The Happening

Watch The Happening

  • 1967
  • 1 hr 41 min
  • 5.1  (810)

The Happening is a 1967 crime comedy film which manages to infuse humor into the thrilling world of crime capers. The film, directed by Elliot Silverstein, is a unique blend of humor and suspense, and it takes viewers on an adventure that is as comical as it is thrilling. The plot revolves around a group of young, disenchanted hippies who unwittingly find themselves embroiled in a scheme involving kidnapping, ransom, and a multitude of misunderstandings.

The story begins with the introduction of the main characters, a troupe of hippies led by the charismatic Taurus, played by Michael Parks. Together with his fellow free-spirited companions, including the suave Sureshot portrayed by George Maharis and the wily Herby played by Robert Walker Jr., they embark on a quest for excitement and fortune that deviates far from their usual carefree existence.

In a twist of fate, the group decides to kidnap a retired mobster named Roc Delmonico, portrayed by the legendary Anthony Quinn. Delmonico is a well-known figure with a notorious past, but to the gang's dismay, he is no longer the flush mob boss he once was. They believe that Delmonico’s reputed connections and past would make him a prime candidate for a hefty ransom. However, they soon discover that Delmonico's fortune is not as vast as they had imagined, and he is viewed by his family and associates as a nuisance, leading to a surprisingly comedic situation for the kidnappers.

As the film unfolds, we are introduced to a colorful assortment of characters, from Delmonico's estranged family to his former mob associates, each adding their own flavor to the comedic mishaps that befall our naive protagonists. The interactions between these characters create a tapestry of humor and intrigue that keeps the audience engaged as each party attempts to outmaneuver the other.

Part of what makes The Happening so interesting is the contrast between the world-weary Delmonico and his idealistic captors. Delmonico, finding himself in an absurd situation, leverages his experience and savvy to manipulate the events to his advantage. Seeing this as an opportunity to orchestrate the ultimate scheme, Delmonico turns the table on his young captors as they navigate the unpredictable circumstances they have created.

The portrayal of the generation gap is another theme that resounds throughout the film. The counter-culture movement of the 1960s is depicted through the character's attitudes and lifestyles, with the youthful exuberance and anti-establishment philosophies clashing with Delmonico’s old-school, structured background. This confrontation of ideologies serves as a comedic backdrop to the tension and delivers entertaining commentary on the times.

Director Silverstein infuses the film with a spirit of irreverence and playfulness, avoiding a descent into bleakness despite the crime-centric plot. The cinematography captures the vivacious atmosphere of the 1960s, with visually striking scenes that reflect the era’s fashion, architecture, and overall cultural zeitgeist. The Happening's soundtrack complements the film perfectly, combining upbeat tunes with the suspenseful moments of the storyline, adding an additional layer of appeal to the cinematic experience.

The script, penned by Ronald Austin and James D. Buchanan, is laced with wit and an undercurrent of satire. The dialogue frequently sparkles with sharp exchanges and groovy slang that mark the era it portrays. It's a product of its time in language and sensibility, encapsulating the crossover of mainstream Hollywood cinema and the evolving societal norms of the late 1960s.

As expected in a film that melds comedy with crime drama, the narrative throws in several twists and obstacles for the characters to overcome. The mixture of slapstick, situational comedy, and clever ruses keeps audiences amused and guessing as to how the hapless kidnappers will deal with the next hurdle that comes their way. Complex relationships and motivations come to light, showcasing a rather human side to the supposedly cold crime world.

The charm of The Happening lies in its ability not only to entertain but also to offer a satirical take on the interplay between different walks of life in a rapidly changing world. With its unique story, quirky characters, and the blending of genres, the film invites viewers to indulge in the escapades of a bygone era, delivered with sufficient sophistication to earn smiles and chuckles rather than heavy-handed belly laughs. It is a snapshot of the 1960s with all its peculiarities and a spirited film that seeks to amuse and delight with its odd blend of comedy, crime, and the culture of the times.

The Happening
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  • Release Date
  • Runtime
    1 hr 41 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.1  (810)