Tag Archives: Murray Hamilton

The Set of 400: #294 – My Favorite Rolling Ferris Wheel

Today! Because I fought your kind in the Great War, and we kicked the living shit out of you –

1941 (1979)

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Starring John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd (x3), Ned Beatty (x2), Christopher Lee (x4), Tim Matheson, Toshiro Mifune (x2), John Candy (x4), Nancy Allen, Lorraine Gary (x2), Warren Oates, Slim Pickens, Robert Stack, Treat Williams, Murray Hamilton (x3), Elisha Cook Jr., Patti LuPone, Eddie Deezen, Perry Lang, Wendie Jo Sperber, Joe Flaherty, David L. Lander, Michael McKean (x3), Don Calfa, Susan Backlinie, Jerry Hardin, Audrey Landers, Dick Miller (x3), Mickey Rourke

For those of you unfamiliar with this movie – can you believe the above cast got together in ’79 and put on an epic war comedy? And under the direction of the king, Steven Spielberg, following his massive success with Jaws and Close Encounters? Doesn’t it make you want to run out and see what this movie could possibly be?? How have you avoided it all these years? Do it!

And for those of you already familiar with this movie, SHUT UP.

I’m not Titanic-level defensive about 1941, but that’s because most people either didn’t see it or don’t remember it enough to argue about it. And look, I know there is a lot wrong with this movie. It only sort of functions as a comedy – it’s like a less funny It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World with explosions and extended choreographed fistfights – and sort of functions as a war movie. But the premise is solid enough and the cast is terrific that, even though it doesn’t totally deliver, it’s still a pretty entertaining movie. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #311 – My Favorite Hotel Check-In

Today! Because I just want to say one word to you. Just one word –

The Graduate (1967)

Directed by Mike Nichols

Starring Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft (x2), Katharine Ross, William Daniels, Elizabeth Wilson, Murray Hamilton (x2), Buck Henry, Norman Fell, Alice Ghostley, Brian Avery, Walter Brooke, Richard Dreyfuss, Mike Farrell

One of the undeniable classics of the New Hollywood 1960s, and easily the most popular cougar seduction comedy of all-time, The Graduate didn’t come on my radar for some time. It was probably college before I really watched it – that being the obvious right time to see this film – but it is such a universally known and referenced film that I’m pretty sure all the major elements were already familiar to me. Mrs. Robinson. Ben sitting on the bottom of the pool. Plastics. Banging on the window in the church. It’s an across-the-board iconic movie.

But my first real exposure to it was almost certainly through its writer, frequent Saturday Night Live host of the 1970s Buck Henry. Even though he had a pretty decent writing/acting career, Henry’s big claim to fame in the late ’70s was still his Oscar nominated screenplay (and bit role as the hotel clerk) for The Graduate. Also, can you believe this didn’t win for Screenplay? This is the exact kind of movie that wins Screenplay and gets snubbed for everything else – funny, but with depth, that ten years later is hailed as a classic. And while In the Heat of the Night is a perfectly fine movie, did it win because Stirling Silliphant is the greatest name in the history of names? All he did after this was write action and disaster movies, including The Towering Inferno and Shaft in Africa. That’s right, the screenwriter of the third best Shaft movie once won an Oscar!

Silliphant, left, with In the Heat of the Night award winners Ashby, Steiger, and Mirisch

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The Set of 400: #353 – My Favorite American Political Absurdity

Today! Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water –

Jaws 2 (1978)

Directed by Jeannot Szwarc

Starring Roy Scheider, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Jeffrey Kramer, Joseph Mascolo, Ann Dusenberry, Mark Gruner

Yeah, that’s right, Jaws 2! Shut up!

As I believe I wrote back in post #400 Rocky IV, when I was kid, we tended to watch movies and their sequels together – I don’t know if we had them copied onto the same tapes or if this was an active non-lazy choice, but the outcome was I often confused the details of these films, blending them together into a whole, and probably giving more credit to lesser sequels than they deserve. The shining example of this is Jaws 2. Figure, same setting, mostly the same characters, another shark, plus most of the real peril – the kids being stuck out on the water – is separate from all the actors who appear in the first movie. So I believe that for many years of my childhood, I could not differentiate between these two films. Continue reading

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