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A French criminal moves to Canada where he joins a gang who intend to kidnap a crimelord's mentally challenged daughter. When they do kidnap the girl she accidentally dies, but the group continue with their plan as nothing has gone wrong.
While trying to elude a gang of knife-wielding gypsies, fugitive Tony flees across the United States border into Montreal. Hiding out in a large Exposition building, Tony witnesses a shooting and hears the dying man's last words, "Charley, Toboggan is dead. Committed suicide." Upon searching the body of the dead man, whose name was Renner, Tony finds a packet of money and takes it. Soon after Paul and Rizzio, who were to meet Renner, arrive and discovering that he has been shot, handcuff Tony and force him to drive away with them. Tony tries to escape by pushing Paul out of the open convertible and choking Rizzio. Although Rizzio prevails, Paul is severely injured in the fall from the moving car. Soon after, they arrive at his gang's hideout, where the gang's boss Charley is waiting with Paul's infantile teenage sister Pepper, psychotic ex-prizefighter Mattone and Charley's girl friend, aging moll Sugar. Charley orders Tony to tell him the location of Renner's money, but Tony refuses, knowing that his secret insures his survival. Although the men despise Tony for hurting Paul, Sugar is kind to him and even lies to Pepper that Renner shot her brother Paul, in order to keep the gun-happy girl from killing Tony. Soon after, Tony claims that he is wanted for killing a police officer during a hold-up in France. He escaped after being shot and hopped a freighter to the United States, then took a train to Montreal. Although he at first feigns empathy, Charley gives Tony until the next day to reveal the money's location. The next morning, while Charley contemplates aloud how to kill Tony, Pepper yells hysterically from Paul's upstairs bedroom, shooting through the door, and demands that Charley find a priest for her now dead brother. Charley orders Tony to remove Pepper from the room and sends him in unarmed, but Pepper is easily calmed and soon divulges that she and Paul were adopted by Charley after their father, Charley's friend, died in prison. Later, after a brief ceremony in which Charley quickly mumbles the Lord's Prayer to appease Pepper, Charley and the others go to Montreal, leaving Sugar to guard Tony. Lonely, Sugar seduces the handcuffed Tony into an afternoon of lovemaking, but Charley discovers them upon his return. Fearing Charley's reprisal, Tony reveals the money's location. Charley, reassured by Tony's honesty, discloses that they have already found the money. Thinking that Tony might be a candidate for the gang, Charley hands him a gun and instructs him to hit a target. Failing to hit the target within five shots, Tony aims at Mattone, but the last chamber is empty, saving Mattone from certain death. Impressed with Tony's fearlessness, Charley asks him join them for their next job, kidnapping a state witness named Toboggan from Montreal police headquarters. Charley explains that gangster McCarthy has offered them one million dollars for Toboggan, his mentally retarded ex-mistress, who is prepared to testify against him. When Tony tells Charley that Renner said Toboggan killed herself, the gangster decides to stage the kidnapping anyway, by dressing Pepper in Toboggan's clothes and having her pose as the dead woman. Meanwhile, Pepper gives Tony one of two plane tickets she has to New Orleans and Paul's passport, asking him to forsake the gang and flee with her after the kidnapping. On the eve of the kidnapping, the gang attends an opera in the building next to the heavily guarded police headquarters. After Charley and the gang leave mid-way through the performance, a teenage majorette, whom Mattone earlier accosted in a park, spots Mattone in the crowd and tells nearby guards. Policemen search the seats but find only Sugar, whom they take in for questioning. Meanwhile, the rest of the gang go the basement garage, where Renner had left a car loaded with guns. After ramming the car through several walls to access a building adjacent to the headquarters, the gang uses a fire truck with an automated ladder to form a bridge to the police hospital unit where Toboggan was last held captive. However, when they enter the room to steal Toboggan's dress and her signature stuffed bear toy, a shootout with the police ensues in which Rizzio is captured. When the police pressure Rizzio to reveal the location of the gang's hideout, he leads them to a bar where he suddenly throws a cue ball at the officers to incite them to shoot, killing him instantly. Upon hearing that Toboggan has been kidnapped, McCarthy agrees to meet Charley for the exchange at an abandoned lot. Mattone guides Pepper, who is dressed in Toboggan's clothes wearing a bag over her head and holding the toy, toward the gangster and demands the money. Once he is assured the money is real, Mattone shoots at McCarthy and his men. In the ensuing shootout, Mattone is killed as Charley and Tony take cover behind their car. The toy, secretly loaded with a grenade, is then thrown at McCarthy and his crew, killing them all. Pepper drives Tony and the now wounded Charley back to the hideout, but they are quickly surrounded by police. Knowing that he is dying, Charley hands Tony and Pepper their share of the money and orders them to leave, while he fights off the police. As they drive away, however, Pepper senses that their escape route might be blocked by police. While Tony scouts ahead on foot, the gypsy chief, who had been following him, stabs him in the back. Realizing he must save Pepper, Tony pulls out the knife, staggers back to the car pretending nothing has happened and orders Pepper to go ahead to New Orleans, promising to meet her there later. When he returns to the house to die with Charley, the two men fire at a target just outside, playing for marbles, a game that keeps them focused on each other while dozens of police encroach upon the house, shooting through every window.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||PG||Premiere Info:||Paris opening: 19 Sep 1972, New York opening: 29 Nov 1972|
|Release Date:||1972||Production Date:||
dub from EB
|Color/B&W:||Color (Eastmancolor)||Distributions Co:||Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Greenwich Film Productions|
|Duration(mins):||99 or 140||Country:||France, Canada and United States|
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