Disney’s new film, “Safety,” is set to debut on their successful streaming service, Disney+, later this year. The movie tells the dramatic story of Clemson cornerback Ray-Ray McElrathbey, who took in his younger brother to live with him on-campus in secret when life at home was no longer an option.
Students, South Carolinians and Disney fans alike are excited to watch, even more so when movie crews flooded campus during the film’s production last year; They shot multiple scenes in the library, classrooms and, most notably, during the halftime of a mid-season football game. This movie is sure to be a success, unlike another film set on campus, “The Midnight Man,” that was swept under the rug.
“The Midnight Man,” both directed and produced by Burt Lancaster and Roland Kibbee, is a cult-classic among a small ring of Clemson faculty who are old enough to remember it when it was released in 1974 and the select few students they’ve opted to reveal it to. This movie is a two-hour, oversaturated, overcomplicated who-dun-it that serves only to Clemson fans and Burt Lancaster fanatics. The most fun part of this movie isn’t the actors or the plot, but to see what Clemon looked like in a time before George Lucas had even produced “A New Hope.”
Lancaster plays Jim Slade, a Chicago police officer who’s recently made parole after murdering his wife’s lover years before. He takes a job as a midnight watchman at Jordon College, where he runs into landmarks that would look oddly familiar to Clemson students. The plot is too complicated to thoroughly enjoy, but somehow also too predictable to be shocked. The film carries lots of dated timepieces like criminals in pantyhose-masks, yellow chord-phones, giant flashlights, creepy mustaches and an unfortunate amount of racism and sexism.
For those of you who may want a good laugh one night in the future, the entire film is on Youtube or can be picked up in Cooper Library. There’s lots of great quotes in this film, such as “That’s what happens when you put a broad in a man’s job,” and “I am a connoisseur of young girls” that show the strange nature of the period before the film industry’s progressive transition.
The movie isn’t without its positives, including fun fight scenes that are surprisingly realistic, a somewhat-interesting romance and a couple of plot twists that, while not huge jaw-droppers, make for a good gasp. There are also lots of sets that students and faculty will be familiar with, including the amphitheater, Cooper Library, Tillman Hall and more. One scene involves the victim of a murder floating in a pool. At first, this scene doesn’t look like Clemson, but it actually turns out to be the old pool in the campus’s YMCA.
If you’re a student with nothing to do this weekend, be sure to check out “The Midnight Man.” It’s not the greatest film of all time and doesn’t have quite the revenue that “Safety” will likely tote, but it’s a blast from the past that’s at least sure to make you point and say “There’s Tillman,” or “I see the library,” which is fun enough in its own right.