Big Jake (1971) – 106

Big Jake (1971)

Big Jake (1971)

Not if we kill them first!

 

Welcome to today’s show, Big Jake (1991), my name is John. As always you can subscribe to the show on iTunes or follow the links to social media in the podcast show notes. You can also go to snarkymoviereviews.com to read notes, bios, and other random movie thoughts. Remember this show is completely free and independent. All I ask is that you jump over to iTunes and give me a review.

Today’s movie is Big Jake (1991) a romping stomping rooting tootin man fest. This movie has so many great lines it’s fun to watch even if you’re not buying the whole premise. Most of the actors we have talked about before so I’ll jump right in.

Actors

John Wayne plays Jacob, the patriarch of the McCandles clan, who has been away for like 10 years because he prefers the company of men, I mean he can’t live in the same house with Martha McCandles (Maureen O’Hara). Of course, we have spoken about John Wayne extensively begin with Episode 2 – Chisum (1970).

Big Jake (1971)

Big Jake (1971)

The lovely and talented Maureen O’Hara plays the role of Martha McCandles. In this movie, she is powerful and driven but is only in the movie for a bit. We first covered O’Hara in Episode 3 – McLintock! (1963).

The middle McCandles son was James played by Patrick Wayne, who was also covered in Episode 3 – McLintock! (1963).

Christopher Mitchum, the son of Robert Mitchum played the youngest McCandles son Michael. Mitchum had a decent film and television career including an earlier movie with John Wayne, Rio Lobo (1970).

Singer Bobby Vinton was cast as the eldest son, Jeff McCandles. Why they cast him, heaven only knows. Was it a mafia thing?

Jacob’s best buddy and traveling companion is Sam Sharpnose. That’s right a full blooded Indian tracker played by none other than Bruce Cabot. We started with Cabot back in Episode 1 – King Kong (1933).

The bad guys consisted of John Fain played by Richard Boone, who was covered Episode 49 – The Alamo (1960), O’Brien played by Glenn Corbett who was covered in Episode 2 – Chisum (1970), Pop Dawson who was played by Harry Carey Jr. who was covered Episode 12 – Billy the Kid Versus Dracula (1966).

The head of the Texas Rangers was Buck Dugan played by John Doucette. Doucette was a character actor with almost 300 credits. He was in True Grit (1969) and Patton (1970).

Hank Worden played the role of Hank, Martha’s driver. Worden was covered in Episode 49 – The Alamo (1960).

John Agar played the ranch foreman. Agar was covered in Episode 2 – Chisum (1970).

Story

The year is established as 1909 through a series of photographs. It highlights how modern the world was except that the western US was still wild. As the bad guys are riding towards the McCandles ranch a bio is presented on each

Big Jake (1971)

Big Jake (1971)

of the bad guys. At the ranch, Little Jake McCandles is practicing the piano. Upstairs. Jeff McCandles (Bobby Vinton) is sleeping.The gang attacks the ranch, killing innocent men, women, and children. When Jeff comes down he is wounded by John Fain (Richard Boone) head of the bandits. They even kill old Moses Brown the cook before they kidnap Little Jake. `Little Jake stabs O’Brien in the cheeks making an enemy for life. They leave Mrs. Martha McCandles (Maureen O’Hara) alive so she can pay the ransom.

Hank (Hank Worden) comes riding in after the attack. Martha tells him to get a doctor and the sheriff. Hank asks about her husband to which she replies, I have no husband. She finds the ransom note with instruction on the body of her wounded son. The bad guys and their hostage cross back into Mexico.

Martha has a strong box brought down and she is offered aid from the Army and the Texas Rangers. The Rangers are led by Buck Dugan (John Doucette). Martha turns down both offers saying it is going to be a harsh and unpleasant business and will require a harsh and unpleasant kind of man.

The scene switches to Big Jake McCandles (John Wayne) sighting his rifle. In the distance are a group of cattle men about to hang a sheep herder. Big Jake convinces himself he is not going to get involved. He talks it over with his Rough Collie that goes by the name of Dog. About that time one of the men kicks a small Mexican boy. Big Jake rides down and rescues the shepherd (Bernard Fox) and buys the sheep. The hang men change their tune when they find out they are dealing with Big Jake. Later a rider brings a letter from Martha saying she needs his help.

Big Jake arrives via train with his horse in tow. Jake goes in to see Martha. She tells of Jeff being shot and Jeff’s son being kidnapped. Hank and another man bring in the red strong box with the million dollar ransom. Jake opens the box and asks Martha if that is the way she want to do it. She says yes, they need to be given what they have ask for. Big Jake agrees.

Jake begins loading the gear and sees Buck. Buck and his rangers want to take cars and go with Jake. James McCandles (Patrick Wayne) arrives and is mad because his dad left ten years ago. He keeps calling Big Jake daddy. Jake pulls him off the horse and says since you haven’t learned to respect your elders, it’s time you learned to respect your betters. Big Jake sends for Sam Sharpnose (Bruce Cabot) an Indian guide and tracker.

About this time Michael McCandles (Christopher Mitchum) rides up on a motorcycle and they have a little comedy interlude. Michael reports that he has seen Little Jake alive five hours earlier in the Chilicothe flats.he proposes that the Rangers can use the car to get ahead of the kidnappers. Martha says she will chance it and then asks James opinion.

The two sons go with the Rangers. The cars pass the horses and mules on the road.

Big Jake meets up with Sam Sharpnose and Sam explains that he doesn’t hunt Apaches. He also explains about the kidnapping. The pair and the dog continue on their journey into Mexico.

The Rangers drive to the ambush site while Michael scouts on his motorcycle. Although they have lost sight of the kidnappers, the two McCandles boys and Buck decide to go into the pass even though they are warned against it. Of course, Fain and the gang have made it their first and they ambush the Rangers. The Rangers take a beating and all the cars are destroyed while Michael does some pointless riding around on his motorcycle.

Jake and Sam arrive at the ambush and he refuses to help the stranded Rangers. He further states that he should kill Buck for endangering his grandson. James joins his father and they don’t know the location of Michael. James argues with his dad and Sam gives him some good advice. The find Michael laying at the bottom of a cliff with a destroyed motorcycle. He was playing possum. Jake punches him in the face twice, once for making him think he was dead and once for risking Little Jake.

That night the three McCandles and Sam make camp. James starts messing with Jake and then they find out he has been hit by buckshot. They perform the surgery by the campfire. The next day they pass a distinctive water fall that the Fain gang passed the day before. Jake tells Sam he thinks they are being followed. Sam finds that they are being followed by three or four men. They have a little fun with Michael’s automatic pistol. Michael shows that he is an expert shot with a sniper rifle.

That night they set-up camp in an abandoned adobe hut. That night fain rides into the camp to work out the details of the exchange. Fain tells them to go to Escondaro. He also says they have not been following the McCandles. Jake says he doesn’t care about the boy and Fain says he is just a messenger. Fain says they will “send the boy’s body back in a basket” if anything should go wrong.

Big Jake (1971)

Big Jake (1971)

Sam says that two of the men following them are in the trees. He and go go and kill one but the other gets away. They leave and go into the town and check into a hotel. They say the dog is okay but no Indians. Jake knows that the other gang will be trying to steal the money so he sets a trap. Big Jake scatters his group and he gets to the cantina and picks a fight with the meanest biggest oil driller. During the fun time ruckus, Sam slips over the roof and into the room. Jake goes into a shower and the man that was following him comes and hold Jake at gunpoint. Two men come into the cantina and pick a fight with James. James finally shoots the two men with his brother’s automatic pistol. Three other bad guys come into the room, two by the door and one by the window. Sam kills the window guy, Michael kills the first doorman and dog get the second. When the man at the shower hears the shooting he aims to kill Jake but Jake fires a shotgun through the stall doors and kills the man.

During the shooting in the room, the red chest is broken open and everyone finds out that there are only newspaper clippings in the box. The two sons accuse their father of stealing the money. Both sons hit their father in turn and then he beats them both down. When they wake up he tells them that this was Martha’s idea, remember giving them what they ask for. Michael says they will kill Little Jake if there is no money. Big Jake in one of the greatest lines of all times says “Not if we kill them first.”

Later that night Pop Dawson (Harry Carey Jr.) comes to the room and tells Jake to come with the money and that they will have a sniper on Little Jake. Michael is sent to get the sniper. They tell Pop that Michael is dead.

