Errol Flynn & First Bounty Movie

DATELINE: Mr. Christian Goes to Pitcairn

 Errol in 1932

Though most film adventure fans know the story of The Mutiny on the Bounty as a great sea saga starring Clark Gable, Marlon Brando, or Mel Gibson, the first movie version of the historic event came out of New Zealand in 1933. The short film brought Errol Flynn, living legend, to the attention of Hollywood.

The rest as they say is history.

In the Wake of the Bounty is an intriguing docudrama and investigative documentary combined. The first half hour details the offenses of “Lt. Bligh” and the low-minded first officer played by Flynn.

The film hardly makes Flynn heroic or dashing like Captain Blood. That would come later. Here, the movie takes the position that the mutineers were part and parcel of a ragtag drunken group which they call “dark pagans and white fools.”

Flynn’s role, only a few intriguing scenes, shows a man overwhelmed by guilt—taking his wanton crew and their women to some godforsaken island where they will never be discovered.

A silly context of story-telling reveals the first half: the documentary kicks in during 1932 when the director and his crew go looking for the descendants of the actual Bounty and where the wreck may be located.

That part of the movie is by far the most interesting for history buffs.

If you want to see the first motion pictures ever taken of Pitcairn Island, here they are: even in black and white, the rocky island is beautiful, yet intimidating. Christian chose it well as an impossible landing site.

The mutineers died by their own hands, in feuds and rivalries, and Fletcher Christian was killed by the last survivor of the original ship. Yet, we will see the living great grandson of Christian at work, living in the communal society.

The filmmakers fret about in-breeding of the 50 odd families that lived there in 1932. Bounty Bay was visited rarely by ships that brought supplies distributed equally among the residents who know they must band together against adversity.

This is a strange, fascinating documentary and docudrama, notable for more than the discovery of Errol Flynn: it even features underwater photos of the wreckage of Bounty.

 

 

Storming of Area 51 Non-event!

DATELINE: Ancient Aliens Self-Congratulations!

 He’s Back!

Ripping an episode of Ancient Aliens from the headlines of this past summer, the series went for Storming of Area 51, the media and Internet viral event of 2019.

As an alleged joke, Matty Roberts posted a call to arms on Facebook, demanding a generation of Millenials gather together and demand to see the whites of the alien eyes.

What was supposed to reach a few friends quickly became a sensation that caught up a million people in its vent. They would come to Rachel, Nevada and prepare to put a mob on the grounds of Area 51.

As you might expect, Ancient Aliens wants to take credit for the new generation of protest, but it also wants to be careful not to upset authorities too. It makes for an interesting tightrope walk.

With a deranged government threatening to bomb a large mob of Americans demanding to see their tax dollars at work, it became clear that secrecy is not dead—and something big must be hidden at Area 51 for the military to threaten to kill protestors as terrorists.

As its wont, Ancient Aliens gave us a history of the Groom Lake site. It was selected by the original researcher who brought us Lockheed and Skunk Works: Kelly Johnson in 1955 scouted the place and oversaw the operations. For 20 years there was no acknowledgement of what was there.

Word seeped out that there was an official top-secret weapons site and an unofficial aliens and reverse engineering location.

From. here it was a short jump to bolster the credibility of whistleblower Bob Lazar—and they come up with corroboration of his veracity.  There is also a paranoid leap to indicate the government is out of control, lying to us for 100 years, and up to no good with mistrust.

Lazar’s rehab by the Aliens show poetic justice.

On the one hand, they want to expose the truth. And on the other hand, they do not want to kill their viewers. The Area 51 storm subsided with restraint in the summer of 2019.

But a sea level change may have occurred: a new generation may not tolerate the coverup much longer.

 

 

 

 

In Search of… Nazi Loot

 DATELINE: Nazi Mysteries

 Remote Nazi Hunter?

Whether the History Channel take sus to the Philippines to look for lost gold of World War II, or if Bob Barr is chasing the legend of Adolph Hitler, or whether we are back in Germany to uncover the stolen cash and jewels of Nazis, we are hooked.

Now, the high-powered antennae of this top-drawer series is going to give us the scoop. Only about half the Nazi gold and treasures was ever recovered after the war. Some thought minor pilfering by American soldiers took off shavings, but the vast amount has simply been taken in the style of an inside job.

There is no rehash here in the world of rehash mysteries on TV. We give credit again to this marvelous series for their original research and new insights into old problems.

