The Formula

  • 1980
  • Movie
  • R
  • Thriller

This shockingly inept adaptation of Steve Shagan's gripping novel was written and produced by the author himself. George C. Scott stars as Barney Caine, a homicide detective who is called in to investigate the mysterious murder of an old friend. Barney soon learns that his buddy had some odd business dealings with grotesque oil tycoon Adam Steiffel (Brando),...read more

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This shockingly inept adaptation of Steve Shagan's gripping novel was written and produced by the author himself. George C. Scott stars as Barney Caine, a homicide detective who is called in to investigate the mysterious murder of an old friend. Barney soon learns that his buddy had some

odd business dealings with grotesque oil tycoon Adam Steiffel (Brando), and it is eventually revealed that his friend had access to a formula for synthetic fuel rumored to have been perfected by the Nazis during WW II. The trail takes Barney to Europe, where he tracks down the inventor of the

formula (Gielgud) and encounters a mysterious female spy (Keller) who is after the ultra-valuable formula. Dull, contrived, and ploddingly directed by John G. Avildsen, this film is a never-ending series of repetitive interviews in which Barney asks questions of a recalcitrant informant.

Ultimately, the trail leads back to Brando's corpulent oil magnate. Brando, who appears in only three scenes and walked off with $3 million for his performance, is the only spark of life in the entire film, albeit a highly bizarre one. At one point he offers Scott's Barney a dish of Milk Duds

while earnestly intoning, "They're good."

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  • Released: 1980
  • Rating: R
  • Review: This shockingly inept adaptation of Steve Shagan's gripping novel was written and produced by the author himself. George C. Scott stars as Barney Caine, a homicide detective who is called in to investigate the mysterious murder of an old friend. Barney soo… (more)

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