BLOOD FEUD (1983 20th CENTURY FOX/ Operation Prime Time) Starring Robert Blake, Cotter Smith, Ernest Borgnine, Jose Ferrer, Seymour Cassel, Michael Lerner, Danny Aiello, Brian Dennehy, Forrest Tucker, Sam Groom, Edward Albert. Directed by Mike Newell.
The perpetually troubled Blake was forced to put his BLOOD FEUD salary in escrow, collectible only if he stayed drug-free for the duration of the production. He responded with a performance that perfectly captured all sides of Hoffa: loyalty (to a fault), stubbornness, obnoxiousness in and out of court (count the times he refers to himself in third person) and competitiveness that hinted at a Napoleon complex. As the heat increases, so does Hoffa’s paranoia, and Blake is positively chilling after deciding that his office is bugged or that the Kennedys have planted female spies at the Teamsters convention. Evoking defiance, desperation and ultimately realization, Blake presents the most well-rounded and formidable screen Hoffa to date.
So…..why isn’t this on DVD yet?
Why it should be on DVD:
This made for television miniseries surpasses both F.I.S.T. and HOFFA in all aspects: better scripted (by DOCTOR DETROIT‘s Robert Boris!), directed and acted. BLOOD FEUD might not have a Nicholson or Stallone at the top of the bill but arguably has the best overall cast.
Best of all is Robert Blake and BLOOD FEUD is a reminder of just how good he could be, IMO surpassing his Oscar nominated performance in 1967’s IN COLD BLOOD. Fox Movie Channel occasionally airs this one, which was originally shown as a two parter in syndication, presented by Operation Prime Time. It’s well worth 3 ½ hours of your time.