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article image40 years on, Malcolm McDowell & 'A Clockwork Orange' remain icons Special

By Earl Dittman     Jun 5, 2011 in Entertainment
To celebrate its 40th Anniversary, leading "droog" Malcolm McDowell recalls the filming of the more notorious scenes in 'A Clockwork Orange' (on Blu-ray & DVD), what it was like working with Kubrick and how he feels about acting since a classic.
The 1968 big screen debut of Malcolm McDowell (the Leeds-born Malcolm John Taylor), would be in the Lindsay Anderson-directed If, a film which would make him an instant box office star in his native England and most of the European continent. However, just three years later in 1971, director Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Anthony Burgess' futuristic novel A Clockwork Orange would transform McDowell into an international movie star, Kubrick into one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century and A Clockwork Orange into a celluloid masterwork. Praised in many countries and banned in just as many others, A Clockwork Orange (rated X at the time of its release) would evoke strong reactions from anyone and everyone who viewed it.
A Clockwork Orange is a darkly humorous, futuristic look into how the British government tried attempt to stop rampant juvenile delinquency. When Alex DeLarge (McDowell) is in danger of going to prison for many years for savagely murdering a woman in the presence of her scientific husband, instead, the former "droogie" decides to trim time off of his sentence by volunteering for a government developed aversion therapy program that should cure Alex of his need for crime and sex. The program, however, has some very interesting flaws and side effects for Alex. With the screenplay also written by Kubrick (Burgess was rumored to be on the London film sets most of the time), A Clockwork Orange was called everything from the "death of cinema" to "the rebirth of the film classic." It won the New York Critics Best Picture and was nominated for four Academy Awards, including one for Best Picture.
Malcolm McDowell in  A Clockwork Orange
Malcolm McDowell in 'A Clockwork Orange'
Warner Bros
The success and controversy surrounding the film would turn McDowell into an actor who is still very much in demand (he has made close to 200 films and TV shows since 1971). Stanley Kubrick -- the filmmaker behind such previous films as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dr. Strangelove, Lolita, to name a few -- would become a reclusive filmmaker that would make only four more films before his death in 1999 (Barry Lyndon, Full Metal Jacket, The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut.) While no one will ever forget, Kubrick, the directorial genius behind A Clockwork Orange and McDowell’s award-deserving performance as Alex, its 4oth birthday couldn't go unnoticed. To celebrate it’s 40th Anniversary, the ever-busy Malcolm McDowell (currently appearing on the hilarious legal TNT series Franklin and Bash) sat down to recall the making of A Clockwork Orange, the dissection of several classic scenes, his time with Kubrick and Burgess and if he and Kubrick ever became great friends post-1971.
Looking back, 40 years after making A Clockwork Orange with director Stanley Kubrick, what kind of perspectives do you have towards on the filmmaker?
"Many, many white hairs later... (laughs) You know, it’s a bit like, a sort of long lost member of the family. And occasionally, there are anniversaries, that this long lost relation turns up at. And this is the big one, because it’s forty years. And I hope I’m around for the fiftieth! But it's hard really, to be concise about it, because it’s such an extraordinary film in many ways. And making the film was a very different feeling of course, than what I have now. Because when I was making it I knew it was good, I knew the work was really good. But I didn’t know how good. I certainly didn’t realize it was going to be iconic in status. Which it's sort of become. It's become bigger than any of us."
Most of the people involved with the film felt A Clockwork Orange thought it had the potential to become a cinematic classic.
"I know (novelist) Anthony Burgess had no idea when he wrote the book. Let’s face it, it’s Burgess’ great masterwork. And it’s an incredible book. And of course, Kubrick was the right man to make it an incredible film, because the book is so dense in a way that you really needed a brilliant editor to get to what it’s really about. And I think Stanley did an incredible job."
The Korova Milkbar in  A Clockwork Orange
The Korova Milkbar in 'A Clockwork Orange'
Warner Bros
Were you speeding any time off either with Stanley or Burgess when the film came out?
