Tag Archives: jack elam

Arnold Schwarzenegger … Cowboy?

4 Aug


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?
*shrug*
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 

Yep.

 

Henry Hathaway Director of Westerns / RAWHIDE (1951) Part 1

19 Feb


they call the wind maria / harve presnell

Henry Hathaway Directed about 27 Westerns. Four during the 50’s.
In 1951, Hathaway entered the Golden Age of Westerns riding high,
Directing top projects Starring the top players of the day.
Such was Rawhide, Starring Susan Hayward and Tyrone Power.

Rawhide / 1951

A story told with a blazing .44 !

Power and Hayward, share Top Bill.

Famous Lone Pine (location) never looked so good.

Whew !… it’s steamy out here in the desert.

These steamy posters (and some Preview Trailers) were typical of a lot of Movie advertising in the 40’s and 50’s which often advertised Movies in completely misleading, sensationalized, exaggerated – or even non-existent – ways. It seemed that the Marketing people had free reign to sell the product any way they wanted or could. Inferred sexual shenanigans was a popular ploy. In other words, your likelihood of actually seeing Tyrone Power groping Susan Hayward was highly unlikely (if that’s what you were going to the movie for?) And didn’t happen.

The only real groper in the Movie is the backshooting, kid shooting, lecherous, leering JACK ELAM! (Did I mention that he plays a badguy?)
Although Jack had appeared in 13 previous movies, he says Rawhide was his breakthrough role – and he has a sizable part with plenty of dialogue.He had made his mark and in Rawhide, he really chews the scenery and steals almost every scene he’s in.

It’s interesting that some Support/Character Actors appeared
in more Classic Movies that Top Billed Stars.

Jack would be one of those.

Part 2 coming … 

Tom Selleck Westerns: The Sacketts

25 Feb

The Sacketts tagline

The Sacketts opening banner

The made-for-television western The Sacketts combines the plotlines from two seperate Louis L’Amour novels, The Daybreakers and The Sacketts. In this film, the three Tennessee-raised Sackett brothers migrate to the West following the conclusion of the Civil War. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Movie Guide.

The Sacketts poster

The Sacketts dvd cover

Made ten years before Lonesome Dove, The Sacketts (1979) may well have been the first great Western Mini Series – and in looking at the cast, it’s easy to understand why some Western fans may hold it with similar esteem, with Western Greats like Glenn Ford, Sam ElliottTom SelleckSlim Pickens, Jack Elam, Ben  Johnson, L.Q. Jones, and some notable support players including John Vernon, Gilbert Roland, Buck Taylor  and on. Pretty impressive. So although The Sacketts does show itself to be a little shy in production values compared to modern fair, it still shines with notable Star Power.

The Sacketts IMDB review

The Sacketts Rotten Tomatoes reviewRatings were favourable … as they should be.

toothpick 2

The Cast

The Sacketts - Tom Selleck, Sam Elliott, Jeff Osterhage

Sam Elliott

sam elliott the sacketts 3

Tom Selleck

tom selleck the sacketts

 Jeff Osterhage

The Sacketts - Jeff Osterhage 2

 Glenn Ford

The Sacketts glenn ford 2

Ben Johnson

The Sacketts ben johnson

Jack Elam

The Sacketts jack elam 2

Slim Pickens

The Sacketts slim pickens 2

John Vernon

The Sacketts john vernon

cowboy

THE SACKETTS ... doing 'the walk'

Sacketts … doing ‘the walk’

Harry Dean Stanton … and the Recycled Cowboys

18 Oct

HARRY DEAN STANTON 12

HARRY DEAN STANTON

Celebrating Harry Dean Stanton’s Western Filmwork

Harry Dean Stanton didn’t appear in a lot of Westerns – yet he did appear in at least two of note: Pekinpah’s Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid and John Ford’s How the West was Won

Harry Dean Stanton is among a large but distinguished fraternity of Actors / Actresses whom I affectionately – and respectfully – refer to as the Recycled Cowboys.

Other members of this fraternity include Slim Pickens, Matt Clark, Jack Elam, Katy JuradoL.Q. Jones *… and on and on. As I say, a rather large fraternity, yet not diminished in it’s worthiness as being a fraternity of notable support actors.

(*(MFW: Every one of the actors named above – including Stanton – plus others – appeared in Sam Pedinpah’s great Western masterpiece Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid – which should be cause to recognize two things: Pekinpah’s great love for Western Film – and what a great and important Western Classic Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is.))

Most are recognized only by their frequent faces – but remain mainly anonymous in name. Others – like Pickins and Elam are well recognized. Stanton is surely among these – and may even be considered to have an almost cult-like following.

Sometimes Recycled Cowboys rise from the dust – the background – as movie Extras – to stardom. As did Ernest Borgnine and Charles Bronson – who laboured in the background for many movies before achieving outright Stardom. Others start out as Stars then fall back – but not out. Stranger still, many a Recycled Cowboy may enjoy more work than many Stars – appearing in dozens of films and TV shows. They may not get the same Billing or paycheque, but they probably aren’t hurting much either.

I hope to pay homage to many of these important and popular actors in the future.

Happy Trails.

Harry Dean Stanton Western Filmography:

HARRY DEAN STANTON 1

Sorry – No pics of Harry Dean for Tomahawk Trail. Lisa Montell and Susan Cummings.

HARRY DEAN STANTON 2

No Stanton photo. Alan Ladd and son, David Ladd

HARRY DEAN STANTON 3

HARRY DEAN STANTON 4

HARRY DEAN STANTON 5______________________________________________________

HARRY DEAN STANTON 6______________________________________________________

HARRY DEAN STANTON 7

HARRY DEAN STANTON 8

HARRY DEAN STANTON 9__________________________________________________________________

Vera Cruz … the rest of the gang

15 Dec

And what a gang it was …

Jack Elam, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson

Jack Elam, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson

Jack Elam, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson

Picture pilfered from Western Cinemania

http://www.westerncinemania.com/2011_03_01_archive.html

Vera Cruz ... dastardly owlhoots

Vera Cruz … dastardly owl hoots in front of a church

The Fiends! These dastardly owl-hoots have pulled their guns right in front of a church!

Vera Cruz -Darstardly owlhoots ruffing up Coop in the cantina

Vera Cruz – Dastardly owl hoots ruffing up Coop in the cantina

The Fiends! Six dastardly owl-hoots ruffing up Coop in the cantina!

Six darstardly owlhoots molesting Sarita Montiel

Five dastardly owl hoots molesting Sarita Montiel

The Fiends! Five dastardly owl-hoots molesting Sarita Montiel!

Vera Cruz - Chuck and Ernie

Vera Cruz – Chuck and Ernie

Men who enjoy their work. 

Vera Cruz ... the wrong end of a gun

Vera Cruz … Coop and Burt … on the wrong end of seven guns …

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