Dead Mans Line – A Riveting, Real Hostage Standoff

My heart pounded and almost made me sweat. This film is that good.

Thanksgiving morning I was clicking around on Amazon Prime, looking for something unusual to watch under the “recommended for you” section and came across ….

Dead Man’s Line ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

I thought, hmm, this documentary looks interesting and I don’t know anything about the subject matter — even better!

(I know what some reading are thinking: argh, just a documentary? Not your thing, you’d rather see a “real” movie, right? Wrong! This is every bit a real movie wrapped up in a very special package)

Sure, I was tempted to Google or visit Wikipedia to learn about “The True Story of Tony Kiritsis” and am glad to have resisted that impulse.

That is another disadvantage to watching movies at home vs. at the theater. If you wander into a theater and say (I’ve done this): “Please give me a ticket to the next movie that is playing” and head into the theater only knowing the title of the movie. Completely unaware of what the movie will be about.

Now that I’m doing more pre-research on movies with this blog, I can’t do that at the theater any more. I know at least what the basic story info about each movie is about before we go into the theater. A lot of that serendipitous viewing at the theater is now lost (this is also why I try to avoid spoilers and reading reading full reviews before seeing any new movies). Sometimes, I’ll FIRST LOOK or PREVIEW movies and, thus, know even more about those going in.

Stay with me, I’m not going to ruin this one here. There are zero spoilers ahead.

Dead Man’s Line

Dick Hall’s face turning purple as the wire around his neck is constricting his ability to breath ….

The title, the description of what that is, really a perfect title.

An hour later after watching this film, I’m completely mesmerized. This story is riveting and frightening real. Here’s the background:

Over 40 years ago on Tuesday, February 8, 1977 Tony Kiritsis went into a mortgage office and took mortgage broker Richard Hall hostage with a sawed-off shotgun. Kiritsis wired a “dead man’s line” around Hall’s neck and to his trigger finger, meaning that with any sudden movement or if he was killed the trigger would be pulled and Hall would have his head blown off.

What makes this documentary so fascinating is the amount of authentic news reel footage, including actual live audio, used in the film. Most documentaries include some real footage and voices of those involved years later, if still alive, but this one uses a significant amount of news footage at the time it happened. So much that it transports the viewers back in time to when it all happened and we feel the intense drama over what’s going to happen in this standoff.

Keep on. It’s safe to read my review and this blog post because there’s no way I’m going to spoil what happens. If you know what happens, then the film won’t have the same dramatic impact, but wow, if you don’t, you’re in for a major suspenseful treat.

Here I’m writing this 12 hours after watching and still feeling a rush from the experience. Oh, and I sent a tweet about it, too!

(Let this post simmer for an additional day before posting, just to see if I had the same emotion or was just being overly-excited … yes, I still feel the same!)

These are the film experiences I search for. It’s more challenging with the volume of films I’ve seen to find these type of films, but I’m like a miner looking for that special gold nugget and when I find it …. eureka! Then, of course, I want to share with my family, friends and others. So, that’s where those of you who, like me, knew nothing about the story of Tony Kiritsis, come in on this fine Saturday morning. I’m envious for the experience you’re about to have if you watch this film as I did.



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