"In fact, I was with Burgess when the film opened. When he’d first saw it, before he’d had time to change his story. But at first his reaction was, 'It’s absolutely brilliant. It’s one of the best films I have ever seen from a book.' So that’s what his initial reaction was. And I think later on, when he wasn’t paid anything, not that he was entitled to it, I think he felt that the movie was making so much money that someone should have given him a check. Which, you could argue, that they should have done."
Did the portraying the role of Alex take a physical toll on you?
"Yes, it did. In fact, one of the sparks, you know the electricians, he said, 'Hey Malc, I think he’s trying to kill you.' But he was serious. I went, 'Really?' I think that actually was very much his attitude, basically. And I didn’t really mind doing it in the end, because I knew it was a good cause. (laughs) And I knew that the film was going to be extraordinary in many ways, simply because of my own stuff, because I was in practically every frame of it. So as an actor, I was doing things that I had only dreamed of. Because I’m from a country where acting is taken very seriously, it’s a very serious profession. It’s not just a cosmetic thing like, 'You look right, you’re fine.' You know, you are trained, although I wasn’t -- or you do your apprenticeship on the stage in repertory theater in one of the big companies like the Royal Shakespeare Company. Which I did, and all that. So when it came to doing films they were relatively easy, in a sense, in that I didn’t have to carry a play, which is hard work."
How was it like filming the notorious "eye scene" -- where you had had to keep your eye-balls held open by those little metal openers?
"I trusted the doctor. Actually, he showed me a picture of this patient with these lid locks, which is what they’re called. And Stanley showed me a picture of it. And I went, 'Oh yes. Very nice, look at that.' And he was, 'No. I want you to do that.' 'How can I possibly do that? The guy’s got these things stuck in his eyes.' I said, 'No actor’s going to do that.' And he goes, 'Oh yeah, I know you can do it.' And I went, 'No way. How could I do that? Well, I’ve got this doctor and he’s coming in to talk to you.' And I went, 'Uh!' So this doctor comes in and he’s this young guy. He’s the guy in the movie. Some young doctor from this eye hospital in London. And it’s a great hospital. Anyway, he comes in and goes, 'There’s really no problem, Malcolm. We do delicate eye operations every day and we always use these lid locks. I said, really. Oh, okay. Of course what I didn’t realize, is that I’m sitting up looking at a video. And most of the patients are lying flat on an operating table."
Malcolm McDowell in  A Clockwork Orange
Malcolm McDowell in 'A Clockwork Orange'
Warner Bros
What was the operation actually like for you to go through?
"When the fateful day came, I’m also in a strait jacket with straps and things on my head, and I’ve got to play the scene. I can only take it for ten minutes. So it’s ten minutes, we do the take, and it’s over. So Kubrick walks down just before the take and he says to the other actor to ask me, 'How are you doing today little Alex?' And then he walks back up. And, we were in front of the screen and he walks back up to where the cameras are about thirty feet away. So, the doctor’s there going, 'Oh what’s your name again? and I go, 'Doc. Who cares! Just say, how you doing? Just get the drops in.' And I’m sitting there, tapping with my foot, how many seconds were going by. I’m trying to play the scene and at one point I went, 'Doc, get the things.' So it was a bit like that. Eventually, he did get the line out. And we did get the scene, which went very well."
Are there mental consequences to being linked to such an iconic character for four decades?
"No, not really. But he was a young man. I couldn’t have done it when I was thirty-five. I would be playing the doctor. So, no. Listen, I came out of the traps, as they say, fast. I was cast in A Clockwork Orange because of that performance. Basically, I just met with Stanley to have a chat, and he gave me the book. And that was my audition, as far as I knew. There was no audition, that was it. And Christiana, his widow, told me and he said, 'We’ve found our Alex.' And I believe he had been looking for two or three years for somebody to do it. I mean, I didn’t have a clue about this. So, he gave me the book to read, and I read it. Couldn’t understand a word of it. When I first read it. I thought it was mumbo-jumbo. You know, it’s a hard book to read, always having to refer back to the glossary to find out what the hell these words mean."
