Archive of films Night Moves / Night Moves

1975, 100 min

Section: New Hollywood II
Year: 2008

Gene Hackman as private detective Harry Moseby searches for a 16-year-old girl who has run away from home in this remarkable neo-noir by Arthur Penn (Bonnie and Clyde, Little Big Man). The investigation takes the Chandleresque protagonist to Florida where he is dragged into a life of dangerous intrigue.


Harry Moseby (Gene Hackman), a worn-out private detective, is hired to look for a 16-year-old girl who has run away from the luxury home of her mother, formerly a small-time actress in Los Angeles. The more the weary cynic tries to get under the surface of the seemingly simple case, the harder it is for him to find his bearings among the lies and deceptions that surround him. Eight years after the key New Hollywood film Bonnie and Clyde, Arthur Penn and Gene Hackman reunited to collaborate on what was to become one of the most undervalued films of the decade. Like Polanski in Chinatown or Altman in The Long Goodbye, in his revisionist film noir, Penn also allows the 1940s classic genre to pervade the complex reality of the 1970s. The feelings of bitterness and emptiness in the modern Chandleresque protagonist originate not only in the “public” sphere of the strange, increasingly convoluted case, but in his private life as well (boyhood trauma, a broken marriage). As Moseby remarks of a sporting event, “nobody’s winning … one side is just losing slower than the other.”

About the director

Arthur Penn (b.1922, Philadelphia) belongs to the generation of directors (Sidney Lumet, Sam Peckinpah) that contributed to the revitalisation of American film in the latter half of the 1960s. After a series of television films, Penn debuted with the Western The Left-Handed Gun (1958), which starred Paul Newman in the role of Billy the Kid. Penn’s thriller The Chase resonates with the topical problems of growing racism and violence in the mid-1960s. 1967 saw the release of the cult gangster film Bonnie and Clyde, which marked the birth of New Hollywood. After taking a melancholic backwards glance at America of the 1960s in Alice’s Restaurant, Penn created a number of original variations throughout the 1970s on classic American genres such as the western (Little Big Man, The Missouri Breaks) or film noir (Night Moves). In addition to his lifelong passion for the theatre, Penn also worked in television (series Law and Order).


Hollywood Classics
Suite 31, Beaufort Court, Admirals Way, E14 9XL, London
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 207 517 7525

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: New Hollywood II
Director: Arthur Penn
Screenplay: Alan Sharp
Dir. of Photography: Bruce Surtees
Music: Michael Small
Editor: Dede Allen, Stephen A. Rotter
Producer: Robert M. Sherman, Gene Lasko
Production: Warner Brothers
Cast: Gene Hackman, Jennifer Warren, Susan Clark, James Woods, Melanie Griffith
Contact: Hollywood Classics


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