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Author Topic: Blowing Wild  (Read 5534 times)
Juan Miranda
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« on: May 02, 2007, 07:01:27 PM »

Caught this curiosity today, which I'd never heard of before. A peculiar mix of Tex-Mex Western and Film Noir, with giant plot wedges carved straight out of THE TERASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (made five years earlier), and not as the title suggests, a tawdry 1970's porn film.

Gary Cooper, Ward Bond and Anthony Quinn are all south of the border, down Mexico way. Cooper and Bond re-enact the opening third of TREASURE, sinking all their money into a destroyed business, ending up penniless and (in Bond's case) begging money from “a fellow American”, ultimately taking a hazardous job and almost being cheated out of their wages. Cue a TREASURE style bar-room brawl with the welshing employer. So far, so dreadfully familiar.

The pair suddenly stumble across Quinn, an old compadre from the past. The three men have been in search of oil riches all these years, and it turns out that Quinn has indeed hit black gold and struck it rich. Appropriate to the colour of oil, this is where the Noir begins. The trouble is he is married to the woman from Gary Cooper's past, the grasping, dead eyed Barbara Stanwyck .

Chuck a "Gold Hat" style bandito into the Mex Mix, determined to wring every cent he can from Quinn in extortion money or else he will blow up his hard won oil wells, and an explosive shuffle of allegiances ensues. Not so much a good, bad and ugly as the good (Cooper) the damaged (Bond) and the defeated (Quinn). Love, or rather lust, is the defining factor determining the fate of the three companieros here, with Bond and Cooper forming the classic dominant man/asexual man partnership (indeed Bond ends up physically crippled) of the Western, and Quinn/Cooper making up the typical Noir male rivalry for the same woman, with one man oblivious to the attraction until it's too late.



The film is packed with images of a neurotic and near hysteric landscape of phallic oil wells pumping up wealth and desire (weird pre-cursers of WRITTEN ON THE WIND and TOUCH OF EVIL), and a further Noir touch is added with a romantic sub-plot between the ancient Cooper and young enough to be his daughter Ruth Roman, ripped straight from TO HAVE AND TO HAVE NOT. Today this mish-mash of blatantly stolen plots and styles make the film seem almost Post Modern. It's certainly a major curio, and worth watching just for Barbara Stanwyck alone. She invests more energy into her role than the material deserves, exuding extraordinary energy and presence even in moments when she stands perfectly still. Quinn, too, who would give his greatest ever performance the following year in Fellini's LA STRADA is incredible as the former tough guy, grown childish, bewildered, soft and even cowardly by his Capitalist success. Cooper, who had won his second Oscar the year before for HIGH NOON is quite poor here, possibly due to illness, or even lack of interest in the material?

Despite it's over familiar opening and truly awful, constantly intrusive narrative song by Frankie Laine, this is well worth searching for. A quick look at the crew benind it reveals a pretty much B director and cinematographer, but who do we see as screenwriter? Philip Yordan, who also wrote the eternally controversial JOHNNY GUITAR the next year, as well as the equally sexually charged THE NAKED JUNGLE, THE BIG COMBO and the equally Freudian THE MAN FROM LARAMIE. Clearly Yordan was the real autuer of this picture.


« Last Edit: May 02, 2007, 07:40:10 PM by Juan Miranda » Logged

titoli
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« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2007, 03:20:40 PM »

Gosh, by the title alone I thought it was a porn...

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2007, 04:03:19 PM »

Juan, thanks for the find and the great review. You have certainly piqued my interest. Afro Afro Afro

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Juan Miranda
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« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2007, 04:18:19 PM »

Thank's for reading guys. The picture definitely has something, as I was still thinking about it today. Another strange plot lift seems to have been from Cluzot's WAGES OF FEAR, as Cooper and Bond have to make a dangerous journy in a truck carrying nitro.

However, as both films have 1953 as their release dates, was this just a strange coincidence (I see that Cluzot's film wasn't released in the US until 1955)?

« Last Edit: May 03, 2007, 04:20:41 PM by Juan Miranda » Logged

dave jenkins
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« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2007, 04:25:56 PM »

Well, the novel came out in 1950; I don't know how quickly it was translated but it sold 2 million copies worldwide and probably was on the desk of every producer in Hollywood.

Funny, while I was reading your review, even though you were drawing comparisons with Sierra Madre, I kept thinking about The Wages of Fear. Weird.

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Juan Miranda
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« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2007, 04:34:24 PM »

Well, the novel came out in 1950

Ah-ha!

That is odd that you were thinking of WAGES OF FEAR...  Shocked

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cigar joe
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« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2007, 05:11:03 PM »

Sounds Great.

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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2007, 06:47:26 PM »

Sounds good, but the title's horrible.

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Juan Miranda
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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2007, 06:51:56 PM »

It's almost begging to have the "g" dropped. Even then, BLOWIN' WILD would still be a terrible title.

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cigar joe
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« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2007, 09:30:40 PM »

What did you catch it on?

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Juan Miranda
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« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2007, 05:24:05 AM »

What did you catch it on?

It was on TV one afternoon. It seemed like such a blatent rip off of TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE that I was about to stop watching it and go out. As soon as Quinn and Stanwyck showed up though, I was hooked.

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