Talk:Midnight Run

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Themes and motifs[edit]

This section needs to be partially converted into prose and properly cited. I've placed it here until this is done.--J.D. (talk) 20:37, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

There are many themes in the film, but the main one is the clash between the rough Walsh and the middle-class Mardukas. Discussions about diet, smoking, financial responsibility and other topics spin out of control as prejudices fly.

There are motifs and running jokes in the film:

  • Jack makes fun of the FBI agents' sunglasses, at one point calling Mosely "Agent Foster Grant"
  • On the bus on Wednesday morning, the Duke tells Jack that they should visit Jack's ex-wife Gail and daughter Denise in Chicago. Jack says he can't, because "I'm not exactly popular with the Chicago police department." For the next 12 hours, the Duke keeps asking, "Why aren't you popular with the Chicago police department?" before Jack finally tells him about the Serrano connection. But because Serrano is the man trying to get the Duke killed, it takes until the freight-train ride on Friday morning before Jack admits that Serrano is also the mob boss who ran him out of Chicago, a fact that Moscone mentions in the film's first 10 minutes.
  • Agent Mosely keeps stealing Dorfler's cigarettes. At one point, Dorfler says, "Why don't you quit, it'd be cheaper for both of us." Elsewhere in the film Dorfler warns De Niro's character, "Watch your cigarettes with this guy, Jack"
  • Moscone's assistant, Jerry Geisler (Jack Kehoe), named for a 1940s Hollywood attorney, whose clients included Marilyn Monroe, keeps telling him that he's going out for donuts. He is really going to a pay phone to call Serrano's henchman Tony Darvo (Richard Foronjy).
  • Darvo is hampered in his efforts, first to get Jack to accept a $1 million payoff instead of Moscone's $100,000, then to kill Jack and the Duke, by his dimwitted sidekick, Joey Ribuffo (Robert Miranda).
  • The word "fuck" is used 132 times during the course of the movie, mostly by the foul-mouthed Walsh, a contrast to the more serene Mardukas (although Mardukas uses the word or one of its derivatives at least three times).


This section needs to be properly cited. I've placed it here until this is done.--J.D. (talk) 20:37, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

The novelization of the film was written by Paul Monette. There are significant differences from the movie. In addition to his other flaws, Jack is portrayed as becoming increasingly lecherous in his middle age. Marvin Dorfler is renamed Max Dorfler. Several references are made to Dorfler's bad hairpiece, while in the movie, he does not wear a hairpiece. Dorfler is killed by Tony Darvo before the climactic scene at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. Moscone first offers Jack $25,000 to bring the Duke in. He raises it to $40,000 and finally to $50,000 before Jack demands $100,000 and gets it. In the film, Eddie, desperate to keep the $450,000 he posted, begins to say he'll give Jack $40,000, then ups it to $50,000 (finally, like the novel, Jack then demands $100,000 and gets it). In both novel and film, however, when Jack and the Duke do not arrive at Los Angeles International Airport on time, Moscone calls Dorfler and says, "If you bring him in, I'll give you what I was gonna give Walsh: $25,000" (obviously lying to Dorfler to avoid paying him as much as he offered Jack).

The novel explains why Jimmy Serrano left Chicago for Las Vegas: Although both cities have an infamous history of organized crime, there is more money and more respect to be made in Vegas, and Serrano considers leaving his post as Chicago's top drug kingpin and becoming the biggest boss in Vegas to be a "promotion." He lives in the top floor of the tallest casino-hotel in town, at a time when there were few real skyscrapers in Vegas. He sees another casino-hotel under construction, which will end up taller than his, and decides that someone will have to be hurt because of it. Since the film's 1988 release, several Vegas structures have been built much higher than the old hotels.

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