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I was pleasantly surprised by this film. I thought it would be pretty stupid but instead it was quite clever. This movie gave me the impression that everyone must have had a good time making it. Lee Marvin, Strother Martin and Englishman Oliver Reed, as half-breed Joe Knox(!), meshed perfectly. The women were lovely and not very dainty and Robert Culp was as usual, Robert Culp (it must be in his contract). Believe it or not, the story, convoluted as it is, makes sense and there is even an elaborate caper pulled near the end. A movie that should offend many people but is so good natured that it charms them instead.
This movie has not received the best reviews but I have always loved this picture. I'm not an old movie buff, I'm only 19 but I've always been a huge Lee Marvin and Strother Martin fan. This movie has three great actors together Marvin, Martin, and Oliver Reed as the Indian "Joe Knox". Watch this film and you'll see three screen legends in a comical role with a good story plot. Marvin and Martin show the comical side to themselves and Oliver Reed presents a superb and funny performance as an Indian. "The Great Scout And Cathouse Thursday" is a Great movie with Great actors. A beautiful movie that deserves a 10 rating!
This is American International Pictures mid 70s drive-in movie idea of Blazing Saddles meets Cat Ballou via Paint Your Wagon. Believe it or not, it is actually funny. Renowned for making budget imitation versions of popular genres or other blockbusters, AIP often just made their own remake of whatever was popular. Bonnie And Clyde? AIP make A Bullet For Pretty Boy or BoxCar Bertha or Bloody Mama, etc. Westworld? AIP make Futureworld. on it went. Until after Superman they made Meteor and went broke. Sad really because AIP had a place in pre Video and DVD Hollywood after Republic Pictures and Allied Artists also went out of the biz. GREAT SCOUT is a Lee Marvin western style 'romp' with an excellent cast. It imitates those initial films above (possibly also The Cheyenne Social Club) and adds some phoney animation (cartoon dots supposed to be a beehive attack) rude Native American Indians played by Oliver Reed (!) and Black Bart style gunslingers. It's all slight and silly. Cross reference the films mentioned and it is all no worse than something Ann Margret and Arnie and Kirk Douglas once made. GREAT SCOUT is a sitter for a cult revival on DVD.
One of the funniest movies I've yet to see. Great cast with funny, funny script. We watch it every chance we get and can't wait for the DVD to be produced. This is one of Lee Marvin's best movies....teamed with Robert Culp, Elizabeth Ashley & Oliver Reed the movie creates unforgettable fast-paced humor. Elizabeth Ashley's portrayal of "little girl" is priceless and the final chase scenes in the movie are right up there with "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. When Joe Knox gets drunk and kidnaps a Lady for each Night of the week (thus Cathouse Thursday) followed by Sam's tricking him into visiting the doctor for a "painless" cure is one of the funniest story lines I've yet to see. The movie deserves much higher than its mediocre rating.
Entertaining Western/comedy in which follows the misadventures of a
misfit group of rogues and hustlers involving them into multiple antics
. This eccentric funny Western set in Colorado of 1908 deals with Sam
Longwood (Lee Marvin) , a scout who has liven better days , passing
through aware his former gold-mine colleague named Jack Colby (Robert
Culp) , now is a politically ambitious magnate , who ran off with all
the gold from a mine they were prospecting several years earlier . Sam
revives his old feud being helped by his other pals from that time , a
wacky half-breed named Joe Knox (an improbable Indian Oliver Reed) and
a roguish old man named Billy (Strother Martin) . Very funny Western
about some helpless adventurers who hatch a plan and attempt to rob a
fortune to a former swindler who now supports Taft presidential
election . As they confront Jack Colby asking him the thousand dollars
he previously took . After being thwarted in this attempt , they, and a
likable young prostitute with rambunctious temperance named Thursday
(Kay Lenz) scheme a variety of get-rich , well-concocted plans , as
robbery of proceeds from big boxing match for raising funds to
President Taft campaign . They also abduct Colby's spouse , Nancy Sue
(Elizabeth Ashley) , who is coincidently Sam's old flame , but they
learn that she is not the sweet woman that Sam had known .