You’ve talked about it being iconic. But did you realize, while you were making it, that it was going to be so polarizing and controversial?
"No, no. As far as I was concerned, we’d made a wonderful black comedy. So when it came out, I was shocked and rather pissed that the audience didn’t get the humor. But this is the difference between the audiences then and audiences now. Because if you see it with an audience now as I have done, I saw it a few years ago, the audiences are on every laugh that I thought was funny. So I thought I was making a black comedy, which I was! But the look and the message is so overwhelming. No movie had looked like this before this movie. Nothing had looked like this. Now, everybody from Madonna to David Bowie copies it. And my God, they all wear the eyelash and the bowler. I mean how many times have I got to see that?"
Malcolm McDowell in  A Clockwork Orange
Malcolm McDowell in 'A Clockwork Orange'
Warner Bros
How did the codpiece and bowler and bowler look come about?
"I’ll tell you how that came along, the codpiece and the white and the bowler. I was over at Stanley's house, looking for stuff to do. And I didn’t like anything there, really. They had a big box of hats, some with feathers. I thought that was pretty lame. So I said, 'Look. I’ve got my Cricket gear in my car. So I went to the car and got my Cricket gear.' And he said, 'Oh yeah, I love the white. And so I put it on. Then he goes, 'Oh put the protector on the outside. And I went, 'Great idea.' So I wore the protector on the outside like a codpiece. He goes, 'This could be like the Middle Ages. I like this look.' And that’s how the look of the Droogs came, because I had my Cricket stuff in the back of my car."
What about the eyelash?
"The eyelash, I was walking through this store on Kensington Church Street. They were by the cash register, there was hilarious. And, you know, it was a time were mini-skirts up to past the bum. You could see what every girl had for breakfast. The fashions of Carnaby Street were hilarious. And then the yard of eyelash was such fun, that I bought one for Stanley. And he goes, 'Oh, that’s great. Put it on. He took a photograph on one eye and then two eyes, and I get a call the next day, and he goes, 'Oh my God. These shots of you with the eyelash are great. And the one of you with just the one eyelash is great, because you look at your face and you think there’s something wrong. And you’re not quite sure what it is."
How did Kubrick initially explain to you what type of idea or tone he wanted with the film when the first of you first met?
"He said, 'You’ll be shocked.' He didn’t explain anything. Because he didn’t know, to be honest with you. Stanley, he was meticulous in many ways, but he wasn’t good at explaining stuff. If he saw it, he knew it. And if he didn’t see it, he hadn’t a clue what it was. So I remember saying once, you got any ideas for this scene, Stanley. And he just looked at me and said, 'You know Malc, that’s why I hired you. I’m not a writer.' And so I said, 'Oh, that’s interesting. Does anyone have a call sheet? How about a bit of direction?' And it just made him laugh. With most directors you’d say, you have any ideas for this scene? And you’d sit down and have a discussion for an hour, and they’d come up with whatever. With Stanley? In a way. he gave me the greatest gift of all. He just said, 'Show me. Make it up. Do it.' So I did."
Malcolm McDowell in  A Clockwork Orange
Malcolm McDowell in 'A Clockwork Orange'
Warner Bros
Is that how the "Singing in the Rain" sequence came about?
