Wayne is clearly laboring here, and rightfully so.
Wayne is clearly laboring here, and rightfully so. He well into the sunset of his career, but still trying to compete with newer and hotter stars of the time, namely Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds. Surprisingly, he was still the 1 draw at the box office in , the year Big Jake was released.
It was his last hit picture. In addition to increasing infirmities from his increasing old age, he had lost a lung in to cancer and suffered a stroke in The stroke required Wayne to alter his speech pattern and speak out of the side of his mouth.
This pattern is especially noticeable in Coogburn and its predecessor, Brannigan. So how does the end result fare? If anything, the somewhat odd pairing with Hepburn did nothing but diminish any attraction a younger audience may have had for the film.
Even the score, here by Laurence Rosenthal, harkens back to an earlier picture. It bears more than a slight resemblance to the score from the much earlier Big Country. The plot seems to try to take the advanced age of the stars into account. Ignoring the fact that both Wayne especially were far to aged at the time to be appropriate for their roles, there are several surprisingly witty and self-deprecating comments sprinkled throughout.
In one of the better scenes of the picture of which there are few , Wayne is humorously mocked by Judge Parker, with whom he clearly has had a career-long relationship. How old are you? Shall we say it has already struck midnight? Throughout the picture, any scene with Richard Jordan is worth the price of admission. As the dastardly renegade Hawk, his self-labeled over the top performance steals the show. His remains a bright spot in an otherwise flat outing.
Incidentally, Jordan though Hepburn might drop dead at any moment during filming, though ironically she outlived him by many years.
As I mentioned above, the film is a westernized remake of the Bogart-Hepburn classic The African Queen- just substitute a western motif. They have some witty banter as they travel up the mountains and down again, only to float down the river on a raft in hot pursuit of Hawk and his cronies. There are hints of a potential romantic storyline between the two stars, but thankfully it is never really developed.
The nostalgic feel of the two iconic stars offsets the unoriginal script. Visited 3, times, 1 visits today.
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