Watch Now: RUSSIAN ROULETTE
Lou Lombardo cemented his place in film history books with his editing of The Wild Bunch (1969), hailed by his contemporaries and film historians alike as seminal. Frequent collaborator of Altman and Peckinpah, Lombardo also worked as a cameraman, producer and director. His directorial feature came in 1975 in the shape of Russian Roulette, a British-Canadian thriller starring George Segal, Denholm Elliott and Cristina Raines. Based on Tom Ardies’ novel Kosygin is Coming and scripted by Stanley Mann, Arnold Margolin and Jack Trolley, Russian Roulette tells the story of a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer who is offered his old position back if he keeps an eye on a Latvian dissident during a state visit by the Soviet premier. As his prisoner disappears, the unfortunate officer gets sucked into a vicious assassination scheme.
Lombardo’s espionage thriller was marketed with the tagline “George Segal hangs tough… and plays the game with all the chambers loaded!”, and it’s really his shoulders upon which the strength of the story rests. The stylish film was produced by Elliott Kastner and Jerry Bick, and while it wasn’t exactly the box office hit it might have been, it’s still an enjoyable ride placed deep into the Cold War paranoia.