Pop leads them to a courtyard and leaves. A man is hiding around the corner and Jake spits tobacco in his eyes while James gets in position. Jake crosses the courtyard and finds Fain and four men waiting. Jake sicks the dog on one of the men. Another man comes out with a shotgun on Little Jake. Fain gives Jake a final warning. When Fain insists that Jake open the money case, Jake throws him the keys. Fain sees that money is fake and Jake gives a final warning to Fain.

The shooting starts and both Jake and Fain are hit. Michael kills the sniper. Fain shoots the dog. Big Jake gets away with Little Jake. Big Jake gives Little Jake a derringer and tells him to run. Sam kills one of the gang and is killed by machete-wielding John Goodfellow. Good fellow chases Little Jake and dog comes to the rescue and is killed.

Michael is shot but kills another bad guy. O’Brien get the jump on him but then Michael kills him in a fair fight.

Out of shotgun shells Jake hits Fain with a lantern and goes after Little Jake. Big Jake uses a pitchfork to finish off Goodfellow. Fain rides up and is about to shot both of the Jakes when Michael picks him off with a sniper shot. Before he dies fain ask who he is. Big Jake tells him and Fain says I thought you were dead. Big Jake replies. Not hardly.

With Little Jake rescued, and the broken family bonded, they prepare to head home.

World-Famous Short Summary – Couple goes through rough patch

If you enjoyed this week’s show please tell your friends and it you really want to help drop over to iTunes to give me a review. If you want to comment, recommend a movie, or just say hi, follow the links in the show notes to my site.

Beware the moors

Big Jake (1971)

The Glory Guys (1965) – 105

The Glory Guys (1965)

The Glory Guys (1965)

You're government property now, son.

 

Welcome to today’s show, my name is John. As always you can subscribe to the show on iTunes or follow the links to social media in the podcast show notes. You can also go to snarkymoviereviews.com to read notes, bios, and other random movie thoughts. Remember this show is completely free and independent. All I ask is that you jump over to iTunes and give me a review.

Today’s movie is The Glory Guys (1965). This is a fun little cavalry romp that tells the tale of love and Custer’s Massacre.

Actors

Tom Tryon played the role of Capt. Demas Harrod. Tryon was covered in Episode 4 – In Harm’s Way (1965).

Slim Pickens played veteran Sgt. James Gregory. Pickens was covered in Episode 4 – In Harm’s Way (1965).

Harve Presnell played head scout Sol Rogers. Presnell was born in California and spent his youth in the great outdoors. When he was 7, it was discovered that he had a great voice and he began singing in church. He initially went to USC on a sports scholarship but left to study acting. Trained in opera, he spent three years touring in Europe.

Back in the US, Presnell after singing at Carnegie Hall, “practice, practice, practice”, and being seen at the Hollywood Bowl, the role of Johnny Brown was written for him. He first performed this role on Broadway and then in the film version, The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964) with Debbie Reynolds.

There were very few musicals being produced at the time so Presnell tried another genre in films like the western The Glory Guys (1965) and the teen romp When the Boys Meet the Girls (1965) with Connie Francis. His singing stood out, especially with “They Call the Wind Mariah” in Paint Your Wagon (1969), a movie that hilariously crossed cast Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood as singers. Had it not been for Jean Seberg, this movie would have been perfect.

The Glory Guys (1965)

The Glory Guys (1965)

In the 1970s, there was no film work for Presnell. With his singing voice though he became a major force in popular theater. He returned to film in a big way in the Coen Brother’s hit Fargo (1996). Other films followed such as Saving Private Ryan (1998), The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000), Mr. Deeds (2002), Old School (2003), Flags of Our Fathers (2006), and Evan Almighty (2007). He was active on television as well. Sadly, he died of pancreatic cancer in 2009 at the age of 76.

Senta Berger played the love interest Lou Woddard. Berger was born in Austria in 1941. She started performing with her father at an early age. At 16, she was discovered by an Austrian director and got her first film role. She was active in the Vienna Theater.

In 1962, Berger moved to Hollywood and did quite well in movies and television. In three films she played almost the same role. These films are Major Dundee (1965), The Glory Guys (1965), and Cast a Giant Shadow (1966).

In 1969, she returned to Europe and continues to perform in movies.

James Caan played pugnacious Irish Pvt. Anthony Dugan. Caan was born in the Bronx in 1940. A gifted athlete, Caan played football at Michigan State University. Later while studying at Hofstra University he became interested in acting. He began studying at Stanford Meisner’s Neighborhood Playhouse. Caan began doing off-Broadway plays during this time.

Caan’s first film role was in Irma la Douce (1963). He really got noticed when he was cast as Mississippi in the western El Dorado (1967) starring John Wayne and Robert Mitchum. But what really put him in orbit was his role as Brian Piccolo in the made for television movie Brian’s Song (1971). I cry when I watch it and I know you do too.

Next came the role that made Caan a star. Director Francis Ford Coppola cast him as the mercurial son of Don Corleone, Santino AKA Sonny in the epic Mafia drama The Godfather (1972). Because of the way The Godfather: Part II (1974) was written Caan was able to return in flashbacks. Spoiler – he was killed in the first one.

In the following years, Caan tried a variety of projects include films such as Freebie and the Bean (1974), The Gambler (1974) which was one of his better performances, Funny Lady (1975), the follow-up to Funny Girl (1968), dystopian future Rollerball (1975), and the spy thriller, The Killer Elite (1975), directed by Sam Peckinpah.

Following this, Caan’s career went cold. Except for Thief (1981), most of his movies through the late 70s and early 80s were not much to write about. Then he popped back playing a tormented SFC during the Vietnam War pulling state site duty. This movie was Gardens of Stone (1987) and both Caan and his co-stars Anjelica Huston and James Earl Jones were great.

Caan crushed it again in the sci-fi buddy cop adventure Alien Nation (1988). He had a part in the highly-stylized Dick Tracy (1990) as Spaldoni. That same year he played a sheepish author, in Misery (1990), who is held prisoner and tortured by an obsessed fan, played by Kathy Bates .

Other great roles followed, such as For the Boys (1991) with the Divine Ms. M, the comedy Honeymoon in Vegas (1992), The Program (1993), Eraser (1996), Bottle Rocket (1996), Elf (2003), and Get Smart (2008). Caan is still making movies and has been performing on television, notably with his son on “Hawaii Five-0” and his own series “Las Vegas” 2003-2008.

Michael Anderson Jr. played young Pvt. Martin Hale. Anderson was born in England in 1943. His first acting was on television beginning in 1956. His first film was an English film, The Moonraker (1958). He turned in a great performance The Sundowners (1960) holding his own with Robert Mitchum, Deborah Kerr, and Peter Ustinov. He continued to work in television and film before showing up in three American westerns, The Glory Guys (1965), The Sons of Kate Elder (1965), and Major Dundee (1965). That same year he was also in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965). His next major film role was in Logan’s Run (1976) as the Doc. Anderson has continued in film and television with his last work being in 1998. He is still alive.

Andrew Duggan played the role of hard fighting Gen. Frederick McCabe. Duggan was born in Indiana in 1923 but raised in Texas. He attended Indiana University where he studied speech and drama. He was drafted into the Army and was in a Special Services unit commanded by Melvyn Douglas. Following the war, his contacts helped him on Broadway.

Duggan started in television in 1949. His first film of around 70, was Three Brave Men (1956). Other films of note include Merrill’s Marauders (1962), PT 109 (1963) as the narrator, The Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964), Seven Days in May (1964), The Glory Guys (1965), In Like Flint (1967), The Secret War of Harry Frigg (1968), Frankenstein Island (1981), Doctor Detroit (1983), and A Return to Salem’s Lot (1987).

Duggan is known for two big television roles. The first as the original John Walton Sr. in “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story” 1971. The other was as Hotlips’s father in a 1980 episode of “M*A*S*H” 1972. Duggan passed away at the age of 64 in 1988.

The Glory Guys (1965)

The Glory Guys (1965)

Peter Breck played mean  Lt. Bunny Hodges. I mentioned this guy briefly in I Want to Live (1958) but he is mostly known as Nick Barkley on “The Big Valley” 1965-1969.

Erik Holland has a very small part as Pvt. Clark Gentry who feared he would turn yellow in battle. Holland was born in Norway in 1933 and was only in a few movies being mostly a television actor. These movies include More American Graffiti (1979), Titanic (1997), Gotcha (1985), Stargate (1994) and Ghostbusters II (1989). However, I mention him here because he was the Union oath giver in The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976).