Delightful Western parody with considerable silliness in which the grifter frontiersman Lee Marvin and the American Indian Oliver Reed steal the show using his wits , breaking all the rules and kicking virtually every cliché in the pants , as they relentlessly rob , run , and make jokes ; furthermore adds sparkle other actors . It is developed up and down with not much plot , some grotesque moments and in other side contains bemusing and funny scenes . Amiable but sometimes lumbering Western satire goes on and on about the same premise . Seemingly endless list of character players includes a good support cast as Elizabeth Ashley as an adulterous wife , Strother Martin as an inept botcher old man whose double-crosses habitually misfire , Kay Lenz as a wanna-be young whore and Sylvia Miles as a stubborn Madame . The film follows in the wake of ¨ Hallelujah trail (65) ¨ by John Sturges ¨ Support your local sheriff ¨ and ¨ Support your local gunfighter ¨ by Burt Kennedy ¨Waterhole¨ by William A Graham and of course ¨ Blazing saddles (74) ¨ by Mel Brooks , all of them are engaging Western satire and pretty amusing . Colorful cinematography by the Mexican Alex Phillips and lively , jolly musical score by John Cameron , full of mirth and amusement .
The film is well produced by AIP's Samuel Z. Arkoff and professionally directed by Don Taylor . None of Don Taylor's later movies have topped this one for sheer belly laughters . Don was an actor and director as TV as cinema , he played one of the leads in the Army-Air Force production of Hart's play, "Winged Victory¨ . Returning to civilian life , Taylor resumed his work in pictures with a top role in the trend-setting crime drama ¨The naked city (1948)¨ and played successful films as ¨Destination Gobi¨ , ¨Battleground¨ and ¨Stalag 17¨. In later years Taylor became a film and TV director , being nominated for an Emmy for his direction of an episode of "Night Gallery" (1969). Don met his wife Hazel Court when he directed her in a 1958 episode of "Alfred Hitchcock presents" (1955). Taylor was an expert filmmaker on adventures genre as ¨Adventures of Tom Sawyer¨ , Terror as ¨Damien : Omen 2¨ , and science fiction as ¨Island of Dr. Moreau¨, ¨Escape from Planet of Apes¨ and ¨The final of countdown¨. Rating : Good , 6,5 . Acceptable and passable Western/broad comedy fare although could have been funnier and better viewed in big screen . The movie will appeal to Lee Marvin and Oliver Reed devotees who will want to check out their excessive and comical performances .
An outstanding and irreverent comedy. Lots of belly laughs! Cannot
understand why it is not available on DVD yet? Even though that pretty
well sums up what I have to say, more is necessary if I want this to
appear, so here goes.
Marvin, Reed, Crenna and Lenz all have a gift for comedy that was not always appreciated. Lenz is at her most fetching and can light up the screen and steal scenes, even from such veteran actors. Amazing also the way the old West stuff is still so applicable to modern life. Guess the dynamics of human nature and the relationship between men and women never change much. People a hundred years from now could watch this film and get the same laughs as the same absurdity in human situations will still exist then.
The American Western had gotten kind of tired by the early 60's and
ended up moving overseas during that decade where it begat the
Spaghetti Westerns or Euro-Westerns. There is no doubt these films
really revitalized the genre, but what was especially interesting is
the influence they in turn had on the American genre in the 1970's.
This is most obvious perhaps in early American Clint Eastwood Westerns
like "Hang 'em High" and "High Plains Drifter" which traded on
Eastwood's mercenary "Man with No Name" character. The more left-wing
political Eurowesterns, meanwhile, probably had at least some influence
on American films like "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" and "Pat Garret and
Billy the Kid" (as well as on overtly political pseudo-Westerns like
"Billy Jack"). This rather obscure American film is especially
interesting though because it really betrays the influence of the third
type of Eurowestern, the slapstick-comedy Westerns typified by the
"Trinity" films of Terence Hill and Bud Spencer.
