but then again, there’s a reason why less than ten years after Summer of ’42, O’Neill had slid so far down the Hollywood ladder that she spent 1979 costarring with the likes of Lee Majors and Chuck Norris. The great Robert Duvall shows up in Lady Ice as well, though just barely, in a small and underwritten role as a cop trailing Sutherland’s character, and the film’s other appeal is extensive location photography showcasing the sights of Miami and Nassau. But thanks to paper-thin characters, a rudimentary storyline, and long stretches in which nothing much happens, Lady Ice isn’t worth examining for hidden virtues.

Lady Ice: LAME

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