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Night Moves (1975)

Night Moves is one of the great thrillers of the 1970s.

Gene Hackman stars as former pro-football star Harry Moseby, now a small-time LA private detective, who’s hired by fading actress Arlene Iverson (Janet Ward) to track down her wayward daughter, the baby-voiced nympho, Delly (a very young Melanie Griffith in her film debut) – a job that embroils him in the family’s affairs.

Moseby is emotionally distracted when he catches his wife Ellen (Susan Black) in an affair, and misses a few clues when he finally tracks Delly to her ex-stepfather’s charter plane service in the Florida Keys.

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He’s attracted to Paula (Jennifer Warren), an independent woman with a shady past, and foolishly thinks that what he sees is how things really are.

Despite its title, this brilliantly self-conscious gumshoe movie by director Arthur Penn lights up a time of post-Watergate confusion as weary private eye Moseby undertakes a bleak, pointless quest, encapsulated by the final shot of a boat going round in circles.

But along the way, there’s plenty of sour wit in Alan Sharp’s sparkling script.

Harry Moseby
Gene Hackman
Paula
Jennifer Warren
Joey Ziegler
Edward Binns
Marty Heller
Harris Yulin
Nick
Kenneth Mars
Arlene Iverson
Janet Ward
Quentin
James Woods
Marv Ellman
Anthony Costello
Tom Iverson
John Crawford
Delly Grastner
Melanie Griffith
Ellen Moseby
Susan Clark

Director
Arthur Penn