Black Windmill, The (1974)

Black Windmill, The (1974)

“I’ve got to know what’s going to happen to David!”

A British agent (Michael Caine) is suspected by his boss (Donald Pleasence) of kidnapping his own son (Paul Moss), and must take matters into his own hands.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Delphine Seyrig Films
  • Don Siegel Films
  • Donald Pleasence Films
  • Kidnapping
  • Michael Caine Films
  • Spies
  • Vigilantes

Based on Clive Egleton’s novel Seven Days to a Killing, this British spy-cum-vigilante flick is a curiously dull disappointment. With director Don Siegel at the helm and Michael Caine in the leading role, one would expect both excitement and nuance — but the overly linear storyline fails to generate much tension, and Caine is a bit too icy cool as an agent who’s almost immediately suspected of playing a part in his own son’s kidnapping:

While we understand that Caine’s reserved attitude is scripted to arouse suspicion, he takes this guise too far, and loses our sympathy. Donald Pleasence fares better as Caine’s twitchy superior, who somehow seems to have it in for Caine (if only we better understood why). Meanwhile, John Vernon and Delphine Seyrig (as “Ceil Burrows” — great name) remain sadly underdeveloped villains. The dramatic climax, taking place in the title’s picturesque locale, unfortunately comes too late to redeem the rest of the lackluster script.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Donald Pleasence as Cedric Harper

Must See?
No, though Siegel completists will certainly want to take a look.


One thought on “Black Windmill, The (1974)

  1. Aptly put – my sentiments exactly on this one. I’ve seen it recently enough to recall that it was hardly worth the trouble first time around. Talk about by-the-numbers!

    Skip it.

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