8 items from 2011
Supporting actor who seesawed from menacing villain to comic fool
Many of Clint Eastwood's hit films of the 1970s and 80s were made with a stock company of distinctive supporting actors. This kooky troupe included the elfin Sondra Locke, the wild-eyed Geoffrey Lewis and the effortlessly villainous Bill McKinney, who has died of cancer aged 80. Switching between westerns, comedies and thrillers, McKinney was seldom called upon for more than a few minutes of screen time but had the seasoned character actor's knack of making a memorable first impression. In Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974), the first of his seven films with Eastwood, he appears as a gibbering driver with a caged raccoon by his side and a boot full of white rabbits.
He was subsequently cast as the bloodthirsty Terrill, who oversees the massacre of Eastwood's family in The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976); as an oily, sex-crazed constable coolly ridiculed by Locke »
- Chris Wiegand
Character actor Bill McKinney, who featured in one of the most iconic and disturbing scenes in movie history, has died, aged 80.
McKinney, who also appeared in seven Clint Eastwood movies, died at the Valley Presbyterian Hospice in California after a long battle with lung cancer, according to TMZ.com.
A statement on his Facebook.com page reads, "An avid smoker for 25 years of his younger life, he died of cancer of the esophagus. He was 80 and still strong enough to have filmed a Doritos commercial 2 weeks prior to his passing, and he continued to work on his biography with his writing partner."
McKinney also appeared in Sam Peckinpah's Junior Bonner, The Life & Times of Judge Roy Bean, blaxploitation classic Cleopatra Jones, First Blood and The Green Mile as well as a string of popular TV series like The A-Team, Baywatch and The Fall Guy. »
Joe Don Baker was marketed as a martial arts star in the 1974 actioner Golden Needles, a movie I saw at the Des Peres 4 Cinema back when it was new and haven’t been able to track down since. It had never been released on VHS or DVD so I was psyched to see it’s now out as part of the “MGM Limited Edition” DVD-r series . Before starring in the hit Walking Tall in 1973, Baker had bounced around Hollywood mostly doing TV work . After Kris Kristofferson turned down the role of Buford Pusser, producers offered the role to Baker who had made an impression as Steve McQueen’s younger brother in Sam Peckinpah’s Junior Bonner in 1972.Walking Tall, a true tale about a Tennessee sheriff confronting corruption and gangsters with a large wooden club and a mean attitude, was a surprise success and Baker was soon starring in a »
- Tom Stockman
Okay, yes, "The Expendables," ended up being better as an "idea" than a reality. Sylvester Stallone gathered a bunch of over-the-hill action stars (including his "Rocky IV" opponent, Dolph Lundgren, and his "Get Carter" pal, Mickey Rourke) for a bloody shoot-'em-up designed to show all the young whippersnappers out there that the old men still got it. The resulting film had its moments but was ultimately too confusing, too haphazard and too, well, expendable.
But what are sequels for if not a chance to make things all better (don't answer that)? Stallone has gathered an even more impressive cast for "The Expendables 2" -- Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme will be contributing to the mayhem this time around, and Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, both of whom only had cameo appearances in the original film, will have much larger roles in the new adventure. And, of course, all of the old gang is back, »
Ben Johnson on TCM: War Drums, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon Schedule (Et) and synopses from the TCM website: 6:00 Am 3 Godfathers (1948) Three outlaws on the run risk their freedom and their lives to return a newborn to civilization. Dir: John Ford. Cast: John Wayne, Pedro Armendáriz, Harry Carey Jr. C-106 mins. 8:00 Am Fort Defiance (1951) A Civil War veteran returns to his hometown to avenge his brother's death. Dir: John Rawlins. Cast: Dane Clark, Ben Johnson, Peter Graves. C-82 mins. 9:30 Am Wild Stallion (1952) A horse hunter pursues a white colt that ran off when his parents were killed. Dir: Lewis D. Collins. Cast: Ben Johnson, Edgar Buchanan, Martha Hyer. C-70 mins. 11:00 Am War Drums (1957) A white trader and an Apache chief fall for the same woman. Dir: Reginald LeBorg. Cast: Lex Barker, Joan Taylor, Ben Johnson. C-75 mins. 12:30 Pm Cheyenne Autumn (1964) A reluctant calvary Captain must »
- Andre Soares
Ben Johnson isn't exactly what one would call a movie icon; Johnson isn't even a Western icon, despite his presence in numerous Old (and not-so-Old) West movies during his 50+-year career. Johnson's semi-obscurity today is a great reason to celebrate Turner Classic Movies' devoting one whole day to him as part of its "Summer Under the Stars" film series. [Ben Johnson Movie Schedule.] TCM will be presenting 12 Ben Johnson movies, including one premiere, the 1957 Western War Drums, directed by Viennese filmmaker Reginald Le Borg (Voodoo Island, Sins of Jezebel), and starring former Tarzan Lex Barker. The movie sounds like a hoot: Mexican gal Riva (Joan Taylor, actually from Geneva, Illinois) is wanted and desired by both a white trader (Johnson) and an Apache chief named Mangas Coloradas (Barker). Barker playing an Apache should be, ahem, interesting enough, but one named Mangas Coloradas? Here's wondering if that translates as "Colored Mangoes." Anyhow, War Drums sounds like a must-see. »
- Andre Soares
Co-starring with Marlon Brando in his prime is a bonus for any actor's filmography. The fame of Mary Murphy, who has died aged 80, was boosted considerably when she played his love interest in The Wild One (1953). Tame by today's standards, it was the film in which the brooding, rebellious, black-leather-clad Brando, as the leader of a motorcycle gang, emerged fully as a sex symbol.
The pretty, clean-cut Murphy, never considered a sex symbol herself, served as an excellent foil to Brando who, when asked what he is rebelling against, replies: "What've you got?" As the sheriff's daughter, she immediately attracts the attention of Brando when he comes in for a beer at the diner where she works. Gradually, the attraction becomes mutual as he rides his large, phallic motorcycle with her clutching his waist, her »
- Ronald Bergan
Hollywood producer Joe Wizan has passed away at the age of 76.
Wizan died of natural causes after a long illness on Monday in Westlake Village, California.
Wizan also worked on 1984's Romancing the Stone and 1992 action comedy Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot!, as well as the film adaptations of James Patterson's Alex Cross book Kiss the Girls (1997) and its 2001 sequel Along Came a Spider - the producer's final shoot.
He is survived by his wife Melanie, a son and a daughter, and two step-sons. »
8 items from 2011
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