by Scott Von Doviak
“In a better world, there would be at least a half-dozen ‘70s movies based on the works of George V. Higgins, but in this world, there’s only one: The Friends of Eddie Coyle. Of course, even if there were a half-dozen more Higgins movies, it’s hard to imagine any of them doing it better than the 1974 Peter Yates film starring Robert Mitchum and Peter Boyle. Higgins’ down-on-their-luck tough guys, low-rent crimes, grungy Boston locations, and most of all, his hard-bitten, often hilarious, sometimes impenetrable thickets of dialogue all made it to the screen intact. But the movie disappeared for decades before Criterion finally gave it a new life on home video in 2009, and no more Higgins adaptations would follow until Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly (based on the 1974 novel Cogan’s Trade) reached theaters last November.