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21

WEDNESDAY

What do albino alligators, an underwater corpse society, and high-speed chase scenes have in common? Nothing, really—but if you’re a promising director mired in a creative slump, they’re as good a starting point for a film as any. John Frankenheimer’s 1974 pop-art gangster satire 99 and 44/100% Dead stars distinguished Irish actor Richard Harris as Harry Crown, a freelance hitman called in by an aging mobster to take out a rival gang leader. But when their target hires Marvin “the Claw” Zuckerman (played by former pro-baller Chuck Connors)—an assassin-for-hire who attaches a variety of lethal artificial appendages to the metal stump on his arm—to eliminate Crown, the two must settle their personal vendetta amid a series of psychedelic shootouts. Although the pair would achieve success a year later with The French Connection II, Frankenheimer’s visual flair and screenwriter Robert Dillon’s sense of satire never quite match up this time around—resulting in an unbalanced collection of inventive, violent, and darkly comic scenes just barely cohesive enough to earn the film its cult following. The film screens at 7 p.m. at the Library of Congress’ Mary Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. (202) 707-5677. (Matthew Borlik)