Sunday, January 23, 2011

1975 - BRANNIGAN, John Wayne's fish out of water or is it bull in a china shop cop movie, whatever

Looking for a change of pace and trying to capitalize on the cop movie craze, John Wayne played a Chicago cop on assignment looking to arrest a dangerous gangster in yet another example of what is called "by the books" film making. 

Wayne's looking about as tired and disinterested as this film is.  He walks through the scenes but doesn't seem particularity engaged.  The same can be said about the film.  The plot concerns an elaborate kidnapping and extortion scheme with twists and turns that are obvious 30 to 45 minutes before they happen.

Brannigan has a good cast.   Richard Attenborough is the Scotland Yard detective whose naturally doesn't like Wayne's brash American way of doing things.  John Vernon who usually played bad guys for Clint Eastwood plays a bad guy in this film.  Mel Ferrer a semi dependable leading man from the 1950's and 60's plays a crooked attorney and Judy Geeson a one time British starlet is Wayne's chaste love interest in scenes that are really uncomfortable to watch.

It's a decent cast but hardly inspired.  Hitchcock and David Lean always cast against type to make their films interesting.  It's a measure of this film's failure that everyone cast in this film is basically a stereotype of characters they have played in other films. 

The action is OK but as a friend once said to me there was always something not quite right about cowboy star Wayne running around in a suit and tie. As Wayne got older this seemed even more true

111 minutes

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