Welcome to today’s show Quigley Down Under (1990), my name is John. As always you can subscribe to the show on iTunes or follows 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.
I am very sad that will lost Alan Rickman (Click here for more info on Rickman) in mid-January. He was a great actor and one of the best bad guys of all times. I wanted to jump out of line and do a small tribute to Alan Rickman. I also wanted to do one of his bad-guy roles. That really limited the pool to Die Hard (1988), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), or Quigley Down Under (1990). I settled on Quigley Down Under (1990) as it may be the least known of Rickman’s villains.
I will jump right in with Alan Rickman who played Elliott Marston, an Australian rancher with an obsession with the United States Wild West.
Tom Selleck played the role of American rifleman Matthew Quigley. Selleck is a television actor. A television actor that does great movies. Select was born in Detroit in 1945. He is best known for his role as private investigator Thomas Magnum on “Magnum, P.I. 1980-1988. With a red Ferrari and beautiful women in Hawaii Magnum was the man all 80s men wanted to be.
Selleck had recurring roles on “Friends” 1994 and on “Las Vegas“ 2003. However, he has been the anchor of “Blue Bloods” 2010-current as Commissioner Frank Reagan.
Selleck’s first role was in Myra Breckinridge (1970) in the role of Stud. He had a small role in Midway (1976) and played a murder victim in Coma (1978). However better things were to come. I think his first leading role was in High Road to China (1983) where he played drunken and war-weary pilot Patrick O’Malley. He played a jewel thief in Lassiter (1984), but Runaway (1984) was much better with KISS frontman as the bad guy and acid shooting spider robots. Selleck was a cop trying to stop the bad guy. Selleck’s biggest hit was 3 Men and a Baby (1987) which appears to be taken from 3 Godfathers (1948).
He played a falsely convicted man in An Innocent Man (1989) and a romantic thriller in Her Alibi (1989). This was followed by a sequel to 3 Men and a Baby (1987), 3 Men and a Little Lady (1990). This was followed by what I believe is his best film Quigley Down Under (1990) where Selleck plays an American rifleman caught in an ethnic struggle in Australia. Selleck did a great job as an American baseball player that had to go to Japan to find work in Mr. Baseball (1992) as cultural conflicts ensue.
Laura San Giacomo played the role of Crazy Cora who was, in fact, crazy. Laura was born in New Jersey in 1962. She obtained a fine arts degree at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama before heading to New York.She was successful in television roles and on stage on both coasts. Her first film was Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989). She played the prostitute friend opposite Julia Roberts in Pretty Women (1990). She continued with Vital Signs (1990) and Quigley Down Under (1990) where she played a very off-kilter character.
She continued to make movies through the 1990s but she had a large role in the television mini-series “The Stand” in 1984. Laura had a comedy role as one of Stuart’s friends in Stuart Saves His Family (1985).
Laura was in a television series “Just Shoot Me!” 1997-2003. She has taken fewer roles since her series ended but she is still active.
Tony Bonner played Dobkin, Marston’s head man. This Australian was in a show called “Skippy Skippy” (1967). The show was very similar to Gentle Ben with a kangaroo and not a bear or Lassie without a dog. Bonner’s movies including The Man from Snowy River (1982) and Quigley Down Under (1990) both of which were set in Australia.
The movie begins with someone leaving California and sailing to Western Australia. When American cowboy Matthew Quigley (Tom Selleck) begins to get off the boat a man is pushing an older couple towards the gang plank. Quigley intercedes and smacks the man in the balls with his rifle butt. Quigley gets off the boat and three Australian men are trying to force Crazy Cora (Laura San Giacomo) into a wagon with two other tarts. She is fighting, scratching, and biting. Again Quigley steps in to save Cora. He beats the three men until they find out he is Quigley, the man they have come to pick-up.
Cora goes along with Quigley but she keeps calling him Roy. It is a two-day trip to the ranch or station where the man that hired him is waiting. On the trip, they meet a jackass British cavalry commander that is in charge of law and order.
When Quigley gets to Marston’s Station he meets Mr. Elliott Marston (Alan Rickman). Marston is kind of a sniveling little ass that thinks he is an American style gunfighter. Quigley had answered an ad for long distance shooters and sent back the ad with a tight pattern and signed Matthew Quigley, 900 yards. Quigley gets the $50 of gold for coming to the station and then he is asked to give a demonstration of his long distance shooting ability. Quigley’s weapon is an 1874 Sharps Buffalo Rifle that he describes as “a Sharps rifle with a 34-inch long barrel, four more than normal. It has been modified to shoot a .45 caliber, 110-grain metal cartridge with a 540-grain paper patch bullet. It has a double set trigger and a Vernier sight marked up to 1200 yards, but this one shoots a mite further.” Quigley hits a bucket with three quick shots at about 1200 yards.
