Great Scenes… Midnight Run

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All you need for one of the best comedy scenes ever is a pencil, a few $20 bills and some fine improvisation from Charles Grodin.

Midnight Run is a gem of a movie.  It is also one of those great movies that not everyone has got around to seeing. Maybe it’s because its thunder was stolen slightly by Die Hard, which was released the same week. Whatever the reason, Midnight Run remains an underrated work of genius. And most of that genius comes from Charles Grodin. He is unbelievably good as Jonathan ‘The Duke’ Mardukas, the on-the-run mob accountant who bounty hunter Jack Walsh (Robert De Niro) tries to bring in. The two leads are on great form, with De Niro gamely following Grodin along the path to great comedic acting. Much of the action was improvised and the ‘Litmus Configuration’ scene – where Mardukas and Walsh hold up a bar in a bid to solicit some much-needed cash – is an example of an actor at the peak of his powers. Grodin is mesmerising here as his character interacts with the bemused locals, furnishing each exchange with little touches that elevate the scene to classic status. That he will be remembered chiefly for being the owner of Beethoven the dog – and not for his sterling work here – is an irony that Grodin himself probably finds funny. Watch and enjoy.


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3 Responses to “Great Scenes… Midnight Run”

  1. nothatwasacompliment Says:

    That was certainly one of the better scenes. I especially liked the exchange between him and “Red”.

  2. Serrano’s got the discs!

  3. Charles Grodin was so funny back in those days. He is perfect in this movie. “Why are you unpopular with the Chicago police department?” Great stuff.

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