The Chain!

We’ve been thinking for a while that it would be fun to do something that isn’t exactly a competition but that gets our members talking about film and sharing their thoughts. A bit like the long-running Mark Radcliffe radio slot, “The Chain” only with film instead of music.

Watched Howard Hawks’ “El Dorado” last night with a friend – one of those “talk along with the film” times you can share with a really good friend, the right kind of film, and a bottle of wine. Westerns are pretty good for that anyway with their good vs evil themes, those gorgeous hot colours and nearly always an element of pastiche, especially in the Hawks series with John Wayne.

This one is almost slapstick with a drunken Robert Mitchum, a wounded but stoic John Wayne, James Caan as the young blade who can’t shoot straight and a sexy tomboy with big hair (Michele Carey, rarely seen again) as catalyst. The female characters are paper thin and would never pass the Bechdel test but then this is a Howard Hawks western and a classic buddy movie with stereotypes galore.

We were fascinated by the clothes in El Dorado. Aside from amazement at James Caan’s skintight black leather top, almost fetish wear, we were wondering what on earth Robert Mitchum could had done to annoy Edith Head to end up in the most horrible chamois jerkin and bouffy 60s shirt. It’s so horrible that I can’t find any stills, but the poor man looks like a mediaeval serf.

But back to the film, and the Chain idea – as many of you will know, El Dorado was Howard Hawks’ remake of his own earlier film “Rio Bravo” – itself a response to “High Noon” – and later developed further into “Rio Lobo”. John Carpenter’s “Assault on Precinct 13” was inspired by the “bunch of losers holding out in the county jail” story, and there are doubtless many others that have drawn from that theme. You don’t have to be a film historian to play this game, just someone who likes watching films and knowing a little bit about them here and there.

So…..just for a kick off, Robert Mitchum also starred in the 1962 drama “Cape Fear”.

What connections can you make – as obvious or as far flung as you like – to other films from this?

Just have a go. Let’s see where it takes us….maybe it’ll lead to some ideas for new films to show too (not that we are ever short of those)…so come on, play The Movie Chain!



3 Comments Add yours

  1. Mike Atkins says:

    The remake of Cape Fear had Robert De Niro as the Mitchum character and amongst many highs and quite a few lows my favourite De Niro performance was as a vigilante heating engineer Archibald “Harry” Tuttle (not Buttle) in Gilliam’s brilliant Brazil. If that doesn’t get the connections juices flowing nothing will.

  2. Marvellous. Thank you Mike! We’ll happily run with that. Have recently had the discussion about where we’d show Brazil in an ideal world, and “Transform” cosmetic surgery clinic seemed the perfect spot. With a simultaneous screening at the local government offices at Redvers House…

  3. Mike Atkins says:

    There’s quit a few places could pass for the Ministry of Information – some with similar names and purpose, but I like your thinking – as usual. Been humming and whistling that tune all day now. Customers are under the false impression I’m a happy soul!

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