Two British cavalry deserters are brought in by some of the men. Marston provokes them into trying to escape and the gleefully shoots the pair. Quigley sees a problem coming.
Quigley and Marston have supper in the big house and the servant is an older Aboriginal man. Marston treats him quite poorly. Marston also wants to hear tales about Dodge City and the old west. When Quigley finds out that he has been hired to shoot Aboriginals he throws Marston out the window. Marston runs back in and is thrown out again. All of Marston’s men including the headman Dobkin (Tony Bonner) surround the house. Before the gunfight can begin the Aboriginal servant knocked out Quigley from behind.
Marston and his men savagely beat Quigley before they drop him and Cora off two days from civilization without food and water. As the battered Quigley is laying on the ground he says to the two men that dropped them off that they forgot the gold. When the men come toward him, he surprises them and eventually kills both.
Quigley and Cora walk for some distance before they collapse. When they wake they have been rescued by a group of aboriginals and taken to a rock shelter. During this time the two groups exchange cultural information and Cora reveals her backstory. Cora was lived in Texas. One day when her husband was away Comanches raided the homestead. She hid with her baby son and when the baby started crying she accidently suffocated the infant trying to silence him. When her husband “Roy” came back he took Cora and put her on a ship to Australia as punishment.
One morning Quigley and Cora wake-up and the aboriginals have already headed out. It’s not long before he sees four of Marston’s men bearing down on the aboriginals. Quigley shoots three and the fourth escapes eventually letting Marston know Quigley is still alive. As they travel they see more of Marston’s men driving a group of aboriginals over a cliff. Quigley shoots two of the six men and the rest escape. Cora finds an aboriginal baby among the dead. As she begins to take care of the child she is slowly recovering and becoming not-crazy Cora.
Quigley leaves Cora and the baby behind in a rock shelter. He has to get food and more ammo but he leaves her well-armed. On the first night he is gone, a pack of Dingos’, wild Australian dogs attack Cora and the baby. While he is gone at first she is trying to quite the child and it appears she is about to repeat the smothering incident from Texas. However, she turns into a Dingo fighter.
Quigley makes it to a town where he finds help among the Marston haters. However, a group of Marston men sees Quigley and attack. This results in one of the helpers being killed and a building being burned. Quigley goes back to where he left Cora and the baby. He finds Cora lying among dead Dingos’ and both she and the baby are fine. Quigley takes Cora and the baby to town. Cora returns the baby to the Aboriginals. Two things have happened. She is sane and now knows Quigley is not Roy and secondly she and Quigley are deeply in love. The couple says their final farewell as Quigley goes for the final showdown with Marston.
Quigley tells Marston “This ain’t Dodge City and you ain’t Bill Hickok. I have a few problems here. Dodge City is located in Kansas. For a time Wyatt Earp, around 1876, was a deputy there before he went on to Tombstone, Arizona and triumphed at the Gunfight at the OK Corral in 1881. Wild Bill Hickok, although a gunfighter was murdered in Deadwood, Dakota Territory in 1876. Hickok was shot in the back while he was playing poker and was said to be holding a pair of aces and a pair of eight. This combination of cards is still known as a Dead Man’s Hand. However, this just may be a legend. Anyway, it’s a cool quote.
Quigley sets up on a hill overlooking the station and begins to snip Marston’s men. Marston’s group slowly flanks Quigley until the remaining three are able to capture him. Of course, they beat him senseless before Marston stands Quigley up for an American style quick draw contest. They stick a revolver in Quigley’s pants. Marston and the two other face Quigley and Marston draws first. Quigley pulls his pistol and shoots the three men in rapid succession. Marston falls to his knees in disbelief and Quigley say “Just because I said I never had much use for one doesn’t mean I don’t know how to use it.”
About this time the jackass British cavalry officer comes in with his troops and state that he might just shoot Quigley down. About this time the Aboriginals line the cliffs in old American movie style. The jackass beats a retreat.
Quigley travels to the port city where he first arrived. As he is buying his ticket Cora comes in, looking great in a new red dress. She tells him his real name and the pair kiss as the movie ends.
World-Famous Short Summary – Couple goes on an extended first date
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