The Sons of Katie Elder

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

James Coburn

Tall, lanky, and as smooth on-screen as just about any movie star I can think of. A supporting player on TV shows and movies in the 1950s, James Coburn's star began to shine very bright in the 1960s as more prominent roles came his way. Able to play a hero or a villain, he is one of the more versatile actors to work in film. Click on the movie title for the full reviews.

Major Dundee (1965): A must-see western for fans of Sam Peckinpah. Almost a dry run for The Wild Bunch, this story of Union cavalry, Confederate P.O.W.'s and a ragtag group of volunteers pursuing an Apache war party is a mess of a movie, but a damn entertaining one. Charlton Heston and Richard Harris star with Coburn in scene-stealing mode as one-armed scout Samuel Potts. Also look for Senta Berger, Jim Hutton, Slim Pickens, Ben Johnson, Brock Peters, Dub Taylor, L.Q. Jones, Michael Anderson Jr., Mario Adorf and Warren Oates.

The Magnificent Seven (1960): Probably my favorite western of all-time, definitely top three. A group of hired guns -- Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Coburn, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, Horst Bucholz -- sign on to protect a poor Mexican village from bandits (led by Eli Wallach). From the action to Elmer Bernstein's instantly recognizable score, I love everything about this western.

Waterhole #3 (1967): Just an odd western, and not in a good way. Broad, bawdy physical humor and a bizarre subplot that has a girl being raped and falling in love with the "hero" (Coburn) is too much for words. Horrifically dark humor aside Coburn, Carol O'Connor, Claude Akins, James Whitmore, and Bruce Dern make it watchable if not particularly good.

 Hard Times (1975): From director Walter Hill, maybe one of the all-time great underappreciated "guy" movies. Charles Bronson is Chaney, a bare-knuckle street fighter working in the deep South during the Depression. Coburn plays his handler/manager/promoter, Speed, with Strother Martin and Jill Ireland playing supporting parts. Brutal, nasty fights, and a great movie.

The Great Escape (1963): Coburn showing he once again can stand out from an ensemble in this true story from WWII. Coburn, Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, James Donald, John Leyton, Donald Pleasence lead one of the great tough guy casts ever, prisoners of war desperately trying to lead a mass escape from a German P.O.W. camp. My all-time favorite movie.

Hell is For Heroes (1962): A WWII movie ahead of its time in terms of showing the brutality and viciousness of war. Coburn joins Steve McQueen, Fess Parker, Harry Guardino, Bobby Darren, Bob Newhart, Mike Kellin and Nick Adams in the story of an undermanned infantry platoon ordered to hold part of the line designated for a full company. An underrated gem for WWII fans.

Ride Lonesome (1959): Even with a supporting part, Coburn shows what he is capable of as an actor. A Randolph Scott-Budd Boetticher western with a solid, straightforward good vs. bad stor and a great cast that includes James Best, Pernell Roberts and Lee Van Cleef.

The Internecine Project (1974): A twisting, winding story with a great gimmick. Coburns plays the master organizer of a series of hits/murders, coordinating them all from his office with just a phone and a checklist.

Charade (1963): Perfect casting, enjoyable and entertaining story, great backdrop, and just a fun movie to watch. Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn star in this quasi-espionage thriller from director Stanely Donen that also features Coburn, Walter Matthau, and George Kennedy.

No comments:

Post a Comment