Bruce Campbell: The lowdown on his neo-noir crime thriller Running Time


Bruce Campbell made a neo-noir crime thriller called Running Time with his pal Josh Becker in 1997. Stylishly shot in black and white, this throwback to another era is one of the actor’s best works. Here is a compilation of cool behind the scenes info about this inventive flick.

Throwback Thriller

Bruce Campbell has made some interesting films. Perhaps one of his most ambitious works is a neo-noir crime thriller from 1997 called Running Time. Directed by Campbell’s pal, Josh Becker with a script by Becker and Peter Y. Choi, this 70-minute film shot in black and white is a throwback to the late 40’s and early 50’s stylistically speaking.

One could almost imagine Humphrey Bogart starring in a picture of this type back in the day. Carl Metushka (Campbell) is a newly freed con. Upon his release, he reconnects with his old pals to commit the perfect heist.

In the meantime, he has an encounter with a hooker who turns out to be his old high school girlfriend, Janie who has fallen on some hard times. She has never quite forgiven him for dropping her without an explanation or so she thinks. Carl attempts to rekindle the old spark that they once had.

However, he has one last job to complete before he can reconnect with his ex-girlfriend. What was supposed to be a well-planned and executed robbery turns out to be more than Carl and his gang bargained for. Things go south pretty quickly.

Now, on the lam from the police and at risk for going back to jail again, Carl finds his way to Janie. Is he able to win his girl’s heart?

Running Time is a must-see for Campbell fans. It is fast paced and will keep you on your toes. The script is tight and the acting is above board. You become invested in the characters and you want everything to work out for them.

Part of what makes this production so compelling is the behind the scenes story of the inspiration for the effort. So, let’s take a look at some interesting trivia surrounding the film.

The Lowdown

Most movies made in Hollywood are shot out of sequence. Very rarely are scenes filmed in order like a play. Running Time was the exception to this rule.

Josh Becker turned to the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock when making this gem. He cites the director’s Rope as being a major influence on him.

Rope is a 1948 picture starring Jimmy Stewart and is based on the story of real-life murderers Leopold and Loeb. Much like Hitch’s production, every sequence was in order. Becker shot the film in over 10 days.

Bruce Campbell’s take on the experience:

"“The film was extremely ambitious and unique from an actor’s perspective, since it all kind of played out in real time. So, each day, we could experience the unfolding drama.”"

Another classic movie gets a shout out from Becker. This time it is The Apartment from Billy Wilder. Campbell’s character, Carl Metushka is a direct reference to Johnny Seven’s character in Wilder’s effort. Although, it is spelled differently, Karl Matuschka. Seven plays Shirley MacLaine’s brother-in-law.

If you look closely, the Running Time poster is featured in two films. The first one is Tainted which is about a vampire who is out to exact revenge. You can see the poster on the wall of the video store in one scene.

The other instance where the poster can be viewed is in Kelly Graham’s (Bruce’s love interest) son Jeff’s bedroom in the wonderful parody film about Campbell’s life and career,  My Name Is Bruce.

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There you have it! You can find Running Time at Amazon in both VHS format and DVD.

Have you seen Running Time? Feel free to comment in the section below. We want to hear from you.