Wayne Rogers had a small role as Lt. Mike Moran, assistant to Capt. Demas Harrod. Rogers was born in Alabama and graduated from Princeton before joining the Navy. Rogers began acting in the Navy and went into this line after his discharge.

Rogers studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse before working on and off Broadway for a number of years. He also did some television work. His early film roles include Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), The Glory Guys (1965), and Cool Hand Luke (1967).

His big break came in 1972, when he was cast as Trapper John in the military comedy series “M*A*S*H” 1972 – 1978. Feeling like Alan Alda was getting all of the attention Rogers left the show. He did some television and movies but not to compare with the previous series.  Eventually, Rogers found great success as a money manager.

Henry Beckman had a very small role as a salesman. Beckman first showed up as a carpetbagger in The Undefeated (1969).

Story

The movie begins in the train station at Mule City. Sounds like a great place. Sgt. James Gregory (Slim Pickens) is shepherding a group of new recruits in the train station. Included in the group are runaway groom Pvt. Martin Hale (Michael Anderson Jr.) and authority-defiant Irishman Pvt. Anthony Dugan (James Caan). They are waiting for the return of Capt. Demas Harrod (Tom Tryon) who is back in town finishing up a one-night stand with Lou Woddard (Senta Berger).

Eventually, he gets to the men and heads them to Fort Doniphan and the 3rd U.S. Cavalry Regiment under the command of General Frederick McCabe (Andrew Duggan). Under Sgt. Gregory the men begin learning to drill, basic arms, and finally horsemanship.

Lou drives a carriage onto the post and asks for Capt. Harrod’s quarters. Gen. McCabe and his staff return and the other officers are called. McCabe explains they are part of a campaign to return hostiles to the reservation but McCabe was not selected to command the entire operation. McCabe says he intends to do the whole job with just the 3rd. McCabe holds Harrod back and it seems they have a history during the Battle of Wishbone Creek and that McCabe sacrificed some men for his own glory.

When Harrod gets back to his hut he finds a bottle that Lou left behind for him. When he finds the note, he heads out in a hurry. Harrod is surprised that she lives in Mule City. She explains that when they first met 200-miles away she was keeping her reputation around Mule City clean. She asks to be let alone but he is kind of hard off about her.

Time passes and the men of D Troop improve. Dugan stays in trouble. Lou comes back to the post and Lt. Bunny Hodges (Peter Breck) an all around jackass and typical officer reports that scout Sol Rogers (Harve Presnell) will report to the general after he takes care of some business in town AKA Lou. When he gets to Lou’s place Lou and Harrod are having a fine time and getting all kissy face.

Sol tells Lou he has found $6,000 in gold and won’t be scouting for the 3rd. He expects her to go to California with him. Sol invites Harrod to leave and a punch exchange begins. The fight escalates until they roll down the stairs. Just then a group of soldiers comes to force Sol to the fort. Lou tells Harrod that she is engaged to Sol.

McCabe wants Sol to help him get a great victory against the Sioux. Sol tells the general that the Indians are waiting on the Army. Not long after this meeting D Troop heads out before sun up. The men are concerned that they do not have weapons with them. They ride about 20-miles out and Harrod leads them into an arroyo. It is not long before Plains Indians attack from both directions. The Indians are using lances to unhorse the weaponless troopers. At first, it seems like they are just counting coup as the lances are blunted. With all of the enlisted men off their horses, the Indians ride away. On Dugan has a hold of one of the Indians and is beating the crap out of him. They make him stop as the leader of the attack is shown to be Sol and the whole thing was done for a practice exercise. Sol challenges Harrod to a fight at 11 PM that night for reals.

The Glory Guys (1965)

The Glory Guys (1965)

The soldiers are released to go to Mule City and Sgt. Gregory warns them to stay out of the town marshall’s bar. Sol is in town buying new clothes a salesman (Henry Beckman) who has now moved up from carpet-bagging to clothes selling. Dugan leads Pvt. Clark Gentry (Erik Holland), Pvt. Martin Hale (Michael Anderson Jr.), and Pvt. Crane straight to that bar. He gets busy buying drinks for a saloon girl that is more like a saloon grandma. Hale and Gentry leave to get food. Sol and Lou are in the restaurant and he proposes. She stalls because she says Sol is wild and she may be in love with Harrod. When Dugan runs out of money the Marshall and his men beat the crap out of him. Hale and Gentry come back in time for the fight. Hale escapes and is taken in by a nice girl and her mother.

Sol shows up at Harrod’s room and they start drinking before they fight. Dugan shows up on post drunk and starts blowing the bugle. Lt. Hodges and Gen. McCabe find him and order him tied to the wheel. Harrod and Sol decide to go into town to look for Hale. They release Dugan and Sgt. Gregory gets six more men. The marshall is no help and a full-on bar brawl breaks out. The group is taking a beating until Sgt. Gregory comes in with the six men. Harrod is knocked through a door where Crane is consorting with a saloon girl. The Captain orders him into the fight.

The mother and daughter that run the local mission are feeding Hale pie. The mother says he can stay because he doesn’t curse or drink. Harrod says all the men in D Troop have that kind of character. Harrod says that Lou deserves the best and bows out of the love competition.

In the morning Lt. Hodges comes to cut Dugan loose from the wheel. As Hale recovers, he gets a letter saying that he can be bought out of the Army because apparently, the cousin he got pregnant married someone else. He wants out now because of Becky. His father has already sent the money to get him out. Becky says she will wait while he graduates for college.

Harrod has the men out on the firing range when Lou comes riding by in her buggy. She sends a major set of mixed signals to the Cap. He is being all noble and says he doesn’t want her to love him. She then drives away.

Dugan is complaining while they were working and Lt. Hodges gives him poop shoveling detail for the night. Harrod drives his troop so hard that McCabe calls out the band so they can pass in review. Sol and Lou show up in a buggy. As the troop parades by Sol realizes that Lou loves Harrod. Harrod sends the men a couple of kegs of beer for the night. Hale is lovesick and is waiting for his letter of release to come in. Sgt. Gregory tells him that he can slip out through the officer’s stable where Dugan is working. The officers are having a fancy dance because the campaign begins in the morning. Hale makes it to town and tells Becky and her mother that the letter didn’t come and he is heading out in the morning. Hale proposes to Becky and she accepts. McCabe takes Sol away and the general’s wife basically calls Lou a slut. She breaks down in tears and Harrod dances with her to hide her shame. When Sol sees the two dancing he agrees to go on the campaign. Hale makes it back to the stable and Dugan is drinking. Lt. Hodges comes in and Dugan has to dump manure on Hale to hide him.

In the morning, everyone is assembled to move out. The officers get to go and kiss their women folks’ goodbye. At the last minute, Harrod rides over, says for her not to wait for him, and plants a big one of Lou’s lips.

They make camp for the night and have a meeting of the generals. This is where it becomes Gen. Custer and the Little Bighorn. They all agree to meet on the 16th. As soon as McCabe gets out of the meeting he orders Gattling guns, musical instruments, and none essential wagons back to the fort. He pushes his men hard to get ahead. At one point Lt. Hodges sees Dugan tying a shovel to his horse. When he asks why Dugan says it is so he can bury the officer. Hodges orders him to dig the officer’s latrines for the rest of the trip.

A couple of nights later McCabe calls the officers and head of scouts. When he asks Sol how many hostiles are ahead, Sol empties a handful of sand. McCabe thinks it is an overestimate. Harrod calls McCabe out for rushing the battle a day ahead. Harrod assigns Hale to the medical wagon so he will be safe. Sol and Harrod have a buddy moment in the night. Sol gives Harrod advice about living and not planning on dying.

In the morning, they see some Indians and Sol thinks they are setting up an ambush below the bluff. McCabe orders Harrod and his troop to following the Indians heading towards the ambush site. He then surprisingly sends a major with a couple of troops to support Harrod. He says if they get into trouble he will come to their aid. Below the bluff, Harrod sees he is badly outnumbered. They dismount and prepare to fight. Harrod is surprised to see the other troops show up after what McCabe did at Wishbone Creek. The Major looks for McCabe’s support but he has already moved in to attack the village.