"It was the only one I knew sorta half the words to. We’d been trying to figure out this scene for five days. The camera had not turned for five days. I mean, literally. We literally come off a high of doing the end of the movie, with the hospital bed and all this and the chains, and it’s an incredible scene. We just nailed it. We just knew we had an incredible end. So there was this high. And I was frankly exhausted. And so I was happy to let him figure it out for five days. I figured, I’m going to take a back seat, and let him get on with it. So every morning there would be a van and they’d change the furniture. Stanley thought that maybe if he just changed the furniture, some magic would happen. Of course, it didn’t. And on the fifth day, and by this point I was getting really bored. He came up to me and just said, 'Can you dance?' And I said, 'Can I dance?!' What was sort of written was very sparse, because it ‘s really a very limited script. What was written was that the gang get their way into the house, kick the writer down some stairs, and throw some bottles of booze through a window. That’s it. And I’m like, but that’s so lame. We can’t do that. And he knew it. too. He was in trouble for an idea he’d get out the zoom lens.' I’d see the zoom lens going on the camera and I’d go, 'Wow. So we don’t have an idea in our head, do we? He’d just laugh, because he knew it was true. But I’ll tell you, it was wild. The very first shot in the movie, it’s a track and a zoom. It’s an incredible shot which he operated. So, we’re sitting there all day just doing this shot. It’s the key shot in the movie, we tell you everything in that shot. And it was the only set that was built. So we shot the scene. And three days later he came up to me and said, 'I saw the shot.' 'You didn’t tell me that when you lifted the milk up, you kind of toasted the audience.' 'Why did you do that?' Well, I was telling the audience, 'You’re coming on one hell of a ride with us now.' And he goes, 'Oh. I didn’t know that.' And he was operating the camera!"
Wasn't there a story about alleged "missing last chapter" to A Clockwork Orange that Anthony Burgess had written?
"The missing last chapter? Forget it. It’s a rip-off. It’s literally -- Anthony Burgess was asked to do it, told to do it by the publisher who said, 'Look. This is going to make it very difficult if you don’t make him acceptable.' So he told me he just banged it out in two hours. So it’s not the original story at all. But that’s the way it is. If they’re copying the imagery from the futuristic beginning of the movie, that’s fine. Because the message is there. I presume they didn’t all get up and leave halfway through the movie. So the message is quite clear in the film, it’s very political in many ways, social certainly, and futuristic. Well, it was futuristic. It’s not anymore. But one could say that a year after it came out, because everything that it said has come true in terms of gangs, drugs, violence. I mean, in the book, nobody’s on the street at night because they’re all home watching TV. Hello! Just go to downtown LA when there’s an American Idol night. You don’t see anybody on the street. So all of that is sort of true. The great thing about Burgess’ work is the dichotomy of making the hero or anti-hero an immoral man. And that’s what makes it interesting. choose. And they had taken his freedom away from him."
Didn’t Kubrick have a strange sense of humor, didn’t you have a fear of snakes, and he put a snake in a scene?
" Well, who doesn’t have a fear of snakes? There’s a snake in the movie, just as my pet. And I went, 'Well Stan, do I have to pick the damn thing up?' He goes, 'Yeah.' So they put it in a drawer under my bed. And I go to pick it up and I open the drawer and I went, the snake's gone! The whole crew leaped through the door. Wow, they disappeared, gone through that door. And I’m left there. That snake, it had coiled itself under the bed. I mean, we’re trying to pull the damn thing out. And even though it was a python or a boa constrictor, 'Oh Basil the Boa, yeah.' You know, they’re still quite nasty looking things. I’m not quite a great snake person myself. The one thing I am really scared of, is black panthers. I had to do this Cat People (1982) film and I had to do this shot where I’m nonchalantly just standing by this panther. And this thing, you know, was tethered to the neck. But, of course, the paws could reach out and grab you, and pull you in. And I’m supposed to just lounge around because I’m supposed to be half cat myself. And I’ll tell you, that cat’s over there and I’m sort of leaning like this. So it looks so obvious in the film, it’s just hilarious. So that’s one thing I am scared of. But pythons, no. Or boa constrictors, no."
Malcolm McDowell in  A Clockwork Orange
Malcolm McDowell in 'A Clockwork Orange'
Warner Bros
What was one piece of direction that Kubrick gave you, like in the murder scene when you smash the woman’s head and you kind of look shocked for the first time.