This movie is also interesting in that it casts two the scariest screen heavies of all time--Lee Marvin and Oliver Reed--in roles that sre not only sympathetic but funny. Reed plays an Indian(!), which easily could have been a disaster, but he turns out to be quite funny as a resentful half-breed who kidnaps a bunch of prostitutes in order to infect them with a dose of clap he has in order to create an epidemic that he hopes will reach all the way to the White House! He quickly forgets about this hare-brained scheme, however, when Marvin's character enlists his aid in getting revenge on an old partner (Robert Culp) who swindled them both and stole the Marvin character's perpetually unfaithful wife (Elizabeth Ashley). Rounding out the gang is character actor Strother Martin and Kay Lenz as "Cathouse Thursday", one of the prostitutes who decides to stay with her abductors. And this itself becomes a problem because she is the favorite of a lesbian madame (Sylvia Miles), who commands her own gang and owns the only motorcar around. It all comes to a head at a boxing match/political charity for the election of William Howard Taft.
Besides Marvin and Reed, the other main asset of this film is Kay Lenz. Lenz was a very appealing actress but not a traditional Hollywood beauty (she was kind of like Sissy Spacek or Hilary Swank), which often got her cast in "loser" or "outsider" roles like the title role in the ridiculous TV movie "The Initiation of Sara". After her memorable debut in "Breezy", she also kind of got typecast as a younger woman romantically involved with much older male partners ( William Holden in "Breezy", Lee Marvin in this). She was definitely very cute (she was once married to 70's heart-throb David Cassidy) and Hollywood should have done a lot more with her.
This isn't really a classic Western (and it's pretty hard to find right now), but is an interesting and entertaining film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's not a great comedy, but THE GREAT SCOUT AND CATHOUSE THURSDAY is a
spoof western that plays around with such themes as settling long
standing scores and recapturing a lost love from youth. In the proper
hands mighty great tragedies of loss of innocence or happiness have
been built on such themes like THE SEARCHERS. Here it is sent up - with
a heavenly nuttiness.
Lee Marvin, Strother Martin, and Oliver Reed (as a truly vengeful Native American - more below) all worked a gold site with Robert Culp when they were all younger and (these three) more innocent. Culp ran off with the money, and used it to become a powerful gold mine owner. Marvin accidentally tracks him down, and gathers the other two to confront him and demand their share. And he laughs in their face, and uses his goon squad to chase them away. But they come up with a plan to kidnap Culp's wife (Elizabeth Ashley) to force him to give them their money. Marvin, now an old saddle bum, recalls how Ashley and he were once quite hot for each other. He figures that there should be little real problem.
A touch of O'Henry comes here - "The Ransom of Red Chief". It seems that marriage and prosperity brought out the worst in both Culp and Ashley. Both are used to their comforts, and neither are particularly nice people, nor do they care for each other (Culp has been promoting a prize fighter for the heavyweight championship - the gentleman has been sleeping with Ashley!). So after having the "pleasure" of kidnapping Ashley, Marvin discovers Culp couldn't care less.
The film has some wonderful touches in it. Reed's "Joe Knox" is the most interesting vengeful Indian in American movies. Forget slow torments over roasting fires, or flaying alive, or "running the gauntlet" or scalping. Seems Joe has venereal disease, and plans to spread it all over the west. Martin, when he learns this, is frightened ("Damn it Joe, we drank out of the same cup!", he squeals). Reed foresees that his one-man assault on the U.S will reach the White House (he sees Teddy Roosevelt screaming about it). Lee Marvin does convince him to see a doctor, but Reed is aware (apparently) of the current treatment with mercury and a needle. Marvin tries to reassure him ("It's all done with a little pill now!"). Reed believes him, until he sees the doctor, and runs out.
Culp and his relationship with Marvin is also interesting. When they were younger and working together, Culp was a member of the Democratic Party like Marvin (and Martin, presumably). But now he's a man of property and position. He is not only a good taxpayer and a Republican (as Brian Keith would have said in THE HALLALUJAH TRAIL) but he is pushing the election of Republican Candidate William Howard Taft over William Jennings Bryan. Marvin can't believe this apostasy, and Culp is obviously annoyed by Marvin's confronting him on such an important matter. When they finally confront each other in a fight, Culp says he is not only going to beat up Marvin for trying to get his money back, but he's going to force him to vote for the better man for President. Whenever he punches Marvin, Culp says, "You will vote for Taft!". Seldom has political principle gone to such a length.