While Quinto himself does not go diving or climbing into tunnels, there are a battery of experts in Europe to oversee the search for sunken supersonic U-boats, a stolen room (not its contents, but the room itself), and the ubiquitous piles of gold bullion.

Showing the elaborate Nazi tunnel system is tantamount to finding the Knights Templar technology: how on earth did they have time to build this stuff while fighting a war? Slave labor jumps to mind.

Quinto points out that the Nazi crimes included kidnapping the best minds to do their research, pilfering every art collection, and other untold secrets. In all, the show estimates billions in today’s estimate has never been recovered.

You begin to wonder where Gary Drayton is with his knack for finding treasures!

The show also finds a submarine that left Germany on the day before the war ended: its cargo is unknown, but laws designate the U-boat is a gravesite that cannot be explored inside. So, if it held gold, artwork or the body of Adolph Hitler, it is not for today.

Nevertheless, this remains the single-most and most consistent of History’s mystery shows.

 

 

Shooting on Fifth Ave?

DATELINE: Outrage Unleashed!

 Garrett Needs a Roy Cohn?

Forget your Easter bonnet for the big Thanksgiving parade. Donald Trump and Myles Garrett are leading the parade of felonious media freaks.

On a day when Donald J. Trump intimidated a witness at a Congressional hearing, we recall his comment that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and no one would give a fig.

Since then, the candy bar has come into Renaissance, and the New York mayor claimed that they would indeed arrest Mr. Trump. However, if you are a Republican in Congress, your job is to re-load the weapon, as if the POTUS were a shooter in your typical American high school. Trump likes to kick Sandy Hook in our collective faces.

Now, we have a case in parallel where Mason Rudolph, a QB of the NFL, has assumed that violence will be done unto him on the playing field. And now, Myles Garrett has taken that presumption and done a deed that is comparable to Trump’s boast. Lock and load that helmet, fans.

QB of the Steelers, Rudolph, did not die and was not seriously injured, though his vanity may be fatally overexposed. It is Myles Garrett who has achieved the ultimate notoriety: he is the Trump of football.

He can shoot a helmet to the head of an opponent and be guilty of felonious assault but get away with it. His action has been called “embarrassing” by some teammates and coaches. There will be no arrest and trial. This is not hockey, a sport of immigrants from Canada. Trump might threaten a wall to prevent those Canadians from bringing sticks to the game. 

Trump plans to continue to call for the ban of Colin Kaepernick but likely will call for amnesty and pardons for Myles Garrett.

Attempted murder on national television is more than embarrassing, and the Cleveland Browns are intimidating NFL fans with it’s “just a game,” mantra.

There is nothing just here. Justice died on Fifth Avenue, in Congress, and at pep rallies held by Trump.

Francis Ford Coppola in Conversational Mode

DATELINE: Eavesdroppers

  Pouty Harrison Takes on Hackman

In 1974 between his Godfather epics, Coppola tackled the high-tech tale of a wire-tapper who is tapped out. He wrote and directed this intriguing suspense drama. You know the Coppola tag will build this to a daunting climax.

The Conversation seems a throwaway but may be a perfect metaphor for the upcoming technological invasion of privacy that the 21stcentury and Internet will dump on us.

Gene Hackman is a suffering paranoid who seems to enjoy eavesdropping less and less each day. When he discovers that his work may be even dirtier than usual with murder in mind, he seems to be struck with a conscience.

When you subtract all the outmoded surveillance equipment from the movie, you have something so quaint as to be primitive by today’s digital standards. You may rightfully worry that things are a lot worse nowadays.

You may laugh at the spooling tapes and wonder how they could do any job effectively.

As a film, the story is microscopic as befits the nosy nature of small-time detective work. Yet, nothing transcends the basic fright of murder under your nose.

The Coppola cast is more than right: he has collected some of his favorite people and found others right before they made it big on TV/and movies. You will see a baby-faced Harrison Ford, a young girlish Teri Garr, a pretty victim in Cindi Williams without Laverne. Frederic Forrest is a callow-looking adulterer. Slippery John Cazale is always a Coppola staple and acts as a supporting, underappreciated wiretapper here too.

One of Coppola’s favorite actors makes a cameo as the corporate villain.

They are all secondary to the mid-life crisis that cannot be better epitomized than Gene Hackman at the pinnacle of his Everyman person.

The business means that you cannot trust anyone, professionally or personally. And, there is good reason to be suspicious when large amounts of money is paid for information.

