In the years immediately following the Civil War, seven Texas cattleman, led by Col. John McElroy (Brian Keith), try to drive their cattle into Missouri. The terrains proves treacherous and the local Pawnees refuse to allow the cattlemen to pass through their land without paying a hefty fee for the right. McElroy and his followers go to Fort Hays and demands that the local railroad magnate, Huntingon Lawford (Addison Richards), extend his line into Texas. When both Lawford and martinet Calvary officer Capt. Benton (Alfred Ryder) refuse to help, McElroy and his man start sabotaging the railroad’s western expansion.
This brings them into conflict with Wild Bill Hickok (Robert Culp), Buffalo Bill Cody (Jim McMullan), and Calamity Jane (Judi Meredith), all of whom are working for the railroad! Hickok is an old friend of McElroy’s and Cody is sympathetic to McElroy’s cause but will they be able to broker a peace between the two sides? When Captain Benton plans to lure McElroy into a trap where he and his friends will fired on with a Gatling gun, it’s up to Cody and Hickok to try to prevent a massacre.
The Raiders starts out as a downbeat look at a cattle drive in the years when America was still trying to rebuild from the devastation of the Civil War. Brian Keith was one of those actors who was always ideally cast in westerns and war movies and he’s convincing as the tough but fair-minded McElroy. If the film had just been about McElroy, it would have been a good B-western. Instead, it brings heavily fictionalized versions of Wild Bill Hickock, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Calamity Jane into the story. Robert Culp, Jim McMullan, and especially Judi Meredith all overact in their roles and a lot of time is wasted on subplots like Calamity Janes being in love with Wild Bill and Buffalo Bill trying to prove himself to the older man.
The Raiders started out as a made-for-TV movie and it appears that it was a pilot for a proposed TV show about Calamity Jane and the Bills. (Brian Keith is even listed in the credits as being a “special guest star.”) When the pilot wasn’t picked up, the film was given a theatrical release but The Raiders still has the flat look and unimaginative editing of a television show. No matter how authentic Brian Keith’s performance might be, he can’t make up for the fact that the majority of the film was clearly shot on a studio backlot.
In Brave Bear, you are a teddy bear. In the tradition of Toy Story, you can walk and communicate with all of the other toys and devices in the house. The game is short and simple. You are walking around the house. In each room, there is a dark phantom (each representing things like insecurity and depression) that you must defeat in order to continue on your way. Some of the phantoms you can defeat on your own because you’re a brave bear. Others are going to require you to make friends and get help from the other toys in the house.
It’s a cute game, ideal for it you’re looking for something that you can play quickly. There are puzzles and puzzles are traditionally my downfall but, for once, I was able to solve most of them on my own. And if you do find yourself stuck, there’s a walk-through. It’s a simple game but who doesn’t like a brave bear?
A graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology, Jack Rickard was most famous for his work in the advertising industry and his later work for MAD Magazine. However, in between working on ads and working for MAD, Rickard also did the covers for several pulp magazines and paperback publishers. Below is a small sampling of Jack Rickard’s pulp artwork. I particularly like his cover for The Pagans.
In honor of what would have been Charles Bronson’s 100th birthday, today’s blast from the past is an episode of the old 1960s anthology series, One Step Beyond. The gimmick with this show was that every story was said to be based on fact, no matter how outlandish or improbable the story may be.
In this episode from 1961, Charles Bronson stars as Yank Dawson, an aging boxer who finds himself in haunted auditorium in England during World War II. Bronson was 39 years old when he starred as Yank Dawson and he gives a good performance. The role makes good use of both Bronson’s imposing physicality and also the smoldering anger that would eventually make Bronson a star in both Europe and, later, the United States.
The episode below first aired on January 10th, 1961.
4 Or More Shots From 4 Or More Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!
Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of an actor who is very popular here at the Shattered Lens, Charles Bronson! In honor of the momentous occasion, we now pay tribute to the one and only Bronson with….
4 Shots From 4 Charles Bronson Films
Death Wish (1974, dir by Michael Winner, DP: Arthur Ormitz)
Mr. Majestyk (1974, dir by Richard Fleischer DP: Richard Kline)
Breakheart Pass (1975, dir by Tom Gries, DP: Lucien Ballard)
10 To Midnight (1983, dir by J. Lee Thompson, DP: Adam Greenberg)
On August 1st, 1981, MTV premiered. Over the course of 24 hours, 116 unique music videos were played on MTV. Yes, there was a time when the M actually did stand for music.
The 99th video to premiere on MTV was the video for Elvis Costello’s cover of (What’s So Funny Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding. The song was originally written by Nick Lowe and performed by Lowe with his band, Benny Schwartz. Though the original version didn’t chart, Costello’s cover became one of his first big hits. It’s one of the songs that’s still most associated with Costello. Interestingly, on a day that was dominated by repeated airings of videos from Rod Stewart and REO Speedwagon, the video for Costello’s biggest hit was only aired once.
The video was directed by Chuck Statler, who was responsible for many of Costello’s early videos.