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Bearcats!: Powderkeg (1971)
Unusual action film, very well done, interesting premise
Powderkeg! was a movie filmed in 1971 starring the well known actor Rod Taylor, and Dennis Cole as two men living in the southwest just prior to WWl. It based around the premise that the pair had 'cleaned up' a couple of rough towns in self-defense, then other towns had come to them seeking help in doing the same for their communities. They had to get 'mercenary' about this and their fee was a blank check. "If you can put a price on it, you don't need 'em bad enough"! The two are contacted by a railroad magnate after one of his trains is hijacked, his best friend killed, and the friends daughter among the 73 people being held by the Morales gang, former revolutionaries turned bandits and murderers. The leader, Chuchu, (Fernando Lamas) has taken the hostages to be exchanged for his brother, being held in a small town jail after a raid by the gang. The plot then centers around Brackett and Reach (Taylor and Cole) devising a plan to seize the train and free the hostages, which they do cleverly and successfully. The movie served as the pilot for the show Bearcats!, which unfortunately, only lasted one season, mostly due to being up against the Flip Wilson show, well established and carrying high ratings. But for one memorable season, Taylor and Cole thrilled many a young lad and sometimes even the Dads as well, with an unusual, well done show with a very original premise, unlike so much of the drivel that 'graces' TV these days! My thanks to all involved in the show, I will never forget it.
Death Race (1973)
For it's time, very well done short WWll movie
Death race, a.k.a. State of Division, was a made for TV movie, that for the time especially, was very well done. The German tank actually had correct markings for one used in North Africa, the P-40 was about the right series, the clothing and weapons were all pretty much correct-except for two glaring goofs. Bridge's character sported a Luger pistol, and while this is an authentic German WWl sidearm, almost no command rank officer carried one, most favored the more modern and reliable Walther P-38. The only other readily apparent wrong is the P-40 supposedly had 20mm cannons as wing guns. No Curtiss P-40 of any series (B through N) was equipped thusly from the New York factory, and the only change the British made to theirs was changing the wing and cowl mount guns to .303 Brownings instead of the standard .30 caliber U.S. I actually enjoyed this movie for the most part, as it really was very authentic, and for someone like me (a confirmed military history buff!), the closer they get it to right, the easier it is to just watch and get lost in the story. I do wish it had been made longer, so more character development could have taken place. McClure's Culpepper starts off as a 'get by' kind of guy, not really caring much about the war or any greater ideal than his next meal or shower. They really rushed his change to a 'now I see why I should care' after a day and a half spent with the Thinne's McMillan, an Eagle squadron pilot, whom he starts taking a liking too through their shared dilemma. McMillan starts to explain why he enlisted with the British, why he put himself into harms way, but never gives the reason. The final 'battle' sequence at the end is pretty exciting, but again feels rushed. The movie runs approx. 90 minutes, so overall, except for the above listed comments, I feel this is an enjoyable movie for both the WWll buff or the action/drama movie watcher.