The Sons of Katie Elder

The Sons of Katie Elder
"First, we reunite, then find Ma and Pa's killer...then read some reviews."

Anthony Quinn

A Mexican-born actor, Anthony Quinn was another screen chameleon. He could play different nationalities and ethnicities with ease, starting off as a background, supporting player, then rising to fame in the 1950s. A huge presence on-screen no matter who he starred with, Quinn was an actor who was just fun to watch, something that gets lost along the way sometimes. Click on the movie titles for the full reviews.

The Guns of Navarone (1961): The ultimate men on a mission movie, Quinn joining a group of WWII commandos assigned a suicidal mission on a small island in the Mediterranean. Quinn is a scene-stealer as Andrea Stavros, a Greek officer who's worked with the resistance. The cast also includes Gregory Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quayle, James Darren, Stanley Baker and Irene Pappas. One of the all-time great, entertaining war flicks.

Viva Zapata! (1952): A biography based in the Mexican Revolution with an interesting choice in casting.....Marlon Brandon is Emiliano Zapata? Go figure, but it works, Quinn earning an Oscar nomination in a supporting role as Zapata's brother. A little rushed at times -- covering 20-plus years in 2 hours -- but a beautiful movie from director Elia Kazan with memorable performances from Brandon, Quinn and mysterious Joseph Wiseman.

Guadalcanal Diary (1943): A good example of a 'unit picture,' a story that follows a group of men (squad, platoon, regiment, division) through their war-time efforts. Quinn is one of the group, a Latino ladies man, trying to survive the hellish situations during the battle for Guadalcanal early in WWII. Richard Conte, Richard Jaeckel, scene-stealing William Bendix, Lloyd Nolan, and Preston Foster fill out the ranks.

R.P.M. (1970): I appreciate the 1960s/1970s were a time of social upheaval, but this pretentious, talkative current issues movie is downright dull. Quinn plays a popular professor (alliteration, yeah!) at an unnamed university where the student body is holding a protest gaining national attention. It doesn't know quite what it wants to say, and it's painful at times going along for the ride.

La Strada (1954): A neorealist drama from Italian director Federico Fellini that features a great -- if unlikable -- performance from Quinn. A movie that should be watched more than it entertains, it is dark, realistic, and did I mention dark? A difficult movie.

Tycoon (1947): An RKO movie with John Wayne and Quinn, a little too long in the tooth. Wayne is solid in a somewhat atypical role for him (an over-reliance on a love story doesn't help), Quinn, Paul Fix and several other familiar faces filling out Wayne's team as they try and create a railroad tunnel straight through a South American mountain. A pretty movie to look at, but not anyone's strongest ventures.

Warlock (1959): Pretty typical of so many 1950s westerns. Very good in the moment, not particularly memorable down the road. Great cast -- Quinn, Henry Fonda, Richard Widmark -- leads the way, but as the western genre was changing, the movies were trying to figure out where to go too. A more adult, darker story, but it ends up being a tad melodramatic at times. Still a pretty good western and one worth seeking out.

Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962): One of the great, under-appreciated sports films. Quinn plays Luis 'Mountain' Rivera, an aging, past-his-prime boxer at a career crossroad. Jackie Gleason is his semi-sleazy manager, Mickey Rooney playing his cut-man, an Army vet struggling with his own issues. Not even 90 minutes, this is a short and sweet, to the point sort of movie. Definitely need to give this one a rewatch.

Across 110th Street (1972): An aggressive, dark, gritty cop drama that doesn't shy away from any hard-hitting issues. Quinn and Yaphet Kotto are two NYC detectives investigating a series of mob-related murders, possibly a connection between the Italian mobsters and a group of African American gangsters. A very real movie filmed on location in New York City, well worth a watch.

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