Arnold Schwarzenegger … Cowboy?

The Villain/ Mel Tillis

The Villain / Cactus Jack / (1979)

“What is the point of being on this Earth
if you are going to be like everyone else?”

– Arnold Schwarzenegger
No point at all Arnold.

Alias Cactus Jack

A long time ago I stopped identifying Movie Stars as Actors.
Because many Movie Stars are lousy Actors (or Actresses). Terrible.
However, a lot of good Actors never become Movie Stars either.
In the Entertainment trade, Acting, Talent, and Skill are secondary to Charisma: Star Power.
Sex appeal enters here largely.
In all, it’s about Money.

A Movie Star who is a good Actor/Actress with Star Power and Sex Appeal is a rare and Hot commodity.
But Star Power and Sex Appeal are often all it takes to be Hot at the Box Office.
Acting by itself rarely does the trick.
Therefore a great Shakespearean Actor may never become a Movie Star.

This brings us to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is a lousy Actor.
Yet he became one of the biggest Movie Stars ever.
Star Power. 

Arnold’s climb to Stardom didn’t happen overnight.
From 1963 to 1980 – age 16 to age 33 – he was in Bodybuilding competitions. 20 years.
Won everything.
Perhaps the greatest Bodybuilder ever.

So eventually – in 1979 – 32-year-old Arnold made his 3rd/4th? Movie:
The Villain. (Also called Cactus Jack).
A Western Comedy.
This wasn’t his breakthrough Movie.
That was Conan in 1982.

In The Villain Arnold was terrible. His Acting was about as wooden as a cigar store Bodybuilder.
Arnold claimed he’d been taking Acting lessons.
They weren’t evident.
This Movie should have ended his career.

So it’s rather incredible he was still around for Conan in 1982
where he was definitely Cast for his incredible physique – not his Acting chops.

Therefore, perhaps the strangest thing about The Villain was that Arnold’s only undeniable asset – his phenomenal musculature –
was not exploited in any way in the Movie!!?
He doesn’t bare even one muscle.
Which is rather mind numbing!

So why was he in this Movie at all?
Beats me!?

“If it bleeds, we can kill it.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger / Predator

That’s a theory.

I’d call this a very generous review.

This Movie is bleeding all over, but it’s still moving.

Apart from Arnold – the Cast in this thing was pretty good:
Kirk Douglas, Ann-Margret, Paul Lynde, Foster Brooks, Ruth Buzzi, Jack Elam, Strother Martin, Mel Tillis …
There certainly seems to be enough Talent here to make something happen.

So I have to blame things on Director Hal Needham. The Director is the guy in charge. And though Directors are not usually involved in the Casting or Writing he still had something to work with. A great Director can get a worthy performance out of a dead horse.

Kirk Douglas!!!?? in this thing!? What was he thinking?

Even the great ones make a couple of klunkers.

At least Arnold can say he was in a Movie with one of greatest Western Movie Stars of all time.

Hal Needham, who was one of the greatest Film Stuntman of all time (Legendary) went on to Direct
Burt Reynolds, in Smokey and the BanditHooperThe Cannonball Run and Stroker Ace.

Reynolds and Needham … ka-ching, ka-ching …

Those Movies made multi-millions.

Meanwhile …

Arnold Acting.
Even marvelous Paul Lynde can’t save this thing.
There’s no place to hide Kirk.
Yes that’s actual dialogue from the Movie.

Ann knows why she’s there.

Desistance is futile.
Kirk and Foster Brooks. If you’ve seen Brooks once that’s pretty well enough.

Kirk Douglas and Jack Elam

So … was this Movie a Contract Dump? You have to wonder.
And how did Arnold even get a contract to begin with?

I’ll show you.

“Don’t be afraid to fail.”
– Arnold Schwarzenegger 



Bi-Monthly Rant … Charisma and Star Power

Bi-Monthly Rant … Charisma and Star Power.

Yeeee Hawww !!

William S. Hart

About Charisma and Star Power …

Sumpthin’ that Cindy (Cindy Bruchman ( said got me thinking (and around here thinking is like loco weed – it can send your charging off across the desert – in any direction – looking for the nearest waterhole)

john wayne

Charisma … It’s cruel really.
Can’t invent it .. Can’t bottle it.
It’s like gold.
It’s either there .. or it ain’t.
And it don’t care how talented you are .. how smart you are … or how much experience you’ve got …
It don’t even care if you can act.
Nor if you’re a nice guy … or a jerk.
It’s a gift … sorta … from God. Bestowed upon a chosen few.

young john wayne

In the old days of movie making they used to do what you call ‘Screen Tests’.
(Not sure if they still do or not?)
The purpose of Screen Testing was not to see if you could act (or not) – as most actors thought (or hoped).
It was to see if you ‘had it’: The magic. Charisma.
And all the acting lessons in God’s creation wouldn’t get you a job if the guys in the seats couldn’t see that indefinable magic …

alan ladd shane

Many actors of the 50’s balked at the Star System – the control and power of the old Studios. That’s understandable. BUT … these studios also ensured – to a good degree – that quality people and product got on the screen. Compare the staple and stable of Stardom that we have today with those of yesteryear. Not many Stars of the modern era could stand in that group. Because the Studios also screened – to a degree – the quality of Character, etc. Class … had it’s place. But they also developed, discovered and trained talent – Dance, Song, Stage, Acting … etc. Everything.

james stewart

Today … there’s exceptions of course – like Tom Hanks and uh … uh … I’ll get back to you.

jack palance shane

Yet recently I heard a film critic say that Star Power is less important than it used to be.
That could be true considering some of the crud that crossed my screen recently – which is making money – and some of the people in it.

burt and coop

OK .. I’m going to cut it off here. My thinking is turning into a rant … and a posse is forming.


One Note: If you don’t have Charisma, don’t sweat it. It doesn’t mean that your worthless, evil, useless, bad, or anything like that …

It just means nobody (but your Mom) is gonna watchya.

gary cooper

coop and burro