I use hands to help my fellow man / I use hands to help with what I can / But when I face an unjust injury / Then I change my hand into FIST OF FURY

McQueen/Marvin/Bronson/Brown film series in New York

If you’re in New York, the Quad (I say as if I know what that is) is running a great film series from today through April 12th, called “Action Figures: Prime Cuts From McQueen, Marvin, Bronson, and Brown.” I know this because the good people at the Village Voice thought of me to do the write-up on it. I must be doing something right in life, huh?

They’re showing DEATH WISH, THE DIRTY DOZEN, EL CONDOR, EMPEROR OF THE NORTH, THE GETAWAY, THE GREAT ESCAPE, HARD TIMES, HELL IS FOR HEROES, THE KILLERS, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, PRIME CUT, THE PROFESSIONALS, THE SAND PEBBLES, SLAUGHTER and THE STONE KILLER. Almost all of them are on 35mm. I watched a few of the ones I hadn’t seen before as preparation, so I’ll have reviews of those in the next week or two.

Unfortunately DEATH HUNT got cut from the lineup, so I had to lose a paragraph about Bronson getting into a bunch of shit to save a dog as an example of badass juxtaposition. But you can add that one in if you’re playing along at home.

Anyway, here is the Village Voice piece. Thanks!

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

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13 Responses to “McQueen/Marvin/Bronson/Brown film series in New York”

  1. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside to know that you’ve become the Voice’s go-to Badass Studies expert, Vern. I feel like these mainstream pieces always feature you at half-strength because The Man can’t handle you at 200 proof, but it’s always awesome to see you getting your voice out there, especially in a venerable old rag like the Voice. If it were still printed on paper you’d be like three pages from a ballet review. I love that.

  2. I lament the lack of truly masculine icons in this 21st century of steroids-and-HGH-pretty-boys. Statham might be the closest we get to having an old-school Bronson heir. Ugly yet fascinating, stoic and fearsome with his bare hands. A guy you could hang out with at a pub for laughs, and who you would want in your corner in a bar room brawl.

  3. Nice piece, Vern. These are my kind of movies. Personally I see MR MAJESTYK (the movie that is) as the best example of Bronson’s badassery, but I guess DEATH WISH draws more people right now. PRIME CUT is Marvin on the top of his game, and I just bought it on bluray. As for Brown I think RIO CONCHOS or 100 RIFLES would be better representatives of his work. With McQueen you can just pick any movie…

  4. The addition of The Sand Pebbles is a really odd one. I understand that McQueen didn’t have a particularly long and busy career, so the pickings may be a little slim, but even that movie’s one action set-piece is as grim and un-heroic as the rest of it.

    Anyway, good write-up. I would have liked to see a shout-out to Mitchum in there, since the era of the laconic, cool, “tough guy” rather than say Errol Flynn, pretty much began with him.

  5. I don’t get THE SAND PEBBLES either. It’s old Hollywood on so many levels. MANHUNTER would have been a better choice.

  6. Nice article Vern. Just a heads up, your link to The Getaway links to your review of Ethan Hawke’s Getaway.

  7. Congrats, Vern. Awesome piece.

  8. Thanks for this. I’d really like to make this and know at least one other person who’d gladly join me. Hell even if they don’t I’ll still go alone.

  9. I like THE SAND PEBBLES and it does have two stand-out action scenes but I kinda have to agree it’s a little out of character with the other films in the series. BULLITT would have been an obvious choice, maybe too obvious. I remember NEVADA SMITH was a pretty good western, or maybe PAPILLON could have been a better fit?

  10. Bronson did three movies with McQueen, three with Coburn and three (kind of) with Marvin, so there are matereal for at least three good Bronson themed nights. A Bronson and Paul Koslo festival is also possible.

  11. Saw “Hard Times” last year as part of a five-movie Bronson marathon at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin (the other four were ”
    The Mechanic,” “Mr. Majestyk,” “10 to Midnight,” and “Death Wish”). My friend and I had never seen it, and despite the Alamo’s no-talking policy, halfway through the movie he leaned over and whispered, “This is really great.” And it is, it’s a great little gem of a film that anyone who has a chance to see on the big screen should definitely do.

    Also, you can tell I’ve seen “Out for Justice” too many times because I immediately recognized the last guy Bronson fights in “Hard Times” as the bartender in the legendary “Anybody seen Richie?” scene, who gets knocked out by Seagal even though he is doing nothing wrong other than objecting to some giant asshole cop coming behind his bar and destroying his shit.

  12. I love this quote from Walter Hill: “Bronson was a very angry guy… Didn’t get along with a lot of people. The only reason I can tell you he and I got along well was he respected that I wrote the script. He liked the script. Also I didn’t try to get close to him. Kept it very business-like. I think he liked that. Jimmy Coburn who everybody liked and got along well with, he and I did not get along well. I think he was not in a good mood about being in a movie with Charlie, it was second banana. He had been up there more, and his career was coming back a bit. I don’t think he was wild about being second banana. But Charlie was a big star, perceived to be low rent. That was part of his anger… He thought there was a cosmic injustice when he was not a movie star at 35. He didn’t get there till 45 or whatever…When things had seemed to not be working well, or there was some impasse, Charlie would come down hard on my side. That was the tipping point”.

  13. Of course Walter Hill got on Bronson’s shit list himself when he said the wrong thing about Jill Ireland’s acting abilities.

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