Escapism of the calibre of Peter Yates‘ The Hot Rock (i.e., smart, low-key, character-driven humor delivered by name-brand actors) doesn’t happen very much these days. That aside, this mostly delicious scene has a huge flaw. When “Chicken” (i.e., Ron Leibman in disguise) throws Paul Sand off the platform and into the elevator shaft, we should of course hear an impact sound. This absence almost kills the gag. Why Yates, a first-rate craftsman who had directed Bullitt three years earlier and would pilot The Friends of Eddie Coyle two years hence, would overlook something this basic and obvious is beyond me.
There’s something close to perfect about the way Robert Redford mumbles “my heart wouldn’t be in it.” It’s an honest statement of principles.