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THE HUNTER starring STEVE MCQUEEN, ELI WALLACH and LEVAR BURTON in the true story of Ralph “Papa” Thorson

THE HUNTER was Steve McQueen’s last film and is a nifty mix of comedy and action with an array of memorable characters. McQueen plays Ralph "Papa" Thorson, a modern day bounty hunter who will employ practically any means to capture bail jumpers (The real Ralph Thorson has a cameo in the film as a bartender). Though McQueen was ill at the time of production, he gives a multilayered performance which shows his high degree of skill as an actor. There are of course some excellent action sequences, but what is more interesting is the subtle/low key humor that McQueen employs to round out his character: Thorson is shown to be a terrible driver in the movie, an in-joke for fans who know of McQueen’s racing skills. Also his love of antiques shows his old school obsessions and distrust of the modern world. "Anything new is not good." he states rather ruefully. There is a sweet subplot in which his girlfriend (Kathryn Harrold) is preparing to have their child, and McQueen’s paternalism shines in these moments. All this collides with the main plot wherein a former quarry turns the tables on McQueen and comes after him for revenge. Eli Wallach (another alumnus of The Actors’ Studio) is very amusing in a supporting role as a bail bondsman, as is Levar Burton as a bail jumper who is befriended by McQueen. Mixed in along the way are several stories-within-stories which show the professionalism and determination of McQueen’s character to carry out his job, but still remain an honest and decent man at the end of the day. THE HUNTER is a well made action film/character study which caps the great Steve McQueen’s career. Audiences will also appreciate the subtle/sly comedy which is very deftly worked into the film. Thanks, Steve.. Your work will not be forgotten.


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