A Movie A Day #127: Brass Target (1978, directed by John Hough)


Everything’s a conspiracy!

At least, that is the claim made by Brass Target, a twisty and unnecessarily complicated thriller that argues that General George S. Patton (played here by George Kennedy, who is even more blustery than usual in the role) did not, as widely believed, die as the result of a car accident but was actually killed by an assassin using rubber bullets.  Why was Patton targeted for assassination?  Was he targeted by Nazis angered by Germany’s defeat or maybe Russians who knew that Patton had argued in favor of invading the Soviet Union towards the end of the war?  Would you believe it was all because Patton was investigating the theft of Nazi gold and his subordinates, the flamboyantly gay Colonel Donald Rogers (Robert Vaughn) and Rogers’s always worried lover, Colonel Walter Gilchrist (Edward Herrmann), were fearful that he was getting too close to discovering the truth?

John Cassevetes, who hopefully used part of his paycheck to fund either The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Opening Night, or Gloria, plays Joe De Lucca, the burned out OSS colonel who is assigned to track down the Nazi gold but who really just wants to go back home to New York.  Patrick McGoohan, sporting an accent that is supposed to be American, plays De Lucca’s former friend and colleague, Colonel Mike McCauley, who now lives in a German castle.  Max von Sydow is the assassin, who also has a day job as the chairman of a refugee relocation committee.  Sophia Loren plays Mara, a Polish war refugee who, by pure coincidence, has slept with not just De Lucca but almost everyone involved with the conspiracy.  Bruce Davison is the young colonel who acts as Du Lucca’s supervisor.  Even Charles “Lucky” Luciano (played by the very British Lee Montague) is featured as a minor part of the conspiracy.

That is an impressive cast for a less than impressive movie.  Brass Target never provides a convincing reason as to why the conspirators would decide that killing Patton was their only option and, once the conspiracy gets underway and the movie starts to follow around Von Sydow for some Day of the Jackal/Black Sunday-style preparation scenes, the search for the Nazi gold is forgotten.  For some reason, though, I have a soft spot for this frequently ridiculous movie.  There are enough weird moments and details, like Vaughn’s twitchy performance, McGoohan’s accent, the way Kennedy blusters about the Russians being rude to him, and glamorous Sophia Loren’s miscasting, that Brass Target is always watchable even if it is never exactly good.

2014 In Review: Lisa’s Top 10 Non-fiction Books of 2014


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I should admit that the title of this post is misleading.  While it is true that listed below are 10 of my favorite non-fiction books of 2014, I’ve specifically limited my picks to books that dealt with entertainment, pop culture, and the creative process.  With that in mind, here are my 10 favorite non-fiction books of 2014:

(And yes, you should read everyone of them.)

  1. Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: My Life As A Fairy Tale by Sophia Loren
  2. Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War by Mark Harris
  3. Life In Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland
  4. Werner Herzog: A Guide for the Perplexed by Paul Cronin
  5. My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff
  6. The Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller
  7. Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William J. Mann
  8. Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Sex, Deviance, and Drama From the Golden Age of American Cinema by Anne Helen Petersen
  9. As You Wish by Cary Elwes
  10. Heavy Metal Movies by Mike McPadden

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Tomorrow, I conclude my look back at the previous year with the list that everyone has been waiting for: my 26 top films of 2014!

Previous Entries In TSL’s Look Back At 2014

  1. 2014 In Review: Things Dork Geekus Dug In 2014 Off The Top Of His Head
  2. 2014 In Review: The Best Of Lifetime and SyFy
  3. 2014 In Review: Lisa’s Picks For The 16 Worst Films Of 2014
  4. 2014 In Review: 14 Of Lisa’s Favorite Songs Of 2014
  5. 2014 In Review: Necromoonyeti’s Top 10 Metal Albums of 2014
  6. 2014 In Review: 20 Good Things Lisa Saw On TV In 2014
  7. 2014 In Review: Pantsukudasai56’s Pick For The Best Anime of 2014
  8. 2014 in Reivew: Lisa’s 20 Favorite Novels of 2014