"That’s all acting! I’m supposed to look shocked, and like I’ve really hurt someone. And it’s trying to show that. Stanley did not direct actors. I’ll tell you, a guy arrived, the doctor in the Ludovico sequence. He arrived in the morning with his coffee and his briefcase. Stanley comes up in a parka. It’s freezing cold, London, you know, foggy, misty, cold. You see the breath, the whole thing. And I say, 'Hey Stan. Have you met...' And he goes, "No.' Do you want to meet him? 'Yeah.' We’re doing the scene, why not? So he walks up and he goes to the guy and he says, 'Hi, how are you doing?' Stanley Kubrick, said, 'Do you know your lines?' And the guy’s still got his coffee, it’s steaming and he goes, 'Oh yes. I think so, Stanley.' Okay. Go. And I went, 'Stanley, why don’t we just let him go and finish his coffee?' You know, we would have gone in, entered the trailer and sat down. And then we’d just rehearse the scene. The poor guy was just a basket case before he got on the set. This was Stanley."
Kubrick was known for doing many hundreds of takes, did you have to do that?
"No, he didn’t do that. This is before the craziness really set in. He was sort of really nuts on Barry Lyndon, that’s when he really went fruitcake."
Untitled
Warner Bros
Were you able to keep in touch with Kubrick after finishing A Clockwork Orange?
"No. In a word, no. You see, in my naiveté as a young actor, all I know is that I’d done the film If with (director) Lindsay (Anderson) and he became a great friend. I mean, a great friend. He was fantastic. We’d go to dinner, have Indian dinners in London. Just fantastic. You know, the best Indian food, right? And we’d just sit and argue and discuss films that we’d seen. And it was an amazing and stimulating relationship and an intellectual one, as well as being a human one. But when I finished A Clockwork Orange, I presumed that I would have the same relationship with Stanley that I’d had with him during the movie. But the fact was, he barely called me after that. I couldn’t get him on the phone. He was always editing and I figured, 'Well, you know, he’s busy.' But I don’t think I saw him more than a dozen times, or half a dozen times, after that."
A Clockwork Orange: 40th Anniversary Edition Bonus Features: "Malcolm McDowell Looks Back" and "Turning Like Clockwise Considers the Film's Ultraviolence and Its Cultural Impact:Commentary by Malcolm McDowell and Historian Nick Redman" featurette; Channel Four Documentary "Still Tickin': The Return Of Clockwork Orange"; "Great Bolshy Yarblockos!: Making A Clockwork Orange" featurette and
Theatrical Trailer. Kubrick: The Essential Collection and A Clockwork Orange 40th Anniversary Edition is also available On Demand and for Download from iTunes™, including bonus iTunes™ extra content. Additionally, Lolita, Barry Lyndon, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, Eyes Wide Shut, and Never Apologize will be available On Demand and for Download. For further information log onto https://www.facebook.com/StanleyKubrickFilms --if you would like to win a free download. To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange you can win over 38 minutes of bonus content, by visiting the official iTunes page at http://bit.ly/WB_CLOCKWORK
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Acorn
The Red Green Show: The Midlife Crisis Years (Seasons 2000-2002)
The classic Canadian sketch comedy series and longstanding PBS hit is featured in this DVD box set featuring Seasons 10-12 (2000-2002) and the DVD debut of the 2002 season. The series chronicles the exploits of Canadian manly man Red Green and his friends and pals that hang out with him at Possum Lodge, usually creating some strange and outrageous inventions. Steve Smith, star and creator of The Red Green Show, is a mastermind of north-of-the-border handyman humor and is responsible for its universal appeal. Want to see you fave characters live? Well, Taking Red Green is on the road, along with its regulars -- Ranger Gord, Bill Smith, Hap Shaughnessy and Red's beleaugred and belove nephew Harold -- and they are currently appearing at theaters and venues throughout America -- on a multi-year road trek that continues to sell out at every stop. Red Green (a series with a lot in common with Home Improvement) first hit the airwaves in 1991. You can pick up The 2002 Season either individually or as a part of this collectible set. (Only on DVD) Bonus Features: Introduction by star and creator profiles and production notes written by Steve Smith.
