THE SAVAGE IS LOOSE—--Scott runs loose, cooks own goose. As in George C. Scott, who directed himself in this embarrassing 1974 bow-wow. Co-producing, he co-starred his wife, Trish Van Devere, and attempted an end run around the accepted practice of distribution by selling prints to individual theaters, splitting ad costs, with the theater keeping the profits from the showings. The profits did not appear, because audiences didn’t show up, partially because of baleful reviews, partially because the subject matter wasn’t going to be a date movie or family outing—incest among a family of three on a desert island.
It’s Oedipus Family Robinson, as Father (George), and Mom (Trish) raise their son only to find he has turned his maternal crush into a romance fantasy—one that turns into lust, then aggression. Gee, who wouldn’t want to see that on Saturday night? The boy is played first by Lee Montgomery (the creepy
rat kid from Ben), then later as young (savage & loose) rapist-to-be by John David Carson.
Filmed near Puerto Vallarta, some of the camera work (Alex Philipps Jr.) is effectively island’y, but the script, direction and acting is selectively deserted. It was a huge set-back for the star, whose previous directorial effort, Rage, also went thud and who had just suffered the failure of both The Bank Shot (a snooze) and the high-profile The Day Of The Dolphin (a lovely film—also with Van Devere and Carson— that was drubbed and lost money). Following this mistake—which came in 154th place for the year—sputtered the gassy flameout of The Hindenburg. Then the damp reception of the fine Islands In The Stream saw Scott’s fiery brilliance from Patton and The Hospital reduced to sporadic flickers.
Speaking of assaulting the family unit, Montgomery became a real-estate agent in Simi Valley, California.