Last Embrace (1979)

Last Embrace (1979)

“I’m afraid of what’ll happen if I stay.”

While recovering from his wife’s accidental death, a CIA agent (Roy Scheider) believes someone is out to eliminate him. He receives mysterious notes in Aramaic, is trailed by his brother-in-law (Charles Napier), and befriends a mousy young woman (Janet Margolin) whose grandmother worked in a Jewish brothel run by Hannan’s ancestors.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Amateur Sleuths
  • Janet Margolin Films
  • Jonathan Demme Films
  • Mistaken or Hidden Identities
  • “No One Believes Me!”
  • Roy Scheider Films

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this Jonathan Demme thriller is a “shaky contribution” to the ever-growing list of “suspense films in the Hitchcock mold.” With that said, The Last Embrace is interesting and enjoyable on its own merits: it possesses a unique and “extremely interesting” premise, an “abundance of Hitchcockian touches and characters”:

… a score by Miklos Rosza that “reminds one of Bernard Herrmann”, and unusual characters — particularly Janet Margolin as Ellie, a “smart but neurotic college student” whose sweet nature belies any number of possible alter egos.

Redeeming Qualities:

  • Janet Margolin as Scheider’s unanticipated roommate
  • Charles Napier as Scheider’s dead wife’s brother
  • Fine cinematography and location shooting

Must See?
No. This is a fun thriller, but not essential viewing.


One thought on “Last Embrace (1979)

  1. First viewing. Not a must.

    Forgotten Demme flick…in some ways, justifiably so – since this one is ultimately ludicrous. Demme is a very talented filmmaker but he has never been much good when called on to helm a project clearly beneath his talents as an artist.

    This Hitch homage is not as misguided as Demme’s unfortunate ‘Charade’ re-tread – ‘The Truth About Charlie’. ‘LE’ at least has a semi-intriguing hook midway. Alas, however, the film hinges on a rather tragic reality (all-too-common at a certain time, probably) which is merely exploited for commercial-audience effect.

    The acting is of the standard, sub-par thriller variety. Margolin – often an engaging presence – doesn’t have the chops for what’s expected of her (but even a more accomplished actress would have a tough time here). Christopher Walken appears, teasingly, in a small role – and it’s sad when he doesn’t return. Ah, well.

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