Eric 'Bullwhip' Griffin:
Oh, I have no doubt that you're a scoundrel, Higgins, but you certainly aren't the type who would shoot an unarmed man.
Well, that's purely a personal opinion on your part.
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Playing the title role of Bullwhip Griffin is Roddy McDowell, a gentleman's gentleman and guardian to heirs Bryan Russell and Suzanne Pleshette from Boston. It seems as though their father has died and the family fortune isn't quite what they've been led to believe. Never mind that, young Russell has lived on an intellectual diet of dime novels and is convinced that he can go to California and strike it rich with the Gold Rush.
The Adventures Of Bullwhip Griffin has a Mark Twain feel to it and it's not too bad, I think Mr. Clemens might have approved of it in his younger and less cynical days. The chief villain of the piece is Karl Malden playing a confidence man who goes by the name of 'Judge' Griffin. He's a man full of tricks, he's a lot like the 'king' and 'duke' characters from Huckleberry Finn. Twain would have really relished Malden's performance.
As for Roddy McDowall he's as innocent as those Americans going abroad for the first time as tourists in Innocents Abroad. In point of fact San Francisco and the gold fields of California were a whole continent away and might as well been a foreign country. In fact McDowall would have been more at home in London than in San Francisco had he gone east instead of west.
But this is America and it's the land of no titled classes. McDowall dares dream he too could win the hand of Suzanne Pleshette who has shaken her proper eastern upbringing to sing in Harry Guardino's Barbary Coast saloon. Guardino is another villain playing his part with relish, he's interested in Pleshette for more than her singing career.
Highlight of the film is McDowall taking on Mike Mazurki in a prize fight. Only in the movies would you think that McDowall could beat Mazurki in a fight. Still it's a very funny sequence.
The cast looks like they're having a real good time making this film and the enthusiasm is infectious. The Adventures Of Bullwhip Griffin is one of the better products to come from the Magic Kingdom in the Sixties.
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