Tag Archives: Peter Lawford

The Westerns of Dean Martin

11 Jun

I have been reading about the Rat Pack and the exploits of its members – Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. Together, they were legendary. However, I have been thinking about their individual careers.

Obviously, Frank Sinatra is one of the most famous performers of all time.

Sammy Davis, Jr. also had a great career.

Peter Lawford is probably best known as a Kennedy in-law.

I’m not sure what else Joey Bishop did.

Dean Martin, though, is my favorite. He sang great songs and made great movies. Some of the best movies were Westerns. For a cool crooner, Martin was pretty handy on a horse and with a gun.

In my mind, his best Western was Rio Bravo, starring John Wayne, Ricky Nelson and Walter Brennan. Here’s a trivia question. How many people in Rio Bravo had records that reached Number 1? The movie is about a sheriff who has arrested the brother of a wealthy rancher. He and his deputies have to fight to keep him in jail and to stay alive. Martin plays Dude, a deputy who doubles as the town drunk.Dude

Another great thing, Rio Bravo was filmed at Old Tucson Studios, one of my favorite places to visit.

5 Card Stud is another good one. Martin plays Van Morgan, a gambler who has to solve a series of murders before he becomes the next victim.5 Card Stud

Everyone who is killed was playing in the same card game. It also stars Robert Mitchum and Inger Stevens but suffers from what I call the “law of diminishing suspects”. There are so few suspects that solving the mystery is too easy.

Bandolero! pairs Martin with James Stewart as brothers who have taken different paths but find themselves in trouble together.Bandolero

Along the way, they take Raquel Welch hostage.

My least favorite Dean Martin Western is The Sons of Katie Elder. It stars John Wayne and has the makings of a great story, but the “sons” are mismatched. The youngest “son” is way too young to play the part. I hate to say that a Western starring John Wayne and Dean Martin is bad, so I will say that it’s not very good.

Martin is the gambling brother, Tom Elder, and he follows older brother John in trying to figure out who killed their father. One of the best scenes has Martin playing a “fake eye” trick in a bar.The Sons of Katie Elder

Dean Martin made other Westerns, but these are the ones I have seen. Honestly, I don’t think I could make it through the comedy ones with Frank Sinatra.

Who Needs Kevin Bacon?

5 Oct

I have been sitting here trying to figure out what to write about, and I finally decided to write about what is on television. Encore is showing The Longest Day, a 1962 movie about the invasion of Normandy on D-Day. Obviously, this is an important historic event, and numerous movies have been made about it. What amazes me about this movie is the ensemble cast of huge actors from that time in Hollywood history. All this time, people have been playing “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” when they could have been playing “One Degree of The Longest Day“.

It stars John Wayne and Jeffrey Hunter six years after they were in The Searchers.

It stars John Wayne and Robert Mitchum four years before they made El Dorado.

Sean Connery and Gert Frobe appeared in this film two years before Connery, as James Bond, heard Frobe, as Auric Goldfinger, say, “No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die.”

It has Richard Todd, who was Ian Fleming’s first choice to play James Bond in Dr. No. Interestingly. Dr. No came out in 1962, as well.

I mean, this thing has everybody in it, and there are connections all over the place. To prevent having a post that drags out, I’ll just list a bunch of the actors and my favorite film of theirs.

Eddie Albert – The Longest Yard (although he was also good in Green Acres)

Richard Burton – Cleopatra (which I think was being filmed at the same time)

Red Buttons – Hatari! (which also starred John Wayne)

Sean Connery – Goldfinger (the best James Bond movie ever)

Henry Fonda – Once Upon a Time in the West (a great Spaghetti Western)

Gert Frobe – Goldfinger (the title character in the only James Bond movie to show a Kentucky Fried Chicken)

Jeffrey Hunter – The Searchers (which also starred John Wayne)

Peter Lawford – Ocean’s Eleven (a member of the Rat Pack who married into the Kennedy clan)

Roddy McDowall – Planet of the Apes (also in Cleopatra with Richard Burton)

Sal Mineo – Giant (appeared with Elizabeth Taylor, who was also in Cleopatra)

Robert Mitchum – Five Card Stud (starred with Dean Martin, who was also in Ocean’s Eleven and was a member of the Rat Pack)

Edmond O’Brien – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (which also starred John Wayne)

Leslie Phillips – Harry Potter Series (as the voice of the Sorting Hat)

Robert Ryan – The Wild Bunch (a movie that’s bloodier than The Longest Day)

Rod Steiger – The Amityville Horror (there was a horror in that house but not the one they show in the movie)

Robert Wagner – Broken Lance (married to Natalie Wood, who starred in The Searchers with John Wayne and Jeffrey Hunter)

Stuart Whitman – The Day the Earth Stood Still (also starred in The Commancheros with John Wayne in 1961)

John Wayne – The Searchers (my favorite actor of all time)

Richard Dawson – The Running Man (but he was better on The Match Game and Family Feud)

Bernard Fox – Big Jake (which also starred John Wayne, but he was also in my favorite television show, The Andy Griffith Show)

So, I present the game, “One Degree of The Longest Day“.