Posts Tagged ‘Don Siegel’
Monday, January 3rd, 2022
On January 1, 2013 I reviewed the movie TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE, and made up a superstition that it’s good luck for movie critics to start a year with a Clint Eastwood review. So then I ended up kicking off 2014 writing about A PERFECT WORLD, 2015 with THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES, 2016 with KELLY’S HEROES, 2017 with PINK CADILLAC, 2018 with TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA, 2019 with THE MULE, 2020 with WHITE HUNTER BLACK HEART and 2021 with THE GAUNTLET.
It would be hard to argue that any “good luck” panned out in some of those years, and yet I will stubbornly continue the tradition. ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ is from 1979 and it was the last of Clint’s five movies directed by Don Siegel, because they had a falling out over which one of them got to produce it. (Siegel’s only subsequent movies were ROUGH CUT starring Burt Reynolds and JINXED! starring Bette Midler.)
It’s based on the true story of the only maybe successful escape from the notorious island prison. Three guys got out, they may very well have drowned, but they were never found. I remember going on a tour of that place as a kid and hearing the story. Man, prison tours are fucked up. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alcatraz, Bruce M. Fischer, Bruce Surtrees, Clint Eastwood, Danny Glover, Don Siegel, Frank Ronzio, Fred Ward, Jack Thibeau, Jerry Fielding, Larry Hankin, Patrick McGoohan, Paul Benjamin, prison, Richard Tuggle, Roberts Blossom
Posted in Reviews, Thriller | 25 Comments »
Monday, April 2nd, 2018
HELL IS FOR HEROES is a tight little black and white Don Siegel war movie that I watched because of that Village Voice piece I just did about the McQueen/Marvin/Bronson/Brown film series it’s playing in later this week. To tell you the truth I don’t watch too many war movies, and I don’t really have a desire to get more into them, but I liked this one.
It’s about a platoon of American soldiers in Montigny, France, 1944. They’ve been hanging out in this “rest area near the Siegfried Line,” waiting to go home. You got your eccentric goofballs: Corby (Bobby Darin) is a talker and hustler who carries around a bunch of junk and prides himself on being able to get people whatever they need. He’ll tell you all about it. Henshaw (James Coburn, HARD TIMES, DEADFALL, ERASER) is some kind of mechanical genius. He seems to keep his mind occupied by puzzling over how machines work. In the opening he has a car dismantled and Sergeant Pike (Fess Parker, THEM!) asks what was wrong with it. “Oh, I don’t know,” Henshaw says, seeming to have not considered that question. Also there’s Homer (Nick Adams, REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD), a young Polish guy who clings on to the soldiers, runs errands for them and dearly wishes to join them in hopes that he can go back to the States with them.
Into this hangout movie is transferred Reese, played by Steve McFuckingQueen. Pike knows him and trusts him as a soldier, but he’s trouble. He walks in with his rucksack and an air of superiority, finds his corner and minds his own business until he sneaks off to get a late night drink even though it’s strictly forbidden. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Bob Newhart, Bobby Darin, Don Siegel, Fess Parker, James Coburn, Nick Adams, Steve McQueen, WWII
Posted in Reviews, War | 6 Comments »
Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018
In TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA, grizzled poncho wearing already-played-The-Man-With-No-Name Clint Eastwood stumbles across a lady about to be gang raped in a Mexican desert. He rescues her with his gun and a stick of dynamite and when she puts her clothes back on it’s a damn nun’s habit!
She is Sister Sara (Shirley MacLaine) and, although she’s headed in the opposite direction of Clint’s character Hogan, she ends up getting his protection. The joke of the title was completely over my head until I read about it, but she has one mule and then Hogan is metaphorically the second one. She confesses to him that the French soldiers in the area are looking for her because she was caught raising money for the Mexican army. She hates what these colonialists are doing to the locals.
(Some of the things I’ve read say that Sister Sara was scripted as Mexican. If MacLaine was supposed to be playing it that way I sure didn’t pick up on it.)
Hogan, it turns out, is sort of like Benicio Del Toro in THE LAST JEDI, he doesn’t believe in taking sides (he’s a civil war vet and thinks that makes him a sucker) but he had agreed to a job blowing up a French garrison because he’d get to keep half of their treasury. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Budd Boetticher, Clint Eastwood, Don Siegel, Ennio Morricone, nun, Rene Cardona, Shirley MacLaine
Posted in Reviews, Western | 125 Comments »
Wednesday, June 28th, 2017
I’m excited for the impending release of Sofia Coppola’s new version of THE BEGUILED, but I had never actually seen the 1971 version starring Clint Eastwood, and what am I, an asshole? So I made sure to finally see it.
