I Saw a Film!

This time out our hero Bronson has to navigate his booze, and a killer set on embarrassing and torturing him for her incarceration. The killer played by Carrie Snodgress had just starred with Eastwood in Pale Rider and now gets to play a rare female psychotic killer. Meanwhile Bronson is inexplicably saddled with another woman, the young Kathleen Wilhoite as a weirdly “foul mouthed” car thief who spouts almost Pythonesque insults that no one has ever used, “Snot licking camel crotch” type stuff. She’s kinda cute, and fussy and meant to balance with comedy Bronson’s stiff cop character. Did Bronson ever do comedy? This is about as close as it gets, despite all the vicious murders, and plainly unsexy sex sequences (one fellow moaning encouragement as a woman rather unenthusiastically pecks at his rib cage, hmmm). The Golan Globus is showing, and Jill Ireland has some production credits.

Bronson ends up chained to his former crotch-kicking collar (such a popular film trope) and escaping a very low security hold, and jumping in a handy helicopter, which they crash into a barn, which is housing some drug thugs, who cause a fight with our protagonists. One might think this is good enough for a film, but no! We’ve also got the murderous lady hunting friends and relatives of Bronson’s Murphy. The powers that be assume Murphy is killing former colleagues and acquaintances, Murphy assumes it’s a rival cop! Murphy’s wife gets shot up, as much of the first act is about Murphy failing to bring his wife back from being a burlesque performer. If that’s not meant to be funny . . . Meanwhile more goofball insults spew out of the mouth of our little Kathleen Wilhoite (stuff about butt crust and toe jam). The film also exercises a surprising amount of homophobia. Though, maybe I’m just forgetting how normal homophobia was in films back then. Our little Bronson side-kick tosses faggot and homo around like pejoratives in a high school locker room.

The killer holes up in a vast hotel where Murphy finally tracks her. Unfortunately for him he has to choose between rescuing his silly little partner or catching the killer. The results are fairly predictable but still the climax shouldn’t be given away too much. I’ve long thought Bronson aged well in his action films. He’s still believable well into his sixties as a physical presence. There’s really never been another like him. Though this particular outing requires a good load of faith and patience to get through, Bronson himself is always a clear center bringing the film back to its purpose every time he’s in the frame.

this is running free on prime in the USA and you really haven’t seen it until you stick around for the credits song sung by Kathleen about Murphy’s Law. A real treat.

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