 

 

 

Cores De-Valued on Oak Island

DATELINE: Digging and Drilling Continues, Season 7

 Not a Sledge!

 

If boring down again seems familiar, this time it is in the notorious swamp where no boredom is deep. If you seem to have a sense of deju vuall over again, we can understand it. Between the recaps that dominate the series almost three or four times per show, we are now re-enacting the re-enactments.

That’s not to say the Curse of Oak Island is not compelling! Though Marty Lagina seems to use the same expressions repeatedly, they are applied to different situations. He just makes it feel like we are re-living a previous episode.

They are now in the swamp, drilling down, to use a phrase for those irksome Matty Blake specials on the topic. What first hits them is the expensive floating drill machine, boring into some unknown hard substance,

The core samples are all clay, of varying hardness and dryness. However, that is not their goal: they want to find the wood of a Spanish galleon. Well, it does nto seem to be cooperating.

They move the floating feast of drill bores to another spot and again strike a waterproofing capstone. A rock formation appears to be there to keep out the water. Once again they may have struck pay-dirt without knowing why.

In the meantime, on a second Western front, ground penetrating radar finds a tunnel system on a part of the island that has not been explored.

 What?

You mean there are areas that have not been dug up. It is a revelation to viewers after six full seasons. Yes, there are tunnels where you don’t expect them, and a fresh faced geologist tells them their swamp is not prehistoric, but only in the range of 300 years old.

Fortunately Gary Drayton is still on the job and he locates what looks like primitive sledgehammer heads: two of them in close proximity. He claims they are quite old. His assessments are now regarded with less skepticism than in previous years. We have noticed the absence of Jack Begley, and the unannounced appearance of Peter Frenetti, another nephew this week.

Bring on a new fresh face: Carmen Legge, the local blacksmith historian who has delivered all the good news for two years. Now he is on set in the War Room: he has made the cut.

And, now he tells them their sledgehammer heads are actually tunnel sharpening devices that date back to the 1400s.

Who needs a Spanish galleon when the ground is like a mole’s delight: filled with tunnels everywhere.

 

 

 

 

Ten Dared, Disney Style!

DATELINE: Cliffhanger!

 John Beal Dangles by his one arm!

In 1960 Walt Disney studios took on an unusual adventure story for them: the true historical tale of John Wesley Powell who explored the Colorado River in 1869.

As Davy Crockett proved a few years earlier, there was no historical truth that Disney could not whitewash. Powell’s misfit crew of tough guys has been turned into a second-banana costar cast of familiar faces and comfortable stereotypes. Ten Who Dared is satisfying emotional comfort food. It falls short of classic, but will do in a pinch.

That’s not to say it isn’t a solid entry in biographical adventure.

You do have a bunch of scene-stealers around John Beal, the 1930s leading man now in late middle-age playing the one-armed Powell. His younger brother could be his son: James Drury in a pre-Virginianemesis role, complete with handlebar mustache.

Our money is on the grizzled Brian Keith, long before his TV comedy stuff, he could always be counted on to give an accounting worth watching. Up against Ben Johnson and R.G. Armstrong, you have marvelous performers. Throw in the spoiled rich kid from the Spin and Martyseries, David Stollery did one more Disney film before leaving acting entirely.

Those Disney moments feature Stollery being ordered to shoot his dog, and James Drury as a villain tormenting everyone.

By modern CGI effects, the rapids and the actors together are less than effective, as the disgruntled men begin to think Powell is searching for gold—and cutting them out of the process.

Other character flaws, amid greed and impatience, lead to more problems, making it your less than happy Disney film.

In true Disney fashion, the most hideous events are left for narrator explanation.

Yet, there is something of an experiment here for a later style of Disney movie. You cannot go awry with the Grand Canyon and notable character actors at the acme of their careers.

 

 

 

 

Quinto Falls into Bermuda Triangle

DATELINE: Moving Monster Triangle

 Slightly Rhomboid

  When In Search of…series takes on the Bermuda Triangle, you can have high expectations. The show has proven to be among the sharpest and smartest that have come to us from the History Channel. A look at the Bermuda Triangle once again proves the point.

Here you have a tired, repetitive topic that has been examined by dozens of dull-witted documentaries. But, Zachary Quinto’s episode looks at it with a scientist’s explanatory eye. You may well be mesmerized.