The Major decides to fall back and the troops basically take on the roles of Reno and Benteen at the real Battle of the Little Bighorn. Pvt. Gentry, who has worried that he won’t be brave, loses his horse during the retreat and faces death with no fear as the Indians charge down on him.

The troops cross a river while being engaged in a running fight with the Indians. Sol shows up to join them. The troops take the high ground above the river where Hale and some of the wagons have been waiting. The troops are short of water already. An arrow hits Hale in the chest but is stopped by an empty canteen. Sol and Harrod gather some canteens and sneak down to the river to refill them. They get the canteens filled but are almost caught by the Indians. Another group of Indians runs them down and they have a hand to hand battle. All of the Indians are killed but Sol is mortally wounded. He does one of the most ham-fisted death scenes every including they line “if I could only see the sun one more time.”

At sunup, the Indians are gone. They think McCabe has accomplished his mission. D Troop is sent to contact McCabe. When they get there, all of Cabe’s men are dead. Dugan finds Hodges and begins burying him while he cries. The infantry shows up. Harrod rides off to embrace life.

World-Famous Short Summary – Boys spend some time in the military

If you enjoyed this week’s show, please tell your friends and it you really want to help drop over to iTunes to give me a review. If you want to comment, recommend a movie, or just say hi, follow the links in the show notes to my site.

Beware the moors

The Glory Guys (1965)

The Magnificent Seven (1960) – 104

The Magnificant Seven (1960)

The Magnificant Seven (1960)

We'll fight with guns if we have them. If we don't, with machetes, axes, clubs, anything!

 

Welcome to today’s show, The Magnificent Seven (1960), my name is John. As always you can subscribe to the show on iTunes or follow the links to social media in the podcast show notes. So please subscribe when you are finished listening. You can also go to snarkymoviereviews.com to read notes, bios, and other random movie thoughts.

Today’s movie is the western testosterone fest, with a grouping of some of the manliest men of all time, The Magnificent Seven (1960). The plot is very simple. Seven down on the luck American gunfighters go south to protect a Mexican village from bandits. The movie is a western adaptation of the Akira Kurosawa masterpiece Seven Samurai (1954).

On to the actors.

Actors

Today we have a lot of veterans.

Yul Brynner played super cool gunfighter, Chris Larabee Adams. Brynner was covered in Episode 68 – The Buccaneer (1958).

Charles Bronson was cast as gunfighter Bernardo O’Reilly, half Mexican/half Irish. Bronson was covered in Episode 17 – Hard Times (1975).

Horst Buchholz played Chico, a would-be gunfighter. Buchholz was covered in Episode 84 –One, Two, Three (1961)

Brad Dexter played gunfighter Harry Luck. Dexter was covered in Episode 38 – 99 River Street (1953).

James Coburn played gunfighter Britt. Coburn was covered in Episode 17 – Hard Times (1975).

Whit Bissell had a small role as Chamlee. Bissell was covered in Episode 30 – Birdman of Alcatraz (1962).

Bing Russell had a bit part as Robert. Russell was covered in Episode 12 – Billy the Kid Versus Dracula (1966).

Valentin de Vargas played one of Calvera Henchman, Santos. Vargas was first discussed in Episode 35 – Blackboard Jungle (1955) as one of the students. He is better known for playing a punk in Touch of Evil (1958).

The Magnificant Seven (1960)

The Magnificant Seven (1960)

Steve McQueen played the role of super cool gunfighter Vin Tanner. Terence Steve McQueen was born in 1930 in Indiana. This “king of cool” had a crazy youth. Possibly due to his mother’s drinking, he was sent to live with his grandparents at his Uncles farm in Missouri. He moved back in with his mother but conflicts with his new step-father forced him onto the streets where he engaged in petty crimes. He was returned to the farm. At the age of 12, he went to LA to live with his mother and new step-father. He was quickly in conflict with this step-father. He was sent back to the farm. At 14, he left the farm to join a circus but eventually went back to LA and his mother. He continued his street activities and was eventually locked up in the California Junior Boys Republic in Chino. He was released at the age of 16. His mother was not in Greenwich Village and he went there. It was not long before he took a job on a job on a ship as a merchant marine. He jumped ship in the Dominican Republic and became a “towel boy” in a brothel, whatever the heck that means. He made his way back to Texas where he worked odd jobs such as oil worker and lumberjack. Finally, he spent 4-years in the Marine Corp.

McQueen used his GI Bill to study acting. He worked on the stage including Broadway and raced motorcycles for extra money. At the age of 25, he left for Hollywood. He began getting a few bit parts before he landed the lead in a series, “Wanted: Dead or Alive, 1958-1961” where he played a bounty hunter.

His first leading role was in a low-grade sci-fi film that is a lot of fun. The movie was The Blob (1958). Next, he appeared in The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery (1959). He received a role that was meant for Sammy Davis Jr. Sinatra liked McQueen and gave him a lot of face time in Never So Few (1959).

McQueen followed this with a film that is at the top of the man pantheon or mantheon if you will. The movie is the star-packed The Magnificent Seven (1960). He and Yul Brenner were so cool I can barely stand it.

McQueen made two World War II dramas, Hell is for Heroes (1962) and then the War Lover (1962). This was followed by another mantheon film, with the star jammed packed World War II POW tale, The Great Escape (1963) that is loosely based on a true story.

McQueen made a few more films but they were not particularly big hits. He did a great job as a gambler in The Cincinnati Kid (1965) which also had an ensemble cast. He made another western with Nevada Smith (1966) before he made another minor mantheon film as a loner sailor in The Sand Pebble (1966). He was a little out of place in The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) and then he sent a fourth film to the mantheon. Is that a double double? The fourth film was Bullitt (1968) where McQueen played a detective racing a charged-up Mustang around San Francisco.

Riding this wave, McQueen played a southerner in The Reivers (1969) and then made a racing film, Le Mans (1971) about a 24-hour race in France. You know that is a lot of round and round. He teamed with Director Sam Peckinpah in a contemporary western, Junior Bonner (1972) and The Getaway (1972). McQueen was amazing again in Papillon (1973) playing a prisoner sentenced to life on Devil’s Island with co-star Dustin Hoffman. McQueen took part in the 1970s-disaster craze when he played the fire chief in The Towering Inferno (1974).

McQueen took 4 years off from films before returning in 1978. His last two films were the western Tom Horn (1980) and a bounty hunter film titled The Hunter (1980). He was already getting sick and was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in late 1979.

McQueen traveled to Mexico and engaged in experimental cancer treatments. Sadly he died in November 1980, at the really young age of 50.

Eli Wallach played the leader of the bandits Calvera. Wallach was born in 1915 in Brooklyn, New York. Wallach graduated from the University of Texas but was trained for acting at the Actors Studio and the Neighborhood Playhouse. He made his Broadway debut in 1945.

The Magnificant Seven (1960)

The Magnificant Seven (1960)

Wallach’s debut film was Baby Doll (1956). In the Lineup (1958) he played a sharply dressed hitman. However, his big break came as Calvera in The Magnificent Seven (1960). He held his own with Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Cliff, and Thelma Ritter in the amazing John Huston directed, The Misfits (1961). Other great movies include How the West Was Won (1962), The Victors (1963), Moon-Spinners (1964), Lord Jim (1965) and the romcom How to Steal a Million (1966).

Wallach hit it big again when he was given the role of Tuco in the last of director Sergio Leone’s “Dollars Trilogy,” The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). He continued through the 60s and 70s with films like Mackenna’s Gold (1969), Cinderella Liberty (1973), Crazy Joe (1974), The Deep (1977), and The Hunter (1980) with Steve McQueen.

In the 80s he started getting gangster roles like Tough Guys (1986), The Two Jakes (1990), and candy-crazy “Don Altabello” in The Godfather: Part III (1990). He played a rabbi in Keeping the Faith (2000), a quick talking liquor store owner in Mystic River (2003), and a businessman in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)

Wallach died in 2014 at the age of 98. He had been married to his wife for 66 years.

Robert Vaughn played gunfighter Lee. Vaughn was born in New York City in 1932. He headed out to California when he began studying drama and eventually getting a PhD. in communications. In 1955, he started doing small television roles and uncredited part in movies. He began getting credit roles in 1957 but I am more interested in Teenage Cave Man (1958) where he played the Symbol Maker’s Teenage Son. Vaughn really got noticed for The Young Philadelphians (1959) for which he received an Oscar nomination. The next year, of course, he was in The Magnificent Seven (1960). He worked more in television than in film and eventually was cast as Napoleon Solo in “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” 1964-1968.

