The Formula

M-G-M refused to let director John Avildsen take his name off this picture. According to Avildsen, it was not his original cut, nor producer-writer Steve Shagan's cut, but sort of a combination of the two, plus a few snips and patches by M-G-M president David Begelman.

With:
George C. Scott Marthe Keller Marlon Brando John Gielgud Beatrice Straight Richard Lynch

M-G-M refused to let director John Avildsen take his name off this picture. According to Avildsen, it was not his original cut, nor producer-writer Steve Shagan’s cut, but sort of a combination of the two, plus a few snips and patches by M-G-M president David Begelman.

Given the combined efforts of 14 Oscar nominees and a solid bestseller [by Shagan] to start from, it’s truly amazing that The Formula is such a clump of sludge, impossible to understand for at least an hour before it grinds to a halt.

Initial sequences solidly establish the closing hours of World War II when a German general (Richard Lynch) is entrusted with top secret documents to take to Switzerland in hopes the Nazis can use them to bargain for amnesty. But Lynch is captured by a US major (Robin Clarke) who recognizes what the secrets will be worth in the postwar world of commerce.

Cut forward 35 years and Clarke is a fresh corpse, murdered in his bed. George C. Scott is called in to investigate the murder of his old friend and before long establishes Clarke had some mysterious dealings with oil supertycoon Marlon Brando.

Appearing grotesquely fat and ridiculous, Brando apparently thinks he’s making some visual comment on the nature of his character.

1980: Nomination: Best Cinematography

The Formula

Production: M-G-M. Director John G. Avildsen; Producer Steve Shagan; Screenplay Steve Shagan; Camera James Crabe; Editor David Bretherton, John G. Avildsen, John Carter; Music Bill Conti; Art Director Herman A. Blumenthal

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1980. Running time: 117 MIN.

With: George C. Scott Marthe Keller Marlon Brando John Gielgud Beatrice Straight Richard Lynch

More Film

  • Anita Hill

    Anita Hill Chairs Hollywood Anti-Sexual Harassment Commission Formed by Top Execs

    M-G-M refused to let director John Avildsen take his name off this picture. According to Avildsen, it was not his original cut, nor producer-writer Steve Shagan’s cut, but sort of a combination of the two, plus a few snips and patches by M-G-M president David Begelman. Given the combined efforts of 14 Oscar nominees and […]

  • Warren Beatty

    Arnon Milchan Sues Warren Beatty Over 'Rules Don't Apply' Flop

    M-G-M refused to let director John Avildsen take his name off this picture. According to Avildsen, it was not his original cut, nor producer-writer Steve Shagan’s cut, but sort of a combination of the two, plus a few snips and patches by M-G-M president David Begelman. Given the combined efforts of 14 Oscar nominees and […]

  • Oscar Isaac Addams Family

    Oscar Isaac in Talks to Voice Gomez Addams in Animated 'Addams Family' Movie

    M-G-M refused to let director John Avildsen take his name off this picture. According to Avildsen, it was not his original cut, nor producer-writer Steve Shagan’s cut, but sort of a combination of the two, plus a few snips and patches by M-G-M president David Begelman. Given the combined efforts of 14 Oscar nominees and […]

  • Jennifer Lawrence

    Publicists for Jennifer Lawrence, Daisy Ridley, Amy Adams Form New Firm

    M-G-M refused to let director John Avildsen take his name off this picture. According to Avildsen, it was not his original cut, nor producer-writer Steve Shagan’s cut, but sort of a combination of the two, plus a few snips and patches by M-G-M president David Begelman. Given the combined efforts of 14 Oscar nominees and […]

  • Hannah Marks Liana Liberato

    Hannah Marks, Liana Liberato to Star in High School Comedy 'Banana Split'

    M-G-M refused to let director John Avildsen take his name off this picture. According to Avildsen, it was not his original cut, nor producer-writer Steve Shagan’s cut, but sort of a combination of the two, plus a few snips and patches by M-G-M president David Begelman. Given the combined efforts of 14 Oscar nominees and […]

  • NOR_D01_053017_9621_R2 – L-R: Tom Hanks (Ben

    Steven Spielberg's 'The Post' to Open Palm Springs Film Festival

    M-G-M refused to let director John Avildsen take his name off this picture. According to Avildsen, it was not his original cut, nor producer-writer Steve Shagan’s cut, but sort of a combination of the two, plus a few snips and patches by M-G-M president David Begelman. Given the combined efforts of 14 Oscar nominees and […]

  • Willa Fitzgerald

    'The Goldfinch' Movie Adaptation Casts Willa Fitzgerald (EXCLUSIVE)

    M-G-M refused to let director John Avildsen take his name off this picture. According to Avildsen, it was not his original cut, nor producer-writer Steve Shagan’s cut, but sort of a combination of the two, plus a few snips and patches by M-G-M president David Begelman. Given the combined efforts of 14 Oscar nominees and […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content