"The Man Who Stole The Mask" is a fun and entertaining film from the 1970s directed pyogenes Arnold Schwarzenegger and John Lithgow. This is the first feature film starring both of them. The story is about a con artist who, working for a crooked boss, gets captured and secretly released from prison. He later plans to execute a series of political murders for his associates to look over. To complicate matters, he also has a partner whose identity is not yet revealed (at least not to the public).
The plot revolves around the activities of the protagonist, John. He is an insurance man who lives in a small California town. One day, he gets a visit from his old friend Dean. They talk for a while and John starts to realize that his time away from work is affecting his work. He wants to clear his mind so he goes out and starts drinking, doing drugs, and sleeping with other women.
But when Dean falls dead, John is arrested and taken to a mental hospital. There, the orderly Dr. Fischer (Ossie Davis) comes to visit. He asks John to help him create a drug called "Pavlov's Dog". John agrees, but first he needs to clear his mind of the strange occurrences that have recently happened in and around his home. His thoughts are obsessed with a blond female he calls "Pavlov's Dog". She asks John to test her mental ability to hypnotize people, and he does...to disastrous results.
As the movie progresses we get more information about John's associates. We learn about the pink slip detective that worked with him in prison (earlier in the movie, we see her there again in a different office, checking on the welfare of one of the women). There is Harry Atkins, the crooked auctioneer who works with John. Atkins also appears to be associated somehow with the mafia. And John's secretary, Gingerbread (Sandra Oh), is also a key participant in the affair.
John and the two women gradually find themselves at each other's side. John apparently doesn't have much of a choice, because he's now working for Gingerbread...and working for Gingerbread with his lover, Pamela Banks (Lori Singer). But John soon learns that he has much more in common with Gingerbread than he thinks. As their relationship develops, it turns into a delectable and romantic tale of lust and betrayal.
The Man from Snowy River manages to tie together many of the loose ends of the previous movies of this type. For one, the story somehow maintains its grip on the audience despite the multiple plot threads that keep appearing. The characters remain interesting, the story has consistent characters, and the acting is good. All the other ingredients that make a movie a hit also join here.
The cinematography is top notch throughout this movie. No other film of its kind comes close to matching the visual beauty of The Man From Snowy River. The photography by Don Hertford and Bill Sikes is simply superb. This is an absolutely beautiful film.
John Denver also shows his immense talent as a storyteller, which comes to light once again in this film. He sells the script to the audience with his amazing story telling ability. It's just one of those rare moments in movies where the writer and the director work in perfect harmony, creating an experience that any fan of the man behind the curtain will truly appreciate. That's just the way movies are made...and that's why The Man From Snowy River is a definite must-see film...