In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_focus_ver2

Focus

Like Ficarra and Requa’s 2011 comedy Crazy Stupid Love, Focus begins promisingly and bops along enjoyably for a while, only to run out of steam…

Thumb_maps_to_the_stars_ver8

Maps to the Stars

David Cronenberg's film of Bruce Wagner's Hollywood satire-nightmare turns ludicrous situations into operatic tragedy.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Chaz's Blog Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

Hellfighters

  |  

Out in front of the Roosevelt Theater there's a big photo of John Wayne and this quote, attributed to him: "I've made a lot of action pictures but never one as exciting as this." I doubt that Wayne volunteered this information; it sounds more like a studio publicity idea.

The fact is, Wayne has made a lot of action pictures, and over the years he has gotten to be about as good at it as anybody. He must have been miserable during the filming of "Hellfighters," which is a slow moving, talkative, badly plotted bore.

The basic premise was promising: Wayne, who has played about every other sort of man of action, would be an oil-well fighter this time. That could have been fascinating if the film had really gotten into the techniques of his occupation.

Instead, there's a ridiculous story involving Wayne's wife (Vera Miles), who left him because she couldn't stand the worry, and his daughter (Katharine Ross), who marries his partner and insists on coming along to all the fires. Most of the action consists of everybody standing around telling the women they don't belong in a place like this. My theory is you should either leave women out of action pictures or give them something to do.

The film is a disaster for Miss Ross. In "The Graduate" she was beautiful, subtle and a great actress. Universal, which has her under contract, should have looked around for another suitable role. Instead, they dumped her into a routine potboiler, gave her the sort of dialog "The Graduate" satirized, married her to a dull, transparent Clod (Jim Hutton) and cut off her hair.

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

“Evil Against Evil”: The Fascinating Incoherence of American Sniper

On how Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper" examines evil.

Now, "Voyager": in praise of the Trekkiest "Trek" of all

As we mourn Abrams’ macho Star Trek obliteration, it’s a good time to revisit that most Star Trek-ian of accomplishme...

Observations of an Awards Season Skeptic, Part 4: Green Card Blues

Glenn Kenny comments on awards season, Sean Penn, Neil Patrick Harris, and the actual Oscars.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus