This was filmed in Joe Friday's L.A, while Joe was on a fishing trip with Gannon. The music,especially in the hospital fight scene,sounds like it was lifted from a Bat Man episode. This is typical of the older Hollywood crowd (in this case AIP) trying to cash in on the "hip" sixties,with unintentionally hilarious results.The "hippies" all look like shoe clerks, whose wardrobe truck got mixed up with the Monkees TV Show. A few of them have long hair and beards, but they are dressed like they have a job interview at Radio Shack.The "protest" outside the bars is "totally realistic". The signs looked like they were painted as part of a six grade art project. There are a few generalized anti - war placards("Peace not War"), but nothing to suggest a Vietnam protest. The female police officer, who is carding the kids in the bar, looks like a London meter maid. I know I missed something, but why is the second in command of this L.A police unit British. Was he on loan from the Liverpool PD to show our cops how to handle "mods" and "rockers". All in all, a very amusing look at the "youth culture", through the eyes of the silent generation. Acting honors go to the LSD babe, who almost escapes a police raid, even though she can't walk three feet.My favorite line is from Aldo Ray (his finest hour). The police arrive in front of the party house with two marked patrol cars parked directly in front. Six cops, including four in uniform are standing in front of the house conversing for five minutes. Ray says, " We had better go inside, I think they spotted us."
I believe that this movie was a career killer for Stephen Boyd. He made a brief resurgence in Fantastic Voyage, but the die was cast after this epic.If you look at his career after making this film, you will definitely notice a downward spiral. In a few years he was doing TV pilots and well known turkeys like Slaves and Kill. In Hannie Caulder, he didn't even get a credit.The movie, itself, is so poorly written, cast and acted that it almost looks intentional. You keep thinking to yourself, this was a joke, right! Tony Bennett takes the acting honors as "Hymie" Kelly(they couldn't decide on an ethnic group, so they made him bi-ethnic), the heel's good buddy and stooge. The producers probably thought -- "Now here we have a popular Italian singer, with some real acting potential, This will do for him what From Here To Eternity did for Sinatra." All I remember is Bennett flailing his hands around and saying, "If you lie down with pigs, you wake up smelling like garbage." A nifty line, if I do say so, and quite original. Needless to say, Bennett went back to his vocals. The part that always makes me laugh is the ending, where the Oscar nominees competing with Frankie are announced. There is something with Richard Burton and Frank Sinatra. Then the last nominee is Burt Lancaster in the "Spanish Armada". Burt Lancaster in the "Spanish Armada". Sure sounds like an Oscar candidate to me.
Sure, it doesn't have a great plot line and there are more holes than a B-17 flying back from the ball bearing plant in Germany, but it is fun!It is as about as politically correct as a Klan meeting, and that is part of its charm. By 1967, Sinatra was already a magnificent anachronism. His world of of "ring a ding,ding",and "broads", martinis and captain's hats were longer hip or remotely cool. He still keeps trying, however. Just four years before, with Kennedy still in office, Tony Rome would have seemed like "Mr. Hip"', Daddio. By 1967, the glory days of the Rat Pack were over, the Beatles had taken over America along with their countrymen, we were deeply involved in Vietnam, American cities were burning, and drugs were everywhere. Timothy Leary was now cool to an entire generation of young Americans. Still,Sinatra is Sinatra. I am awfully glad he didn't pull up in a flower power VW Beetle, wearing long beads and a Nehru jacket.It must of been galling to him that he was no longer the hippest thing on two feet, however. His reaction seems to be to ignore the entire subculture. " Just a bunch of kids!".
Anyway, this is a fun movie! Shecky Greene, a former Sinatra favorite and later an outcast, is a bad guy. Richard Conte, a Sinatra pal, plays his pal in the movie.Rocky Graziano is in it. And let's not forget one of the all time babes, Jill St. John. They could have forgotten the plot and had her steal bikinis all day, by trying them on and wearing them out of the store. Normally I would rate this movie a four or a five, just based on the acting on the script. It gets two extra points for Jill St. John's bathing suit!
"He has been compared to Marlin Brando, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino"
The above quote was from a old trailer, which ran incessantly on TV, plugging the first " Rocky" movie, which was truly excellent. It refers, of course, to our hero, "Nick Martinelli", aka Sylvester Stallone. Whether a series of "Nick Martinelli" films, ala "Rocky" and "Rambo", was planned I do not know. I imagine that the various Italian American image organizations would have bridled at the thought, since this character did for Italians in this country what Steppin Fechitt accomplished for black people. They should have put together a trailer for this film stating, "He has been compared to Shemp Howard, Pinky Lee, and Rags Raglan." When Dolly Parton takes the acting honors in a film that you appear in, Sylvester, then the Marlin Brando comparisons were probably premature. There are two types of really bad movies, and it is really not fair to mix them together. Movies like "Manos" and the "Roller Blade Seven" are pure garbage, and they were intended to be. The filmmakers had no money, no talent and no discernible script (or the ability to obtain one)to work with. They produced a piece of trash. It is inevitable, like night follows day. The people who rent the tape or CD know it's junk. Their friends even tell them that it's miserable nonsense before they see it. They don't care. It's like sticking your tongue into a cavity. Your going to do it anyway; you don't care if it hurts. That's what makes this type of bad movie much worse-- Somebiody was trying to make this good!! They had so-called "Big Name, High Profile" talent, a large budget to work with, and I presume competent script writers and directors. Didn't anybody actually look at the "rushes" of this film, or did Stallone's STAR power intimidate everybody.One look at he scene where Stallone is singing (horribly) and bobbing up and down in that Reservation Indian hat should have been enough to stop the whole project in its tracks."Lets start over. I think we can work up a new plot line where the rednecks push the city kid too far. They try to bath him and give him a short haircut. He escapes to his taxi and starts to run everybody over. He makes it to the singing engagement just in time to see Dolly get raped by her manager. He kills him and blows up the whole town. Richard Crenna is a country record promoter and he flies in from Nashville to extract Nick. A little similar to something else, but it will work." "He has been compared to Hugh O'Brien, Sonny Tufts and Morgan Fairchild."
To echo what another commentator said, this was real football. No cell phone celebrations in the end zone, no agents who held their players out of camp,no players moving to five different teams in five seasons (like Seinfeld says "Your rooting for the laundry"}, only real football by real football players. The big money, free agency and showboating have ruined the sport.These guys played together for 6 or 7 seasons and knew each other well. It shows in every scene. There was real veteran leadership, and real veteran depth on these ball clubs.
The action, on camera anyway, must be the 1967 season, because thats the year Roger Brown was traded to the Rams to complete the final version of the "Fearsome Foursome". This is mentioned in the film. The Lions did not have a good season that year. Their once proud defense, of which Coach Joe Schmitt was a key element at MLB, was unraveling and their offense (especially at QB) was never that efficient to begin with. Another important footnote is that Lem Barney, seen singing his alma mater in the film, was defensive rookie of the year in 1967. Mel Farr, the rookie running back seen in several scenes, was the offensive rookie of the year.That is the only time this has ever happened in NFL history. Despite this infusion of new talent,the Lions only finished third in the Central Division, with a record of 5-7-2. Ironically, it was Vince Lombardi's Packers (Lombardi initially rejects Plimpton's offer to cover the team in the film)who would win the division, their third straight NFL title and the Super Bowl.
Alda is OK as Plimpton, but an approximation of the real George Plimpton would have been much funnier. Plimpton had that upper crust Havard accent, which the players liked to mock. ""Forrrty Fouurrr"!! Somebody talking like that among a bunch of football players would have been a scream. I think the non-professional football actors did a wonderful job in this one.Karras showed real acting ability, and John Gordy and Pat Studstill came off like pros. Even Mike Lucci was very effective as the "villian" of the training camp. Joe Schmitt played himself without the self consciousness of most non professional actors. In all, this movie was not only very amusing, but a real look at the guts of pro football during its golden age.
There is something quite entertaining about this movie, but I can't totally figure out what it is. It is certainly better than other Elvis vehicles, and I like the music. The psycho babe is about one step away from a mad slasher movie. I really wouldn't be surprise if she cut Elvis's legs off after drugging him for several days. After all, she does sic her vicious Great Dane on him and drive him into the ocean. Real light hearted and zany, wouldn't you say? She then gets him evicted and takes all of his possessions.She is obviously as loose sexually as a shovel full of peas. She even carries on with the goofy old milkman, for God's sake. Elvis gets a little wacky from mere contact with her. He apparently wants nothing to do with her, but gleefully moves in with her and socks Dick Sargeant for kissing her.I think I am trying to apply some logic to this plot and that in itself is very silly. The dog, by the way, takes top acting honors.
The funniest thing about this entire film is the bedroom scene. Here is the King Stud of his generation lying next to a beautiful nymphet, who wants him badly, and there is a board between them. The Puritan's in New England live! Who would actually believe this? In real life that mattress would be screaming for mercy.
Having said all of this, I do find this movie enjoyable. I really liked the attempt to bring Elvis into the Woodstock generation, with some colored lights and a guy dressed as a GreatDane.Of course, Elvis winds up with this whack-job at the end. I am not sure we ever really find out what her real name is, or her real marital status. The delivery boy, the milkman and her semi-gay ex will all be disappointed.