It’s become part of the James Bond mythology that American actor Burt Reynolds was approached by series producer Albert R. Broccoli to take over the role for the departing Sean Connery. Thankfully, for Reynolds and audiences this never came to fruition. Yet, Rough Cut feels like a glimpse of what could have been. Hitchcock movies, Cary Grant pictures, and The Italian Job all seem to be heavy inspirations for this troubled film, that saw three directors exited during a tumultuous production.
Burt Reynolds is an expert diamond thief who spots a seductive female burglar (Lesley-Anne Down) during a party for a rich English dignitary. The criminals have a snappy chat before she exits, without her foil but having made the acquaintance of a gentleman thief. In actuality, she is bait being used by a Scotland Yard Inspector (David Nevin) to catch Reynolds and top a distinguished career with a signature arrest.
Rough Cut is a frustrating movie. There are some fine moments for Burt to showcase his best qualities. Depending on his charisma, charm and comedic timing to breathe life into the talky script. The supporting characters are ineffectual, and a late twist in the story is a goofy conclusion that renders the entire movie useless. Lacking high energy pacing, colorful side players or a rich story, Rough Cut is at times nice to gaze upon or even listen to, but the flaws are on the surface for all to see.
Director: Don Siegel
Stars: Burt Reynolds, Lesley-Anne Down, David Niven