Follow the amazing success of “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” Vaughn began working more in film. He teamed with McQueen for Bullitt (1968). Other movies include The Bridge at Remagen (1969) and The Mind of Mr. Soames (1970) but he soon jumped back to television, this time in England.

After half a decade, he returned to America and again worked mostly in television. His films during this period include as S.O.B. (1981), Superman III (1983), The Delta Force (1986), and Black Moon Rising (1986).

He continued to make movies until his death in 2016 from leukemia.

Vladimir Sokoloff played the Old Man of the village, the patriarch. He was born in the Soviet Union in 1889. At his death, this actor and direct had 117 television and film credits. Sokoloff began his education at the University of Moscow but left to join the Moscow Academy of Dramatic Arts. He worked as a director and assistant director for a decade before moving to Berlin in 1923. He worked there for another decade or so until those damn Nazis started messing stuff up. He moved to Paris and then to the US in 1937. He was given mostly ethnic roles and his most famous are For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), Scarlet Street (1945), and The Magnificent Seven (1960). Sokoloff died in 1962 as the result of a stroke.

Rosenda Monteros played the role of Petra, love interest of one of the seven. Although she has a small biography I have included her because she is basically the only female with speaking lines in the movie. Monteros was born in Mexico in 1935. She is only credited with three films, The Magnificent Seven (1960), Nazarin (1959) and Ninette y un señor de Murcia (1965).

Story

The Magnificant Seven (1960)

The Magnificant Seven (1960)

The movie begins in a small Mexican village not a great distance from the US border. A group of about 30 banditos led by Calvera (Eli Wallach) and his second in command Santos (Valentin de Vargas) ride into town. They steal everything that is not tied down, leaving the poor villagers with little to survive on. One of the villagers can no longer stand it and runs for Calvera with a machete. The man is shot down before he gets anywhere near the group. Calvera vows that he will return as they leave town.

The men gather in the local cantina and debate their choices, from do nothing, to hide food, to god forbid fight back. Three of the bravest villagers, Hilario (Jorge Martínez de Hoyos), Sotero (Rico Alaniz), and Tomas (Pepe Hern) go to see the village elder, or Old Man of the village (Vladimir Sokoloff). He advises them to go to the US to buy guns because they are plentiful there. Boy, he wasn’t kidding about that.

The three men gather all the wealth of the village and head north. When that get to the cowboy filled Texas town, they are stared at and don’t seem welcome. There is a hearse parked in the street, the horse-drawn kind. The undertaker (Whit Bissell) is trying to return money to two traveling salesmen played by Bing Russell and Val Avery). The men had paid for a funeral for a man that had been lying dead in the street for two hours. However, the undertaker cannot bury him in Boot Hill because he is an Indian. When they ask how long this has been going on they are told it has been since the town got civilized. Does that sound familiar?

Anyway, two men volunteer to drive the hearse to the top of the hill. The first, clad in black, with a shaved head, is Chris (Yul Brynner). The other is a drifter named Vin, that has a really laid back style. As they drive the wagon up the hill, they receive shouts, and final someone shoots at them from a window. Vin, wheels around and takes him out with the shotgun. They is a young cowboy following them up them hill, but he waves the two men off to show he is no danger. At the top of the hill, six men are waiting to stop the pair. Chris easily wounds two of the men and everyone decides they will let the burial happen.

Back in town Chris and Vin are great with cheers and drinks. But the two gunmen have no real prospects as the west is becoming tame. That night, the three Mexicans come to Chris’ room. They tell of their plight and ask him to help them buy guns. Chris recommends that they hire men because these days men are cheaper than guns. The three go to the local saloon to look for talent. Vin doesn’t want to take the job as it only pays $20. For six weeks. Vin goes to the craps table and loses his entire stake on an opening role. Chris invites him over for a drink. Vin tells everyone that he is going to be a store clerk and one of the villagers says it is good honest work. He commits to the job. Chris has still not committed to taking the job but this was the first time a client offered him everything they had.

Later in the evening, the young man that followed them up the hill comes in and wants to join the group whom he now idealizes. Chris treats Chico (Horst Buchholz) poorly and humiliates him while he is testing him to work with the group. One of Chris’ friends, Harry Luck (Brad Dexter), a top gunfighter, wants to join the mission because he thinks there is gold or some other great reward. Although Chris tells Hank this is not the case, Hank insists on coming along. Later they recruit Bernardo O’Reilly (Charles Bronson) who is so poor he now chops firewood to earn his meals. One night, waiting in Chris’ room is Lee (Robert Vaughn). Lee is on the run for a murder or two and has completely lost his nerve, as a fighter. The finally selected member of the group was Britt (James Coburn), a man so good with a knife and a gun he can only challenge himself.

The three villagers and the six hired guns ride south towards the village. Off in the distance, Chico follows like an outcast dog. Some days later, Chico catches fish with his hands, showing he is fast enough to be a gunfighter. He shares the catch with the others and is admitted to the group.

When they arrive in the village, all of the people hide from the gunfighters. In a rage, Chico rings the alarm bell in the church bringing the town running. The next day the professional gunmen begin training the villagers, building walls, and traps. The villagers have a festival and some very nice Yaqui Indian masks are used, spatially placing the village in the northern Chihuahua Desert. A boy runs in and lets the gunmen know that three of Calvera’s men are scouting above the village. Two men go after them and Chico follows along. Because Chico spoiled the ambush, they had to kill all three instead of bringing back a captive.

During this time the gunmen are being well fed by the villagers. They find out that most people have no food and then they start sharing their meals with the children. Three little boys come to Bernardo and say they will bring flowers to his grave if he is killed. They idolize the man and follow him everywhere. Lee is still having problems and suffers from nightmares.

One day, while out scouting, Chico discovers a girl, Petra (Rosenda Monteros). The villages have hidden all of the eligible females away from the gunmen. Chris orders them all brought in so they can be protected. As the day of the attack draws nearer, they try to bring the old man of the village inside of the protected ring, but he refuses and stays in his house.

Finally, Calvera and his men ride into town. They are met by the gunmen and the villagers. Calvera says he should have known when his scouts didn’t return. When Calvera mentions the walls Chris said they were built to keep him in, not let him out. A real mêlée breaks out and about 10 of Calvera’s 30 men are killed. Everyone, including the villagers, performs well except for Lee who hides against a wall.

Everyone in the village is ecstatic and proud of the fighting they have done. They now believe Calvera will leave and plunder an easier target. Since Chico is Mexican he puts on a sombrero and moseys into Calvera’s camp. He finds out that they are starving and must attack the village again.

When he tells the people of the village, they lose faith and want to surrender, even though Chris made it clear from the beginning that once it was begun, it would have to be finished. Chris decides to take the professional gunmen and make a night attack on Calvera’s camp. When they get there, the camp is deserted.

Chris and company head back to the village. When they get there they are surprised by Calvera and his men. Fearful villagers, after locking up Hilario, Sotero, and Tomas have allowed Calvera to enter the town. Calvera disarms the professionals but he doesn’t want to kill them fearing US reprisals. Calvera says he once robbed a bank in Texas and they sent a whole army after him. He learned that only Texans can rob banks in Texas. This is a Pancho Villa illusion.

Chris and the men are escorted out of town and after some distance, they are given their weapons back and sent on their way. All the men, except Hank, decide to return to the village and fight. Even Lee now has his courage restored.

When the gunmen return to the village, another battle breaks out. Vin is shot in the leg. Bernardo is killed protecting the boys and tells them to respect their fathers as he dies. The villagers join the fight. Lee after fighting well is gunned down. Britt is also killed. Calvera gets the drop on Chris, but Hank rides in and saves him before he is killed. He asked what the prize was. Chris tells him a half million in gold before he dies.

Chris has shot Calvera and before he dies he tries to figure out why the gunmen came back, asking “You came back … to a place like this why? A man like you why?”

The next day, the three gunmen help bury the dead. The old man of the village invites them to stay and then bids them farewell when they refuse. He states “You’re like the wind, blowing over the land and … passing on … ¡Vaya con Dios!”

Chico decides to stay with Petra and return to small village life. Chris and Vin ride past the graves and Chris says “The Old Man was right. Only the farmers won. We lost. We always lose.” The boys put flowers on the grave of Bernardo.

World-Famous Short Summary – Buddy trip turns out bad.

