A number of Richard Stark(Donald E, Westlake)’s Parker novels have been made into films, THE HUNTER twice(with two variations of the second). In all but the most recent, PARKER starring Jason Statham, Parker has went by other names. He’s been Walker, Georges(A French language film), McClain, Stone, Porter. and in one case turned into a woman named Paula Nelson. I believe that was at Westlake’s request in all cases
In THE OUTFIT he is Earl Macklin and played by the incomparable Robert Duvall. A man just out of prison from a minor gun possession charge caught in a vice raid, he’s picked up by his girl friend, Bett Harrow(Karen Black), who informs him that his brother Ed’s death, executed by the mob. He survives an expected hit when he learns she’d been tortured by the mob to set him up. The hit man is one of those that killed his brother and Macklin gets a couple of names as well as a location.
He recruits his old partner Jack Cody(Joe Don Baker), who’d also been visited at his diner by a couple of hit men, and they rob a poker game run by the man who’d hired the shooters, Jake Menner(Timothy Carey), and gets the next name up the ladder, and gives a warning. $250,000 for his troubles. Until the payment is made, Macklin will keep hitting mob sites and anything taken in these jobs will be extra.
The man at the top is mob boss Mailer(Robert Ryan), a man who wants Macklin dead and doesn’t take him seriously at all.
Big mistake on his part.
Macklin is like a bulldog. He won’t let go, or let anything get in his way, until he gets what he wants. He’s a professional and keeps his word, expecting everybody he deal with to do the same. When he’s double-crossed and someone dies, he ramps it up with an assault on Mailer’s stronghold. It will be tough as Cody points out getting in will be a snap. Getting out will be the tough part.
I’d wanted to see this one for a long time and jumped when a remastered DVD was found. I rank it behind POINT BLANK starring Lee Marvin in getting it close to the novel. While not entirely like the book character, Macklin is pretty close, professional in his heists, cold to those who get in his way, and borrows elements from other Parker novels to give us a well-rounded film. Jack Cody was based on another character that appeared now and again in the books: Handy McKay who gets his diner later in the book series. The bit of Macklin pulling a sentence for gun possession comes from THE HUNTER.
Glad I finally caught this one. Still three films to go: MADE IN THE U.S.A.(based on The Jugger) where Parker becomes a woman and was actually the first filmed Parker novel, the French film MISE A SAC(based on The Score), and THE SPLIT(based on The Seventh and starring Jim Brown).