It was a good thing Hard Contract actually said “the end” at the end. Otherwise I might have started to believe it would NEVER end. One hell of a long 106 minutes.
Starring James Coburn, Hard Contract is a B-level James Bond everything. From charming assassin to playboy Coburn’s character attempts to be philosophizing the mortality of being a killer. He goes on this self journey via a job in Europe. Hired by the intellectual professor Ramsey Williams (Burgess Meredith) Coburn has to kill three men in Europe on a time schedule. Hence the term ‘hard contract’. Of course Coburn’s character (John Cunningham) does not start out on this ‘self soul searching’ journey; he is plunged into it when he meets the socialite Lee Remick (Sheila Metcalfe), a jaded divorcee who wanders Europe with a jet set group. Remick pretends to be a tart and Cunningham hires her. Through his frequent chance meetings with Remick, Cunningham begins to look at life and love differently. As does Remick. However, Remick is so damn confusing you want to scream. I am still not sure if the movie ended happy or not? I will say it was very Avant Garde as well as unconvincing. I usually enjoy some deep Avant Garde – this just seemed to miss the mark, in both mainstream and occult followings. It’s no Agent Orange.
I did really like Burgess Meredith’s character. Then again I like Burgess Meredith in just about anything. Guess that is why I stuck it out. So, if you run across this film late at night, look for an infomercial. You will have a better time.