I hope you enjoyed today’s show. I am on just about all of the social media’s but twitter is my main place. You can find the links in the show notes. Remember this show is completely free and independent. All I ask is that you jump over to iTunes and give me a review. It really helps the show get found.

Beware the moors

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962) – 103

Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)

Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)

Mountain Rivera was no punk. Mountain Rivera was almost the Heavyweight Champion of the World!

 

Welcome to today’s show, my name is John. As always you can subscribe to the show on iTunes or follow the links to social media in the podcast show notes. You can also go to snarkymoviereviews.com to read notes, bios, and other random movie thoughts. Remember this show is completely free and independent. All I ask is that you jump over to iTunes and give me a review.

This is a very sad, sort of buddy movie. The guys never had a chance. Today’s movie is Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962). This movie tells the story of a boxer, his trainer, and his manager. The boxer is the primary character. Actor Anthony Quinn shot this film during a two-month break in the filming of Lawrence of Arabia (1962).

This story and the screenplay were written by Rod Serling 1924–1975. Serling was best known for “The Twilight Zone” 1959 – 1964 and his horror television show, “Night Gallery” 1970 – 1973 and. He was also involved in the writing of Seven Days in May (1964),  Planet of the Apes (1968), and Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) posthumously.

So on to the actors.

Actors

Anthony Quinn played the pugilist Louis ‘Mountain’ Rivera. Quinn was covered in Episode 31 – Warlock (1959).

Jackie Gleason played Maish Rennick, Mountain’s manager. John Herbert “Jackie” Gleason was born in 1916 in Brooklyn, New York. When Gleason was nine years old, his father abandoned the family. This led Gleason to spend time on the streets and in pool halls. He never finished high school and started working at theaters.

His mother died tragically in 1935. Gleason moved in with another comic and got his first professional comedic work shortly after. Gleason worked his way up to work at Club 18 where he used his acerbic wit to insult the guests. Jack Warner says Gleason in the club and started him in the movies. Early movies included Navy Blues (1941), All Through the Night (1941) with Humphrey Bogart, Tramp, Tramp, Tramp (1942), and a small bit with Edward G. Robinson in Larceny, Inc. (1942). However, Gleason did not take Hollywood by storm.

Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)

Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)

Gleason returned to work in nightclubs until he got his first big break. In 1949, he was cast as Riley in “The Life of Riley” 1949. Following the cancellation of this show, he began working on a television variety show that would later become “The Jackie Gleason Show” 1952-1959. This is where he developed his trademark “And awaaaay we go.” His next hit show was “The Honeymooners” 1955-1956 where he played a beloved, verbal if not physical abuser. One actress that was part of the skit was not selected for the show because her name was listed in the Red Channel, a book containing the names of suspected communist.

Gleason was on a few variety shows and made jazz mood music albums. His first big film was The Hustler (1961), playing the role of pool player Minnesota Fats, opposite Paul Newman and George C. Scott. He played a heel in Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962). Among other films he was in a strange buddy-film, Solider in the Rain (1963) with Steve McQueen. Skipping many lesser films, he was in Don’t Drink the Water (1969) where his family was accused of spying on the mythical country of Vulgaria. Gleason rose in popularity with his role as redneck sheriff Buford T. Justice in Smokey and the Bandit (1977). Unfortunately, he was in Bandit II (1980). Bandit III (1983), and The Sting II (1983). He was pretty good in The Toy (1982). His final movie was Nothing in Common (1986) with Tom Hanks.

By the time, Gleason made his last movie; he was dying from colon cancer. He died in Florida in 1987.

Mickey Rooney played Army, Mountain’s trainer. Mickey Rooney was born in 1920 in Brooklyn, New York. As a baby, he participated in his parent’s vaudeville act. Apparently never having formal training, he was turning up in short films by 1926. His first full-length film appears to be My Pal, the King (1932). He continued in films, playing mostly children until his amazing performance as Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935). He hit a lucky streak with A Family Affair (1937) when he started playing beloved teenager Andy Hardy. He made almost 20 films as Andy Hardy. He played a tough kid in Boys Town (1938) with Spencer Tracy. He was awarded a “juvenile Academy Award” for this role.

The young actor was teamed with Judy Garland in a series of musicals that include Babes in Arms (1939), Strike Up the Band (1940), Babes on Broadway (1941), and Girl Crazy (1943). During this same period, he worked with Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet (1944). That year he joined the military and worked in special services, never to be confused with Special Forces.

Rooney returned to film after about 21 months. He was still able to play Andy Hardy in Love Laughs at Andy Hardy (1946) but he had some better roles in films such as Killer McCoy (1947) and Words and Music (1948). For some reason, he was cast a coke-bottle glasses wearing Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961). Big mistake! In Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962) Rooney showed his talent and range. For his work in The Black Stallion (1979) Rooney again showed what an amazing talent he was. He was nominated for a best-supporting actor Oscar. Following this, he returned to stage work.

Rooney was in 4 sitcoms with the best being “The Mickey Rooney Show” 1954-1955. In total, he was nominated for 4 Oscar. In 1983, he was given an honorary Oscar for 50 of versatile film performance. But Rooney was not done yet.

He was great as Gus in Night at the Museum (2006) with Ben Stiller and The Muppets (2011) with Amy Adams. He returned as Gus in Night at the Museum 3 (2014).

Sadly, Rooney was a victim of elder abuse but he stood up to it and found relief through the Superior Court. This great actor died in 2014.

Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)

Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)

Julie Harris played social worker with a heart of gold, Grace Miller. Harris was born in 1925, in Michigan. Coming from a well to do family her performing talents were encouraged. She went to Yale Drama School for a year and attended the New York School of Drama and was one of the early members of the Acting Studio. She debuted on Broadway in 1945 at the age of 19.

Harris did well in stage work and based on her performance in “The Member of the Wedding” she and Brandon De Wilde was cast in the film The Member of the Wedding (1952). Harris received her only Oscar nomination for this role.

Harris continued to be successful on stage and occasionally took the film role of a play she had acted in such as I am a Camera (1955). She was great with James Dean in East of Eden (1955). She mixed stage and film turning out movies such as Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962), The Haunting (1963), Hamlet (1964), Harper (1966), Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967), The Bell Jar (1979), Home for the Holidays (1972), and Gorillas in the Mist (1988). She was equally active on television.

Suffering from poor health, Harris faced breast cancer in 1981 and had a stroke in 2001 and 2010. Harris died in 2013, of congestive heart failure in Massachusetts at the age of 87.

Boxer Jack Dempsey played Himself.

Boxer Muhammad Ali played himself but he was Cassius Clay at the time.

Argentine Boxer Alex Miteff was shown being beaten by Cassius Clay.

Story

Boxer Mountain Rivera (Anthony Quinn) loses a fight to a younger fighter, Cassius Clay before he was Muhammad Ali. They show clips of the Clay fight against Argentine Boxer Alex Miteff. Of course, back in those days, Ali was light and pretty and no one could lay a glove on him. The first part of the movie is shown from Mountain’s point of view and it’s warped and surreal. When he hears a bell ring for another fight, he jumps to action. They change to a regular view after you seed Mountain’ mangled face for the first time.

The two friends get him into the locker room. Shortly a doctor (Lou Gilbert) tells Maish Rennick (Jackie Gleason) that if Mountain fights again he could go blind from a detached retina. A detachment happens when fluid leaks in from a hole or a tear. Like when you make a living getting your head pounded in.

Army (Mickey Rooney) takes care of Mountain and wakes him up with smelling salts the doctor left. While Mountain is in the shower, Army and Maish have a little spat because Maish is up to something. We also find out that Army is a former fighter turned cut-man. Mountain has been a fighter for 17-years.

Maish and trainer Army, break the news to Mountain. He doesn’t believe it but when Army tells him again he believes. Mountain is crushed. Mountain wonders what he will do for work. They did a good job with the makeup and Mountain didn’t look too good, something like a line from a Simon and Garfunkel song – and he carries the reminder of ev’ry glove that laid him down or cut him till he cried out. Having squandered his youth in the fight game, Mountain has not have any skills or talents that he can use to support himself. The three men had been more than a team, they were also friends and drinking buddies.

But Maish, like a typical huckster, has bet a lot of money on the fight and know he owes a mean gangster, Ma Green (Madame Spivy). Ma has a gang of big thugs to collect and one of the thugs is played by Michael Conrad, most recently of “Hill Street Blues” 1981-1984. So Maish will get his head bashed in if he doesn’t pay. The thugs are waiting for Maish outside of the locker room.