Right before DIRTY HARRY, Clint and Don Siegel made this one which is less action packed than DIRTY HARRY because Clint is bedridden or hobbling on crutches for the entire movie. Also he’s confined to a girl’s finishing school, and it’s not a DIE HARD type picking-off-terrorists-one-by-one situation either. It’s mostly just flirting.
Clint plays Corporal John McBurney, a.k.a. Johnny, McBee or Mr. Yank, a Union soldier badly wounded on Confederate territory and rescued by 12 year old girl’s school resident Amy (Pamelyn Ferdin, CHARLOTTE’S WEB, THE TOOLBOX MURDERS). Initially headmistress Martha (Geraldine Page, THE RESCUERS, THE POPE OF GREENWICH VILLAGE) intends to hand him over to the Confederate soldiers who stop by periodically on patrols, but she decides he’ll die in their prison if she doesn’t help him heal first. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Civil War, Clint Eastwood, Don Siegel, Geraldine Page, Jo Ann Harris, Lalo Schifrin, Mae Mercer, southern gothic
Posted in Drama, Reviews | 14 Comments »
Sunday, March 28th, 2010
FLAMING STAR is a Don Siegel western about a mixed-race family – a white man, his white son, his Native American wife, and their son together, Pacer. They all get it from both sides but especially Pacer, who has one foot in each world. The whites won’t even speak to him after a Kiowa massacre of a white family, and at the same time he’s being pressured by the new chief to turn his back on the white man and become a Kiowa warrior. Not like the chief gives two shits about him, he just wants him for the propaganda value, to be able to show somebody who turned their back on the white man. But Pacer doesn’t want to do it and thinks they’ll kill him when he says no.
He and his mother go into the Kiowa village to try to talk their way out of it. Pacer is convinced he’ll be forced to say no in front of everybody, but in fact the chief respects his bravery and allows him to leave peacefully to consider it more. They shouldn’t have been so distrustful. Ironically it’s a white man, an old friend, who ambushes them when they’re leaving.
Oh, and by the way Pacer is played by Elvis Presley. You know, the singer. I should’ve mentioned that probly. That might be relevant to how you’ll react to this one. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Don Siegel, Elvis Presley
Posted in Reviews, Western | 42 Comments »
Saturday, January 30th, 2010
This pre-DIRTY HARRY teamup between Clint Eastwood and Don Siegel starts with Clint as sheriff’s deputy Coogan tracking a Navajo wife-murderer through the desert. The wide angle, the windy quiet and the cowboy hat tell you it’s a western, except Coogan rides in in a Jeep. He has a shootout with the suspect, captures him and then goes to visit an old girlfriend, leaving the man chained up on the porch like a dog. His boss storms in to chew him out while his girl is bathing him – Coogan asks the sheriff to pass him the soap. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Clint Eastwood, Don Siegel, the mom from Webster
Posted in Action, Reviews | 22 Comments »
Friday, December 11th, 2009
The ’64 version of THE KILLERS doesn’t have much to do with the original and even less to do with the Hemingway story. And maybe it’s not quite the solid punch to the nose you’d hope for from the combination of Lee Marvin, Don Siegel and that title. But on the other hand it might be some kind of subtle dim mak punch because it stuck with me and seemed better and better the more I thought about it. Anyway, it’s damn good.
After I wrote about the ’46 version I listened to the extra on the DVD where Stacy Keach reads the Hemingway story, and it explained alot. That movie was a good mystery, but nothing in the main story approaches the perfection of that opening, the tense scene with the two strangers coming into the diner, talking shit, then taking everybody hostage and saying, “I’ll tell you what’s gonna happen. We’re gonna kill the Swede.” I know now that’s because the Hemingway story is only the opening, the rest is all extrapolated from there. In the story you don’t find out what the Swede did to get killed. Adding a whole story to explain the short story really goes against the spirit of the thing, because to quote Jack Skeleton about Christmas presents, “That’s the point of the thing, not to know.” (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Angie Dickinson, Claude Akins, Clu Gulager, Don Siegel, Ernest Hemingway, Lee Marvin, Ronald Reagan
Posted in Crime, Mystery, Reviews | 30 Comments »
Tuesday, June 10th, 2008
Man, I’ve watched DIRTY HARRY so many times since I’ve been writing about movies, and it is clearly one of the classics of Badass Cinema (the Loose Canon, I recently decided it should be called. Get it it is a pun I believe.) But I just figured out that I never wrote a review of it. Weird.
This time I watched it on the occasion of buying the new DIRTY HARRY ULTIMATE COLLECTION box set, which totally made my day and I did feel lucky punk and it is so good it would blow your head clean off and is the most powerful box set in the world. That is not really puns but you know what’s going on there, I think you get it. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Clint Eastwood, Don Siegel
Posted in Reviews, Thriller | 6 Comments »