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Jim Brannigan is sent to London to bring back an American mobster who is being held for extradition but when he arrives he has been kidnapped which was set up by his lawyer. Brannigan in his American Irish way brings American law to the people of Scotland Yard in order to recapture this mobster with both A price tag on his head and a stuffy old London cop to contend with. Written by
Christopher D. Ryan <email@example.com>
By the mid 1970s the western film had really become a thing of the past. The action heroes by that time were police of all different kinds of character. Clint Eastwood had sure proved that with the success of the Dirty Harry Films. In fact by the time Brannigan came out, Eastwood had two of them already done.
I suspect that John Wayne was also looking for modern stories for reasons of health. Those western locations were and are pretty rugged. Wayne was 68 when this was done and playing a man in his fifties. He also had only one working lung in those last dozens years of work after the cancer operation of 1964.
So in Brannigan Wayne makes a more successful transition from his western character to a modern policeman than he did in McQ. He's from the Chicago PD and in London to pick up gangster John Vernon who's skipped bail. An assignment that the San Francisco PD surely would have sent Harry Callahan on.
Vernon is not only not in custody with Scotland Yard, but he's been kidnapped and is being held for ransom. Vernon's lawyer Mel Ferrer arrives from Chicago to pay the ransom.
It's a merry chase from then on and while the ending is no kind of surprise the film is a lot of fun.
Richard Attenborough makes an effective British foil for Wayne's all American hero. And Judy Geeson who first became noticed by movie fans as a student in Sidney Poitier's class in Two Sir With Love, plays Wayne's driver and confidante as a police sergeant. The two of them have a marvelous father/daughter like chemistry.
Wayne films are not complete unless there is a fight scene. In this case a London pub is busted up like a frontier saloon in a scene reminiscent of The War Wagon. It's sort of out of place though in a modern film.
And the climax is a homage to Dirty Harry. Dare I say it, but I'm still wondering why Eastwood's Malpaso Productions didn't sue the Duke's Batjac company for that scene which is ripped off from Magnum Force.
Probably because Clint liked the homage.
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