Notes from the Wayback Machine
Comcast’s free movies this month includes a Charles Bronson retrospective. Last night I watched Mr. Majestyk (1974), in high def widescreen no less. I know we saw it at least twice when it came out: ‘the watermelon movie.’ Not for nothing, it’s really not that bad — like a pumped TVmovie directed by Richard Fleischer. Plenty of post-dubbing. And lispy Al Lettieri as the hitman... great 70s muzak score... Bronson’s stoicism at full self-parody...shit, I'll probably watch this again...
I saw some of Mr. Majestyk a few years back. It was kinda fun, I agree. Sadly, I missed the exploding watermelon scene. I'll catch it again if it turns up. I can enjoy some of Bronson's films but the later ones are unwatchable.
I tried watching The White Buffalo (1977), but…
Let’s just say, if ‘bad’ was London, then The White Buffalo is Tokyo.
The last Bronson movie I saw in a theatre was Death Hunt (1981) with Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson. It was directed by Peter Hunt... after Cubby Broccoli kicked him out of the 007 franchise. Hunt directed On Her Majesty's Secret Service. I saw Death Hunt at the Loews in Levittown... smuggled in a barbequed chicken and two six packs of beer... that became a Saturday afternoon ritual to get out of my mother’s apartment... A real black hole in my life.
A barbecued chicken?!? And two six-packs? Yipes, we’re truly in Harpo territory now. Was the chicken from that drive-in place on Hempstead Turnpike near the Levittown Theatre? We used to get rotisserie chickens there sometimes. Yum.
Yeah, Fireside Caterers. The meat fell off the bone — nice and fatty and greasy, you couldn’t stop eating it. I’d sit in the right side of the theatre, near the front, for Saturday matinees. I used to wander into other movies after seeing the one I’d paid for. Oliver Stone’s The Hand, before anyone knew who Ollie was… James Garner and Lauren Bacall in The Fan, Friday the 13th part 2, Used Cars, American Gigolo, S.O.B. — I saw that about four times, Happy Birthday to Me, the golden age of crap... I used to leave the insulated chicken bag with all the bones in it right on the floor next to the empty beer cans... then I'd wander to the local bar, get shooters of Cutty Sark and listen to Rupert Holmes’ “Him” on the jukebox...
The bones, beers, Cutty and Rupert sound like a pretty good night out to me these days…
After watching Mr. Majestyk I kept thinking about that ‘70s Mike Mazurki movie where he played a Yukon hermit… the one where he said, “Take care of the house, cat”… perhaps it’s all this medication I’m on...
How is your prostate these days?
We’ll know in a month. In the meantime, one of the drugs is making my crap slide out magnificently, real award-caliber dumps. And I’m getting feeling back in Mr. Winkie. Just this morning I was teetering on a wet dream where I was banging Kate Winslet in a nun’s habit — Ken Russell country.
Wow… did she look anything like this?:
Whoa dude!… that so totally freaked me out. Ever notice how nuns in movies and TV wear habits that real nuns stopped wearing twenty-five years ago?
Glad to hear your schlong’s Vroom-Vroom-Mikey again. However, you’ve lost me with the Mazurki reference. I have now carefully examined his oeuvre — and what an oeuvre it is — and assume you mean Challenge to Be Free (1975). Did we see this? I remember the title but I don’t recall the film — which was co-directed by Tay (Postman Always Rings Twice) Garnett and Ford (Flash Gordon) Beebe! One of those ‘70s ‘Family Entertainment’ things. Someone should do a documentary on that stuff, The Wilderness Family (1975) and The Late, Great Planet Earth (1979). Those things were kinda weird… there was something abnormal about them.
Challenge to Be Free was the one. They used to advertise it endlessly on TV. The “Take care of the house, cat” line was in every promo… it sounded like he was saying ‘take care of the housecat’… we used to say it as we would toss a ‘weetwah’ into conversation, albeit not as heavily... we never saw the film... Sun Classics? Sun International? ‘Family’ stuff far from Disney... I believe Leonard Maltin gave some of these movies fairly decent reviews.
IMDb has listings for both Sun International and Sunn Classics Are they one and the same? They distributed to ‘select theatres’ for limited runs — no second- or third-run at The Itch and the other dollar theatres, no sir. I think I saw one of them but can’t recall which. The Adventures of the Wilderness Family (1975), maybe. There was one called Across the Great Divide (1976) — I really wanted to see that because of the Band song.
But there were also those other things — In Search of Yeti, Chariots of the Gods, The Lincoln Conspiracy — also limited runs. I saw a bunch of them, all perfectly awful. There was one of them about ESP, I can’t remember the title. Did you see it with me?
I don’t think I’ve seen any of them!
It had a scene where a blind man says something about how ‘they’ were out to get him. Someone asks who and he says, “You know, the great ‘They.’ The fates, the destinies. First they say, let him grow up without parents…” It was John Garfield's monologue from Four Daughters (1938) taken word-for-word. I couldn’t believe it. It was almost as shocking as that fucked-up Robert Redford-Demi Moore movie where they stole Bernstein’s famous soliloquy from Citizen Kane (“You’d be surprised what a man can remember…”) I literally hollered when they tried to pull that shit off.
They tried a similar limited release campaign with The Other Side of the Mountain (which we saw at Cinema Wantagh). Deborah Raffin as a paralyzed girl. I seem to recall a number of extremely tasteless remarks passed between us during that one. God, I miss the ‘70s.
I remember The Other Side of the Mountain, but wasn’t that Marilyn Hassett? Raffin — I had the hots for her. She was in that Sidney Sheldon thing where she’s banging Kirk Douglas, who’s her father figure. Dude, we need a time machine toot sweet — we gotta go back!
Right, Marilyn Hassett. The Deborah Raffin movie was Once is Not Enough (1975) — which featured zero nudity (I’m still pissed). It also had Alexis Smith and ~gag~ Melina Mercouri as lesbian lovers. Carpet munching never looked so unenticing.