Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Day of the Evil Gun (1968)
Ford & Kennedy must have been short of cash
I've just finished reading the glowing remarks of others on this film, and I am incredulous. Did we see the same movie? I'm a huge fan of Glenn Ford and Arthur Kennedy. But they both must have been buying new property or something when this outrageous script came by. They could only have made it for the money.
We often appreciate drama by practicing the age-old "willing suspension of disbelief." This movie, however, challenges this with a series of totally unrelated and laughingly unlikely scenarios, almost saying, "Well, okay, but would you believe this?"
The Mexican bandito finds our two heroes strung up in a tree. He goes to all the trouble of staking them out in the heat of the desert so the vultures will devour them alive. (The stakes, which the bandito just happened to have, are securely driven into sand.) Oops. No. He returns to save the one who says he knows where some money is. By the way, the bandito hasn't even broken a sweat from all this physical exertion.
This clever bandito is easily distracted by searching for the missing money in the butt of the rifle he took from the two, so Ford can outflank him. El bandito thinks he is safe because the one bullet in Ford's pistol is two chambers away from the hammer.
Our heroes learn from one of the citizens dying from cholera that the Apache camp where the wife and daughters are being held is two and a half days west. Apaches are not resident farmers, like the Hopi, they're desert roamers. But they'll still be there when our stars arrive.
The renegade soldiers have only ammunition to bargain with the Apaches for their lives, but during the Indian raid, no one is assigned to protect the remaining wagon of bullets.
After crossing a desert, Kennedy dives into the first water source to noisily slake his thirst. The nearby Apache sentry does not hear or see them.
They manage to sneak up on the sentry and take him out. That's two clumsy white guys trying to be stealthy around a moccasined Indian.
Ford and Kennedy rappel down a cliff side in full view of the Indian camp without drawing attention.
They succeed in sneaking up behind the woman and her daughters who have been tied to three poles in the center of the camp. One must assume the three have been staked there, relieving themselves in their clothes, for the four or five days its taken our heroes to get there.
They cut the bindings, shielding themselves from the Indians' view by peeking around the poles. The Indians were sort of like folks who couldn't see the resemblance between Clark Kent and Superman.
No one is protecting the Apaches' horses, when Ford drives them away and Kennedy piles the ladies onto the ammo wagon and escapes. Their escape will take more than two and a half days. They make it without the Indians chasing down a few horses and attacking from the rear.
In the final confrontation, Kennedy is shot from behind by a store keeper who admits to knowing nothing about guns. The single shot is a good 30 yards and not just wounds Kennedy but kills him instantly.
To all those viewers who bought this sequence of thinly weaved scenes that come unraveled like cheap sweaters, I ask, were you smoking something?
Air Force (1943)
Tail gunner without a tail gun.
There was considerable action and dialog in this film centered around John Garfield's character improvising a tail gun position on the Mary Ann while in the Philippines.
It was true that the B-17 C/D didn't have a tail gun position. Firing aft was accomplished from the rear of the pod beneath the B-17's fuselage. (Incidentally, we must assume that Garfield's belly landing of the Mary Ann wiped out this pod and that a new one was cannibalized during its repair, since it is in evidence at the end of the film)
Actually, Garfield's character has a line early in the film in which he identifies himself as a "tail-gunner." One wonders just what bomber Garfield's character was trained for as a tail gunner. Certainly not the B-17.
Today We Live (1933)
For aviation film collectors . . .
The producers saved a lot of money on the action scenes. Most of the RAF combat footage was borrowed from Howard Hughes' epic, "Hell's Angels." The bomber that Gary Cooper and Roscoe Karns fly is a replica used with rear projection. The real one, a Sikorsky S-29, belonged to Roscoe Turner and was used as a stand-in for a German "Gotha" bomber in "...Angels." It was destroyed during a scene in which the aircraft was spun from 7,500 ft. by Hollywood pilot Al Wilson, while mechanic Phil Jones worked the smoke pots in the rear of the cabin. Wilson was unable to recover from the spin and, after shouting to Jones to bail out, left the aircraft. Jones apparently didn't hear the warning and rode the plane to his death in an orange grove in Pacoima, near present-day Whiteman Air Park. The camera crew was not prepared to catch the crash, so a JN-4 ("Jenny") was rigged with dummy wing-mounted engines and pushed over a Santa Paul bluff to recreate the Sikorsky's unplanned crash for the cameras.
The German fighters that Robert Young shoots down in "...We Live" were from the climactic air battle in "...Angels" and were flown by such legendary stunt pilots as Frank Clarke, Frank Tomick and Leo Nomis.
"...We Live" wasn't the only film to use "...Angels" aerial sequences. Others included "Cock of the Air" ('32), "Sky Devils" ('32), "The White Sister" ('33), "Crimson Romance" ('34), "Hell in the Heavens" ('34), "Suzy" ('36), "Ace Drummond" ('36), "Stunt Pilot" ('39) and "Army Surgeon" ('42).