No, Quinto does not wear Bermuda shorts, Hawaiian shirts, or pedal pushers, but gives us information that comes across with authority. He is no empty-headed narrator.

As with the Loch Ness shows, this episode turns out to be the best documentary on the subject that we can recall.

The devilish triangle is an area about the size of Alaska, large but not in terms of world-wide. And, the first theory espoused is a red-algae called Sargassum, hence Sargasso Sea. This thick mat of red growth also gives off a noxious gas. When you couple this with 100’ tall rogue waves, you may have people turning to the supernatural.

Quinto’s show hints that the problem is bigger than that: as it also encompasses air travel over the Bermuda area. Once again, he stays studio-bound as the show takes on the dangers.

The air issue brings in an expert who has flown the Triangle since he was 17 years old, and he takes a 70-year old plane with only a compass into the realm. It is risky, as the big problem seems to be something called “magnetic fog.” It clouds equipment, plane, and people. Many believe this condition that arises mysteriously has caused most airplane disappearances, like the notorious Flight 19 from 1946.

Someone labeled a deep-sea prospector proposed that tons of magnetite, a strange mix found only in lava deposits in Bermuda, causes compasses and other electrical equipment to go haywire,

In fact, a scientist is now proposing that the polar shifts in magnetic north mean that the Bermuda Triangle is shifting its location far from Bermuda:  look out, World!

 

 

Travel Back Centuries on Oak Island!

DATELINE: Gary Drayton Finds Another Gem!

  Two Islands Become Merged!

Curses aside, is it the year we finally hit paydirt? You need two hours for the first episode of the new season.

The seventh season premiere of The Curse of Oak Island is highly anticipated if only because of those promos that are promising the treasure steps to nirvana.

You could say everything is ship-shaped to begin the new year. There is a 200’ long ship apparently buried in the swamp. And, even more interesting, there is a road or wharf made of stone next to it.

The swamp now appears to be man-made and artificial for sure.

Yet, it is the team of Gary Drayton and Alex Lagina who find more beachfront artifacts. They had already been a team and good workers on the other gold digger show about the lost Civil War treasure.

Now they go out to a rocky locale to discover a spike of sorts. Once again, Drayton is the key and his uncanny insights date the item as quite old, despite not having any corrosion. He also finds a silver button, clearly belonging to someone of wealth or importance.

This stuff must go to more specific experts. A conservator is brought in to clean up the button

And, the old spike is brought to an expert who looks it over and sees it is used for stone carving, back in the 1300s. Of course, a tool made then could be used for hundreds of years.  Blacksmithing expert in Nova Scotia thinks it was a stonemason tool.  We are talking Templar and freemason connections. Again.

Had they found the actual tool that carved the infamous 90’ stone that led to the original search for the treasure?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fire Mountain of Martinique

DATELINE: Trouble in Paradise

Rubble and bodies, after pyroclastic flow!

In May of 1902 was, perhaps, the most devastating and bizarre volcanic explosion ever known in world history. On a paradise of pleasure in the Caribbean, the entire town of Saint-Pierre was wiped out in 3 minutes.

Only one man survived, and he was in a prison cell with walls over a meter thick. He was found 4 days later with terrible burns. There had been a shock wave first that raced through the town before pyroclastic gas choked victims.

People died of burns, with their clothes fully intact. It was bizarre.

Thirty thousand people died hideously in place:  no lava, no ash buried them: they died from gas flows of 1000 degrees that rushed down the volcano. Some people burned up and fell down on Sunday morning, attending church on a holy day to end Carnaval season.

Some people blew apart from inside their bodies: it was a pyroclastic flow, relatively unknown back then. This was not your classic volcano out of Hollywood special effects. It was more like Dante’s Inferno.

For weeks there had been cannon-fire explosions, lightning storms, and the officials of the town refused to order an evacuation.

Back then, Mont Pelee was considered the “debonair” volcano: placid, sleeping, and seldom doing much damage apart from the horrid smell of rotten eggs that permeated the area.

When Mont Pelee awoke, it killed everything in eight square miles. It must be a haunted area.

This documentary even features actual photos and movie newsreel from that May of 1902. It was considered divine punishment for the revels and immorality of the week before when Mardi Gras outrages included lifting up the skirt of a statue of the Blessed Virgin.

If you want to see a disaster that has been little documented, listen to expert volcanologist Mark Davis as he relates the devastation. A fascinating and horrific hour depicting three minutes of hell.