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BBC
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
With The Chronicles of Naria becoming a Number One hit across the globe, interest in all of author C.S. Lewis classic Narnia tales for children has skyrocketed in book and DVD/video sales. In this version of the tale, the characters are brought to life courtesy of leading animator Bill Melendez -- best known for his work on Fantasia and for the classic Charlie Brown features. In the first installment of The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, four children in their adventure through the enchanted kingdom of Narnia. While playing a game of hide and seek, the four siblings climb into a wardrobe are transported into a world filled with mythical creatures and fantastic magic. However, the magical kingdom of Narnia is not all fun for the children. There is an evil witch that has cast a spell on Narnia -- keeping the kingdom in eternal winter. The only way they can defeat the witch and restore springtime back to the land, the four children must come together with the creatures of Narnia. including Aslan, a noble lion and the King of the Woods. They are hoping they have the power to defeat the witch's spell, otherwise, it will remain winter in Narnia forever. (Only on DVD) Bonus Features: Commentary with Director Bill Melendez, Producer Stever Melendez, and Sequence Director Bob Balser; Deleted Sequence "Kings and Queens of Narnia"; Character Designs and Behind the Scenes Photos.
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Universal
American Graffiti: Special Edition
Shortly before director George Lucas decided to take us on a journey galaxies far, far away in Star Wars and producer Francis Ford Coppola introduced us to the Corleone Family in The Godfather, they took us back to the early-1960s with American Graffiti, a classic coming-of-age story complete with a backdrop of hot rods, drive-ins and rock n' roll. Featuring a cast of pre-superstar actors in their breakout roles -- Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford, Cindy Williams, Mackenzie Phillips and Suzanne Somers -- American Graffiti takes a nostalgic look back at the '60s as it follows a group of teenagers as they cruise the streets on their last summer night before their college life begins. Nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, American Graffiti (which also starred Wolfman Jack) included a smokin' soundtrack with songs by Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, The Beach Boys and Bill Haley & His Comets. Blu-ray Bonus Features: Picture-in-Picture Video Commentary with Director George Lucas; "The Music Of American Graffiti" featurette - C create a custom playlist of your favorites direct from iTunes; "The Making of American Graffiti" documentary - Interviews with cast and crew; Screen Tests - Never-before-seen screen tests with Howard, Dreyfuss, Williams, Phillips, Le Mat and Charles Martin Smith; BD-Live Enabled; uControl; uHear; Pocket Blu and Theatrical Trailer.
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Paramount
A Man Called Horse
One of the most compelling and carefully documented dramatic epics stars Richard Harris in an unforgettable tale that takes place in the West. A realistic look at the life of the American Sioux Indian Tribe in the early 19th century America. In the Ellliot Silverstein-directed motion picture, Harris portrays Lord John Morgan, a member of the English aristocracy who is kidnapped by a Sioux Indian tribe in 1825. He is immediately made a servant to the tribe chief''s elderly and aging mother (Dame Judith Anderson), As time goes by, Lord Morgan (given the Indian name of Horse) begins to respect and embrace the tribe's way of life, and, consequently, falls in love with the sister of the chief's. However, before Lord Morgan can become an honored Sioux Indian and be respected as an equal member of the tribe, he must take part in the Sioux ritual known as Sun Vow. The long and painful Sun Vow -- where he is hung in a tree by the flesh of his chest -- is a ritual that tests one's loyalty, dedication and commitment to tribe. It's also where he receives his Sioux moniker of Horse.