While the thugs follow Maish, they pass Ma Green, wearing her hat low, giving off a Boris of Boris and Natasha vibe. Maish, who is a rather large man, makes a run for it. The thugs and Ma Green catch him in the now empty boxing arena. They turn on the lights and it seems to be Maish’s turn in the ring. Maish had called Ma Green and said his fighter, Mountain, would not go more than four rounds against Clay. She lost not only Maish’s money and a bundle of her money as well. The thugs give Maish an off camera beating in the ring.

Mountain and Army go out looking for jobs. The first one is for a movie usher. You know, the guys that use to walk around with flashlights, not the teenagers that tear your tickets now. But Mountain never had a chance for the job because he was too big to fit into the uniform.

Maish is out trying to hustle up the money, while Mountain and Army go to the employment office. Mountain wants to go drinking because it is taking too long but his name is finally called. His worker is Grace Miller (Julie Harris) who is pretty good at her job but seems to have a soft spot for hard cases. She puts him at easy by not judging him. She is fascinated that he was a prizefighter. Mountain talks about his eye problem and she is determined to help him.

She tries to talk to him about special needs jobs and he leaves angrily. That night, Mountain wanders the street until he passes the arena where they are pasting over his poster. Back at their room, Maish and Army are playing cards. Maish is being a cranky ass because he is worried about the money. Army is worried about Mountain.

Maish gets a call from a wrestling promoter, Perelli (Stanley Adams). Army gets mad because Maish wants Mountain to wrestle. Army knows this will be degrading to the washed up fighter. Maish is conflicted by his love for Mountain and his need to make money.

After Army leaves, Maish starts packing, but is stopped when the phone rings. It’s Ma Green warning him not to run.

Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)

Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)

Grace shows up at a dive boxer hangout. It is full of pugs of all ages and shapes. The bartender tells Grace that unescorted ladies are not permitted. She asks for Mountain and the bartender retrieves him. They get a table and she tells him about a summer camp job that might be great for him. The owners of the camp are in town and Grace wants to set up a meeting for that evening. She has a beer with him in the dive. They have a nice visit and Mountain talks about how much he owes Maish. Mountain gets a little too exuberant telling a boxing story and luckily doesn’t scare Grace off. Later Grace gets a cab to her place and Mountain goes back to wait for the call about the appointment.

Before Mountain gets back to their room Army comes in and sees that Perelli is waiting with Maish. Mountain comes in and is on top of the world about his job interview. But Maish and Perelli pitch the wrestling idea. Perelli wants him to dress as an Indian and blow smoke on the ref with his peace pipe. Mountain thinks is is degrading and doesn’t want to do it. Maish pulls the “you owe me bit.” Mountain doesn’t want to be considered a stumblebum when that is in fact what he has become.

The call comes in from Grace and she tells him where the job interview is to be held. Maish tells Army that Mountain has won and he has lost. He then sends Army out for some sandwiches. Maish takes whiskey into Mountain while Army is out. He then takes him out drinking at Jack Dempsey’s place and they have a drink with the former champ. Maish is trying to get Mountain drunk so he can sabotage the interview. Army finds them and sends Mountain to the interview.

Mountain is drunk at the hotel and gets confused about the room number. He starts wandering around call out the man’s name and banging on doors. He crashes into a room service cart and the noise brings Grace and camp owners out of their room. When Mountain sees them he runs away.

Grace shows up at Mountain’s place and she starts chewing on him pretty hard about messing up the appointment. Grace asks him why he threw away the job and he says he was kidding himself about the summer camp job. She sees that he is ashamed to be a wrestler but Mountain says he will do anything for Maish.

As Grace tries to motivate Mountain he begins to kiss her hand. They start kissing but when he pulls her on the bed she reacts badly. He sends her away. Mountain stops her to return her scarf and she kisses him on the cheek as she leaves. Going down the stairs she runs into Maish. She rips into Maish and he gets pretty sarcastic. When Maish calls Mountain an ape, Grace slaps him. Then Maish gets serious and says that it too late to give Mountain dreams. Maish would make his dreams come true if he could.

Mountain is in the dressing room wearing the Indian costume. Perelli laughs right in his face not knowing the effect it will have. Another promoter brings in a young boxer that wants to work with Maish, but he tells them to come back later.

Mountain has a little bit of dignity left and refuses to go into the wrestling match. Maish gets angry and tells of the bet and how he betted that Mountain would fall before the 4th round. Army calls him a fink and walks out. Mountain says he was never ashamed of his fighting until Maish bet against him.

Two of Ma Green thugs come in and call Mountain Hiawatha. He mops the floor with them. Perelli comes in and says he will get Maish’s license pulled and then Ma Green says her thugs are going to destroy Maish physically. Mountain agrees to wrestle.

Maish makes a plea to keep the team together and get the new boxer. However, what they had is gone. Mountain climbs into the ring, and the crowd is mocking him feverishly. Army stands in the aisle crying. Mountain starts war whooping to feed the crowds frenzy.

World-Famous Short Summary – Trio of buddies have a spat

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Beware the moors

Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956) – 102

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)

When an armed and threatening power lands uninvited in our capitol, we don't meet him with tea and cookies!

 

Welcome to today’s show, my name is John. As always you can subscribe to the show on iTunes or follow the links to social media in the podcast show notes. So please subscribe when you are finished listening.  You can also go to snarkymoviereviews.com to read notes, bios, and other random movie thoughts.

Today’s movie is Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956). It is one of those great old black and white UFO films that came out when American was trying to understand the Cold War between the USA and USSR and fearing total nuclear annihilation. Kind of like 2017! In this film, aliens contact an Earth scientist as part of a plot to enslave the Earth’s population. But he is the one guy they should have left alone.

This movie has some really iconic scenes, such as a UFO crashing into and destroying the Washington Monument. These great effects were created by the special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen. Harryhausen said in his biography that this was his least favorite film. It doesn’t have any fighting skeletons or sea harpies, but it pretty good. This was also the last time Harryhausen used stop-motion to show buildings being destroyed because it was too much work.

The car that Dr. Marvin (Hugh Marlowe) and his wife Carol (Joan Taylor) are driving is a 1955 Mercury. Cars were getting these outer space names because of the interest in rocketry. Names like Comet and Galaxy were common.

Paul Frees provided the narration and the voice of the aliens. If this voice in any way sounds familiar it is because Frees is the voice of the “Ghost Host” in Disney’s Haunted Mansion. When making the alien voices. Frees change the speed of the reel to reel recorder causing the voice to go up and down in pitch.

So on to the actors. We have just a few today.

Actors

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)

Hugh Marlowe plays the role of Dr. Russell A. Marvin, the scientist trying to save Earth. Hugh Marlowe was covered in Episode 28 – World Without End (1956).

Joan Taylor played the love interest, Carol Marvin. Taylor was born to a singing and dancing vaudevillian mother and a father that was a prop man. However, the family moved to Illinois after she was born. Her father ran a movie theater and this is where Taylor developed her love for movies.

After she graduated from the Chicago National Association of Dancing Masters in 1946, she headed to Hollywood. She became a student at the Pasadena Playhouse and her first film role was in Fighting Man of the Plains (1949) with Randolph Scott. She was in quite a number of films but most of them were western. However, she is best known for two sci-fi films, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956) and 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957). Taylor retired from film in 1963.

Story

The movie opens with a series of UFO sighting by military and civilian pilots, American citizens, and people all around the world. They show an Air Force office in Dayton, Ohio that collects and sifts all of the UFO sightings. Finally, the Hemispheric Defense Command in Colorado Spring declares that they are a danger and should fire at any UFO that is sighted.

It then switches to Dr. Russell Marvin (Hugh Marlow) and his co-worker and bride of two hours Dr. Carol Marvin (Joan Taylor), Driving through the desert. They pass a sign that says Operation Skyhook and restricted area. Shouldn’t you keep your operation secret? Mrs. Doctor is driving, something no newlywed would do in the 50s. He starts recording on his state of the art reel to reel recorder and explains the project. They are collecting data before humans are launched into space.

Just then, a UFO buzzes them, rides on their rear bumper, and zooms in front of them and speeds away. It is kind of like driving in Tallahassee. They pull over and watch the ship zoom away. It’s a dangerous situation so now Mr. Doctor drives. Mrs. Doctor smokes. The recorded was on the entire time and captured the noise of the craft.