It was a good comedy, and is worth watching. It also (in it's conclusion) gave Marvin an opportunity to sing in a movie again, as he had done in PAINT YOUR WAGON. But this time the song is livelier, and there are others singing it with him.
Lee Marvin dusted off the rapscallion character he played in both Cat
Ballou and Paint Your Wagon to star in The Great Scout&Cathouse
Thursday. Marvin is the great scout at least by his lights and Cathouse
Thursday is Kay Lenz.
It's 1908 and the scout's seen his best days gone by. But the sight of his old prospecting partner Robert Culp who is now running for governor of the state on a fortune that was started with the money that they prospected and Culp stole sends Marvin into action. Marvin contacts Oliver Reed and Strother Martin the other two partners and they formulate several plans for revenge.
The plan they eventually settle on is to kidnap Culp's wife Elizabeth Ashley who used to be with Marvin and hold her for ransom. Along in all of this is Lenz who is left over from a raid on a bordello she works at when Oliver Reed decides to keep her after he rescues the others. Lenz isn't crazy to go back there and be the special favorite of lesbian madam Sylvia Miles. In fact she comes in quite handy in dealing with Culp.
The Great Scout&Cathouse Thursday is a rollicking western with Marvin, Reed, and Martin all competing to see who can ham it up the most. I think Reed's scene in which he gets cured of the clap after being led down a garden path by Marvin is the best. Let's just say that Marvin was years ahead of his time in predicting the treatment.
The final fight scene between Marvin and Culp was borrowed from the John Wayne classic, McLintock. It still works in this film and provides a fitting climax.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I must admit that even though I usually don't pre-judge a film, I'd
already decided that The Great Scout And Cathouse Thursday was going to
be pretty terrible. Surprisingly, it isn't. Not that it's particularly
good either, but at least it doesn't fall horribly flat as it could so
easily have done. It must have taken a mighty brave studio to have the
nerve to cast hellraisers Lee Marvin and Oliver Reed in the same movie
but here they are, mugging away something rotten in this slapstick
western clearly having a good time, some of which occasionally
transmits across to the audience. Oddball western character-actor
Strother Martin is in there too, essaying another of his effortlessly
watchable performances as a lovable eccentric.
In the latter-day Wild West, oddball partners Sam Longwood (Lee Marvin), Joe Knox (Oliver Reed) and Billy (Strother Martin) spend their time drifting from one town to another getting into various misadventures. In one town, they spot their old pal Jack Colby (Robert Culp) who stole a fortune from them when they struck gold some fifteen years earlier. Since then Colby has gone on to become a pampered playboy, dipping his toes into political campaigning and promoting big sports events. Meanwhile, Sam and the boys have struggled by, making a few dollars by whatever means they can. The luckless trio decide to confront Colby and claim back their rightful money, leading to a series of increasingly madcap events in which they try to recover it. They are joined in their adventures by young prostitute Thursday (Kay Lenz), who finds herself craving an unlikely love affair with the grizzled old-timer Sam.
Directed economically by workmanlike veteran Don Taylor, The Great Scout And Cathouse Thursday is amusing fun. Marvin hams things up unashamedly but is enjoyable to watch, while Reed as an educated half-breed with long hair is in full-on pantomime mode. There's a rambling shapelessness to the story which sometimes creates tedium, but these dull stretches are counterbalanced with several funny sequences and good-natured hijinks. John Cameron's score is jaunty and high-spirited throughout and adds to the general air of barnstorming light-heartedness. No-one will ever claim this film is their no.1 favourite of all-time, but it's a brisk and goofy time-filler which whiles away a couple of hours inoffensively enough. It certainly isn't the total pile of garbage that I was afraid it might be when I sat down to watch it.
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