 

 

 

NFL Lets Black Cat Suffer Indignity

NFL Lets Black Cat Suffer Indignity

Black cats have a long tradition of being associated with bad luck—and worse, curses from supernatural purveyors of magic.

So, when a black cat mysteriously started darting across the NFL game field in New Jersey when the Cowboys played the Giants, it became a focal point of attention. The game was secondary—and stopped.

Security guards, state police, and stadium staff would be hard-pressed to catch a cat, especially a black one just a few days after the Day of the Dead in Mexico.

You may well think this was an emissary from across the border to lay a comment on Trump’s immigration policy. Commentators at the game thought it was meant to put ill-fortune on the steps of the Cowboys.

The bewildered feline did not simply arrive like a UFO on the playing field. In one of the cruelest jokes of animal abuse, someone let the animal loose during the game.

This cat clearly had been smuggled into the game to create a moment of chaos on national television.

The unfortunate animal stopped running in one direction—and went in the other, looking for an escape while tens of thousands of fans made deafening noise.

You had a sense of why the public conducted the Salem Witch Trials in this microcosm of public fervor. You had a sense as to why sadistic practices involving black cats is commonplace even today.

The cat finally ran to a runway, as no one dared to pick him up or cart him off the field.

This was all thought to be in good fun, but we were in our satirical mode, less than charmed by the action and reaction.

No one has been charged with a crime, and no one may ever be held accountable. Someone’s pet cat was stolen, brought to a venue unfamiliar and released. It is another example of a mentality that is not funny and not kind.

Disaster on the Bay: 1906 Quake

DATELINE: California Nightmare

 All $ Burned UP!

Not another documentary on the San Fran earthquake that features “never before seen” footage? The San Francisco Earthquake and Firestays clear of re-enactors, and for that we are grateful in an age of stand-ins who are emoting history with guesses of human reaction.

If Trump had been president back then, he would have refused to send military assistance and accused the state of mismanagement. Actually, the worst mistakes were made by the US Army.

We suspect ancient footage you have never seen is never before seen by a few. Perhaps you are one of them. The still -pictures are spectacular and assembled with effectiveness.

As for this little documentary, it is distinctive and rather clever in its use of old photos. It seems to us that we have seen better, longer, film footage, but the still pictures here are stunningly collected.

We have a gripe, as usual, because many early film clips could easily be from 1920 or 1925, not 1906. There is no identification placed on where and when the pictures show old trains, old buildings, streets, etc. It could be the city on the bay, but it could be somewhere else.

The timeframe of four days is played out, starting first with marvelous pictures of the night before the quake, featuring Enrico Caruso and the opera company that was a social and artistic event of note. Caruso survived the quake, but the company’s set and costumes were totally destroyed.

Caruso vowed never to return to the stronghold of faults. He never did.

Since everything burned in a misguided and incompetent attempt to handle fire without water, the biggest info loss occurred with money, insurance papers, stocks, and other tangible assets lost in flames. You not only lost an identity of birth certificates, but your financial evidence of wealth.

Much time is spent on the horrible conditions for Chinatown and the Chinese who were victims of Nativists with their Exclusion Acts.

The quake montage of one full minute, with an overlay from a seismograph is nicely done, original, and gives a real-time experience as the pictures shake more and fly by at breakneck pace.

It is a director’s tour de force, but the rest of the documentary does not hold up to the bravura moments of the actual quake depiction.

Narration is almost purple in its prose and prosaic in its tenor, not exactly Hearst journalism. Yet, for novices to the historical tragedy, this film is a worthy entry in the pantheon.

Food of the Gods: Yum-Yum, Eatum Up!

DATELINE:  Blood to Let?

  Platter splatter?

Whether you consider the menu of godly appetizers to be forbidden fruit, Ancient Aliens offered us a repast of great delectable items.

Yes, our favorite show about those ancient space creatures who fiddled with our DNA has turned our stomachs upside down with the apple of knowledge.

Forget Jennie Craig, dieters. “The Food of the Gods” is what you need on your shopping list.

Forget salt. Aliens apparently have an aversion to salt, and when one contactee provided the CIA and Project Blue Book with a cracker a generous alien provided, it was salt-free.

Can you make manna on your Cuisinart? Or do the crackers of aliens fall from heaven? When the episode begins to suggest that blood-drained animal mutilation is tied into immortality, you begin to see ET as a new variation on Dracula. Swallow hard, Adam’s apple.