Back at the base, she has to transcribe the notes, I guess cause she is a girl. Anyway, they find the recording of the UFO sound. Even though they work in space exploration, they fail to report the UFO to anyone. They get a notice that rocket 11 of the 12 is preparing to launch and head for the bunker.

General John Hanley (Morris Ankrun) arrives at the front gate but is not admitted because of the upcoming launch. They call Russell and it turns out the Hanley is Carol’s father. Hanley wants to delay the launch but they announce the marriage to him and then hang up to launch the rocket.

Hanley meets with Russell and the doctor is forced to admit they have lost contact with all of the rockets except the one sent up that day. Hanley says the rockets have all come down. Russell broaches the idea that someone may be shooting them down. Mrs. Doctor is outside grilling. What? He tells the General about the saucer they saw.

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)

They get a note that contact has been lost with Rocket 11. Just then they see two light orbs dancing around in the sky. Russell calls them foo lights or St. Elmo’s fire. During World War II unexplained sightings were called Foo Fighter, like the band.

Foo apparently became popular in the 1930’s from the comic strip Smokey Stover, a fireman, created by Bill Holman. Of course, St. Elmo’s fire is an ionic plasma discharge from object sticking out, like the mast of a ship or the wing of an airplane. It is also the name of a movie, St. Elmo’s Fire (1985).

Anyway, Russell and Carol give great scientific explanations, right up to when Rocket 11 falls back to Earth. They decide to finish dinner and will launch Rocket 12 the next day.

The next day they are getting ready to launch 12 when a UFO starts buzzing the air base. Now, I watched enough launches in the 1960s to know that flying saucers over the rocket will cause a halt in the countdown. Hanley goes up to watch the launch while Russell and Carol take up positions in the soundproof office in the basement.

The saucer hovers low over the complex before landing in the middle of the buildings. Now, this kind of saucer doesn’t have a handicap ramp. This one sent down a round-elevator column to the ground. The slowest walking robotards I have ever seen get out. One walks outside of the force field and the Americans shoot him with a cannon. They then start blasting away at the force field with no effect. Finally, the aliens melt the people shooting at them and retrieve their fallen comrade.

Russell and Carol are cut off and trapped underground as the robotards go crazy destroying the base. Wounded General Hanley is shown on the floor of the saucer and he is interviewed by a white rose hanging from the ceiling. Hanley starts making threats and the robotards want to know why they were attached after contacting Russell. Hadley says that Russell did not understand the message. Hanley invokes the Geneva Convention and the white rose suck all the information out of his brain.

In the soundproof room, Russell makes a report of all the information he has because he knows the end is near. When the power fails and the tape player slows Russell gets the message from the aliens. Russell feels the violence has occurred as a result of a misunderstanding.

Newspaper headlines are shown that say the Skyhook Operation was whipped out but Russell and Carol were rescued. The couple is taken to Washington to report what they know about the attack. Russell makes a plea to contact the aliens. He is ordered not to meet the aliens under any circumstances.

Major Huglin (Donald Curtis) is assigned to follow Russell. As soon as Russell gets back to his hotel room, he jumps on his handy shortwave transmitter and contacts the aliens. Lucky he had that in his room. They set up a meeting on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay.

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)

Carol calls Major Huglin and they head out after Russell. During the chase, a motorcycle cop joins in. All four get to the saucer at the same time. The ship is parked on the beach. An alien voice tells them to come in and lifts up for the elevator. The copy wants to phone it in but Russell convinces him to go inside. They stand in front of a large screen that shows them moving away from Earth as the white rose explains. The aliens slow time to travel.

The aliens say their solar system is dying and their fleet is circling the Earth. However, they show saucers flying low above the world capitals. They want the world leaders called to Washington so Earth can surrender without fighting. To show their power they destroy a Navy cruiser. The earthlings are invited to test the alien’s knowledge, and each question about Earth is answered in the voice of General Hanley, Carrol’s father. The aliens then say they sucked his mind out and as the zombie Hanley walks up behind them. The cop shoots at the white rose and they suck his brain out.

The aliens give the Earth two lunar months or 56 days to set up the meeting. Talk about a surprise attack. Now am I the only one that thinks it was odd that Marlowe is trying to set up a meeting with aliens in this movie and was trying to stop a meeting with aliens in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)? So anyway the aliens give the coordinates of the sunken destroyed.

Russell, Carrol, and Huglin are released and make it back to Washington. They have a huge debate about what to do and whether to meet with the aliens. They wonder if atomic weapons would work against the saucers.

Russell thinks he can build an ultrasonic weapon that might work on the saucers. Since they have now confirmed that the destroyer was sunk, they allow Russell to work on his weapon. He, Carrol, Huglin and some other scientist go to a lab and start building. Before long he has a working model. However, it is not powerful enough. One of the others says they should work on a weapon that will disrupt the saucers magnetic field.

They pour resources into the lab and the weapon works. As they test the weapon one of those orbs shows up in the building and starts buzzing the crew until Huglin wipes it out with his gat. Fearing they have been found out they start loading up to head for Washington. As soon as the start driving a saucer comes and lands outside of the facility. They call the military for air support.

A robotard goes into the lab. Carrol and Huglin head on with the plans, while Russell and the other try to fire the weapon. When they get it cranked, it makes the saucer wobble but they don’t have enough power for a kill. The saucer flies away leaving one robotard behind. The robotard melts one of the scientists. The RT then takes the truck and one more scientist out. Huglin kills it with his carbine.

When they take the suit off the robotards, there is a gray inside. About that time, a bomber arrives overhead. They sent a bomber to fight a saucer. Well, you know how that turned out. The ship comes down and destroys the lab as Russell, Carrol, and Huglin hid in a drain pipe in the middle of the forest. Convenient. The ship throws two human bodies out, one being General Hanley and the other presumably the cop.

The group makes it back to Washington and the alien suit is being investigated. They can now translate the alien language. Using a room length computer, they recover the alien attack plan. The anti-saucer machines are now being produced but the range is only 1500 yards. When Russell puts on the helmet he has super vision and hearing.

The aliens make a worldwide broadcast giving away their attack plan. They say the sun will be convulsed for 8 days causing the weather on Earth to become erratic. They still want the leaders to meet in Washington to surrender. Russell thinks that they have contempt for Earth power and he sees this as a weakness. The military believes the meeting is a trick. Before long there is a huge eruption on the Sun.

As the weather gets bad, they all set to work preparing to defend the Earth, never considering surrender.

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)

Russell sends Carrol off to Palm Spring because she is a girl scientist so he can go work on weapons. But it is already too late to leave. A long montage of weather events is shown while they wait for the attack. On the day of the attack, 60 percent of the people were still in town.

The attack siren sounds and the military industrial complex jumps into action. They send a fighter up to face the saucers. They do no better that the bomber did. The rockets fired from the ground have no effect on the saucers. The Chief of Staff tells Carrol that her husband has arrived with the weapons and is by the Pentagon. She heads out into the attack.

Russell’s crew shoots one down while artillery tries to support them. Carrol runs across the Mall, doing some fancy heel running, and finds Russell. Russell takes his battery over to defend the White House while the saucers attack water towers and other import targets. One of the trucks is destroyed and the saucer lands in front of the White House. However, they are driven back into the ship. The weapons shot the saucer and it crashes. Another saucer blows up a church steeple.  The weapons take another saucer down and it hits Union Station.

The ultrasonic weapon takes out a saucer and it crashes into the Washington Monument. Bastards! Two more weapon trucks are destroyed. Russell and Carrol run to the Supreme Court Building and leave the guy on the truck to die. As the saucer attacks the building, another truck brings it down.

Some saucers land in for not of the Capital and try a ground attack. Ultrasonic trucks take up defense positions. One saucer is shot down and hits the Senate Chamber. The last one goes down and destroys the dome.

The battle has ended.

Russell is given the head of the new Skyhook Program and will be given a gold medal by the UN. Russell just wants to hang out with his wife at the beach. He’s a hairy little monkey man.

World-Famous Short Summary – newlyweds meet some new friends and have a spat

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)

I hope you enjoyed today’s show. I am on just about all of the social medias but twitter is my main place. You can find the links in the show notes. Remember this show is completely free and independent. All I ask is that you jump over to iTunes and give me a review. It really helps the show get found.

Beware the moors

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)