Watch Now: THE DON IS DEAD
For director Richard Fleischer 1973 was a fantastic year, seeing as how it saw the theatrical release of not one, but two of his movies. The first was Soylent Green, which has its own cult following these days, and the second one was The Don is Dead. The latter received mixed reviews even though some critics praised Fleischer's direction, the expertise he showed in handling the action scenes and the build-up of tension as the film progresses to its crescendo. The acting also received acclaim, namely Anthony Quinn's nuanced performance (his first Hollywood picture in nine years) and Robert Forster's slow descent into unstoppable fury.
The story revolves around a war between two rival mafia families, which escalates when the Don (Anthony Quinn) of one family starts sleeping with the young fiancée of Frank Regalbuto (Robert Forster), a member of the other family. The script was written by Michael Butler, Marvin H. Albert and Christopher Trumbo (son of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, one of the blacklisted Hollywood Ten). The Don is Dead is based on a book released just one year earlier and written by the aforementioned co-writer and novelist Marvin H. Albert, generally known for his crime and adventure novels.