Yes, ambrosia is some kind of fluid or food that helps you travel for centuries on space craft. Eating it on earth helped Adam, Moses, and Noah, live to be about 1000 years old. So, Ancient Aliens is hot on the trail of the magic elixir.

Yes, aliens farm blood out of Homo sapiens. Yes, we have no bananas.

It isn’t long to jump to trans-substantiation or making the blood of Jesus out of wine. It would appear that ancient aliens need this stuff—and it is what will sustain humankind when they venture out into space

The problem with the series is that it often forgets its previous findings. Yes, there is a supply of blood to be let by abducted people, but the aliens originally came to Earth for its gold deposits.

There is your ambrosia, manna, wine of gods, soma, and all the rest on Gilligan’s Planet.

 

Quinto Searching for the Ark of the Covenant

DATELINE: In Search of Bible Treasure!

Sheba wows Solomon with Gold!

 

Zachary Quinto stays back in a safe studio while the treasure hunters seek out the real Bible treasures that are all part and parcel of a connect-the-dots secret plan.

Yes, Solomon was wise—and rich. In Israel he found the most valuable early metal: copper. It’s still increasing in value, and Solomon had enough smelted copper to plate his new temple. And, he was involved with a Queen from Sheba who brought him his weight in gold. He ended up with more tons than the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

It seems it was Sheba who was the true gold digger, having a mine in Ethiopia, her home. The Ark of the Convenant was, however, the real treasure, which required a great deal of gold plating.

It was sent in hiding, according to Ethiopian scholars, to a vault guarded by a sacred monk 100 feet underground, but there are replica Arks in every church of Ethiopian churches. And, only true believers are satisfied with this theory.

Instead, the show follows a copper scroll at Qumran that is a treasure map: they think the scroll describes a golden loot of tons of gold. An American researcher has used these maps to target both the Ark and the cache of gold.

He feels that his map tells where the hills near Qumran are where these bible treasures are buried in location that the copper map notes.

Solomon and Sheba might have been a hot couple, but their son buried the valuables were in a deep cave where metal detectors indicate that the prize of tons of gold are hidden where Israel’s greatest treasures are protected by the country’s government. If it’s there, it may remain hidden and unexcavated.

Solomon was wise enough to become the first billionaire but money and power, even owning the Ark of the Covenant, did not bring him ultimate happiness. Only historical immortality, which is seldom satisfying when you’re dead.

Missouri Breakage! Classic Brando/Nicholson

DATELINE: Them’s the Breaks, Pardner

 

Mother Hubbard aside? Smile when you say that! 

Return with us to the thrilling days of yesteryear when Marlon Brando teamed up with and up against Jack Nicholson to make a Western. It’s called deceptively The Missouri Breaks.

It was 1976, and both Godfather and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest were history.

What’s left is the new frontier of two highly-charged actors going head-to-head.  However, like most of these superstar confrontations, the actual meetings are limited to some off-beat actors’ studio hambone. Brando actually has a small role and does not appear during the first half-hour.

Nicholson plays a horse thief whose gang falls under the observation of a “regulator.” It’s Brando in a dress and looking less zaftig than usual.

We may see parallels to The Left-Handed Gun in that adolescent world of cowboys because Arthur Penn is on board to direct the strange antics.

If there is a surprise, it is that Brando looks much younger than you’d expect, and Nicholson looks somewhat older.

You should expect the usual Brando laundry list: he has an inexplicable Irish brogue and other quirks that characters disdain (lilac cologne? walking under ladders?).  It is doubtful they could have switched roles like Burton and O’Toole in Becket. When Brando inexplicably wears a Mother Hubbard dress, you figure Nicholson surrendered the prize.

There is some wry humor interspersed and some outlandish details to take the Western into the Far Country. In case you are wondering, the Breaks in the river Missouri can be found in Montana.

We cannot imagine that Brando and Nicholson rehearsed any of this stuff, probably trying to shock the other’s performance. Already Brando is self-limiting, but there is no later laziness in his performance. He is up against the high-stakes gunslinging Jack Nicholson. And, perhaps, he saw this as High Noonfor the age.

Since this movie cannot be enjoyed on any conventional Western level, you take it as a psychedelic trip down memory lane. Don’t even think about the symbolism of Jack pulling a gun on Brando as he sits in his bubble bath.

With so many desperadoes (Harry Dean Stanton, Randy Quaid), you can count the deserving bad ends for western villains. It’s a romp.