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Paramount
The Firm
With a cast featuring an all-star cast that includes Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Holly Hunter, Jeanne Tripplehorn and David Strathairn, a screenplay written by the Hollywood (and Broadway) trilogy of uber-scribes Robert Towne, David Rayfiel and David Rabe and directed by the near-flawless Sydney Pollack (who co-produces with Scott Rudin), there's no way The Firm wouldn't or couldn't be a hit film. Based on a bonafide New York Times Bestseller, Cruise delivers an electrifying performance as legal eagle Mitch McDeere, a smart and ambitious Harvard Law graduate who is anxious to be a big fish in a little pond -- quite simply, he wants to on top. For a mysterious reason he wants to bury his working-class past by keeping out of the spotlight. Mitch finds exactly the legal firm he's be hoping for -- a prosperous and respected firm smack-dab in the sleepy hometown of Memphis -- a prestigious job and one of the country's most talked about firms. The partners equally want Mitch to be a part of their team that they plant him and his wife (Jeanne Tripplehorn) in an eye-popping affluent neighborhood with a matching lifestyle that is beyond their own wildest dreams. Mitch's firm is indeed the topic of many conversations, particularly those between government agencies. However, when agents from the FBI present Mitch with evidence of corruption and murder from within the firm, Mitch is determined to find the truth if he has made a big mistake. Has he walked into the middle of a dangerous crossfire between the FBI, the Mob, and a force that will stop at no cost to protect its most important interest -- The Firm. Bonus Features: A Teaser and Theatrical Trailers.
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Paramount
Rio Lobo
Considered one of The Duke's most classic, action-filled Westerns, Rio Lobo is certainly John Wayne at his ultimate best. Rio Lobo begins when a Union pay train is robbed by a band of Confederate guerillas in a sensational train robbery that shocks the nation. John Wayne portrays the train's colonel and promptly jails the enemy leaders (Jorge Rivero, Chris Mitchum). When the Civil War comes to an end, surprisingly, the three men become good friends. They haven't moved over to the Dark Side, however, instead the three of them are now all good guys and go after Union traitors who they discover are responsible for a string of Confederate train robberies. It becomes a mission for the three that ultimately turns into in a raucous and rousing shoot-em-up finale. Rio Lobo is the fifth collaboration between John Wayne and legendary filmmaker director Howard Hawks, a 22-year-old union that produced some of the best Westerns in Hollywood history.
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Paramount
Big Jake
Making its debut on Hi-Def, director George Sherman's gun-slinging, shoot-em-up Western features John Wayne as Big Jake McCandles, a man whose wife (Maureen O'Hara) was stolen from him nine years before. Fate repeats itself when he returns home to find that his grandson has been kidnapped by a vicious outlaw gang. While the law makes a half-hearted attempt to chase after his grandson, Jake decides to take matters in his own hands by saddling up with an Indian scout (Bruce Cabot) and a box filled with ransom money, although Jake doesn't plan on spending a penny to get his grandson, and, hopefully his wife back into his life. Current day legal remedies isn't doing much for for Big Jack, so he figures it's time for good old frontier justice. Big Jake is a unique John Wayne Western in that it mixes with humor with some good old fashioned, first-class gun-fighting -- presenting viewers with a vivid depiction of the last days of the wild frontier.
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Paramount
Once Upon A Time In The West
Presented in its original form, this Blu-ray features director Sergio Leone's monumental, classic motion picture .and his admirable achievements as a filmmaker. In this Wayne/Leone collaboration, it's the final, dying days of the Old West. There appears to be a struggle to control water in a dusty desert town which embroils three hard-bitten gunmen in a epic clash of greed, honor and revenge. Henry Fonda takes on the sinister role of Frank, a hired assassin who ruthlessly killed an entire family. Jason Robards is the possibly innocent Cheyenne, an infamous bandit who was framed for slaughter. And Charles Bronson is The Man, a mysterious loner hell-bent to exact vengeance for a grudge he refuses to divulge. While Leone has directed many other classic films, and influenced directors all over the world, Once Upon A Time In The West is considered among one of the greatest Western's ever made -- it's been justifiably labeled Leone's masterpiece. Bonus Features: Commentary featuring Directors John Carpenter, John Milius and Alex Cox, Film Historians Sir, Christopher Frayling, Dr. Sheldon Hall and Cast & Crew; The Featurettes: "An Opera Of Violence," "The Wages Of Sin," "Something To Do With Death," "Railroad: Revolutionizing The West" and "Locations Then & Now"; Production Gllery and Trailer.
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