Monday, July 9, 2012

Dead Men Walking

THEY'RE all gone now, with Ernest Borgnine the last of The Wild Bunch to join the heavenly choir. First it was William Holden, then Strother Martin Warren Oates and Ben Johnson, the Gorch brothers. And finally, at 95, Borgnine as well. Here's the most famous stroll in cinema history:


All very slow and meticulously paced, which makes what follows all the more striking:


If you haven't seen The Wild Bunch, or haven't seen it lately, get a copy and settle down for a treat. More than 40 years after its release, director Sam Peckinpah's mad genius still shines. Two years ago, Borgnine spoke about one of the five greatest flicks ever made:


The sad thing is that most people will think of Borgnine as McHale. He was a great actor and The Wild Bunch would not have been half so good without him.

(Thanks to commenters who noted that Strother Martin is not Warren Oates, and also that the Professor is a dill.)



26 comments:

  1. His Oscar winning 1955 role as the simple, decent man in "Marty" will always be my favourite and mostly how I remember him.

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  2. Strother Martin was not in the Wild Bunch, he was one of the posse of vermin hired by Robert Ryan to hunt the Wild Bunch.

    Out of the four main members of the Wild Bunch (excluding Edmond O'Brien, Jaime Sanchez and Bo Hopkins "how'd you like to kiss my sister's black cat's ass?"), William Holden died first, then Warren Oates, then Ben Johnson, and now Borgnine.

    Magnificent film. Magnificent cast.

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  3. I prefer Peckinpah's 'Salad Days' --

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hnv7tXEBATc

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  4. He was also very good in the remake of "All Quiet on The Western Front"

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  5. OK, I'll bite Prof; what are the other four?

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    1. It's a floating list, but The Wild Bunch and Topsy Turvy are always on it.

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  6. It's going to be a real trial, Bunyip. Trying to see if we can keep ourselves amused and distracted enough not to notice the trashing of the country by these fucking Green barbarians. Sam Pekinpah indeed. The Hollywood psychopath we had to have before Quentin Tarantino. Only another 16 months to go. Glad you're back.

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  7. One of my favourite actors. He outlasted everyone from McHales Navy too...

    Borgnine reveals his secret to longevity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3I_PeLNzxNQ

    Wild Bunch was a great movie. It remains so vivid I can play it over in my head. The bridge scene where dozens of men on horseback fall into the river is something that could never be done again in our enlightened days. And the scene where the Wild Bunch's dad, Tom Bosley, wins back the money from the card sharks. Great stuff.

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    1. and the part where Alice helps Dutch overcome his latent homosexuality is no less wonderful.

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  8. Sorry Prof, Warren Oates and Ben Johnson were the Gorch Brothers. Strother Martin was one of the scavengers who pursued them with Robert Ryan. Oates died in the 1980s so your point is still valid.

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  9. McHale's Navy was what I remember him most for, and that wasn't a bad thing, either.

    Any movie with him in it was bound to be good to watch.

    And I remember Marty, too.

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  10. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.July 9, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    I saw Marty at a film festival. What struck me about it was that in that era turning thirty was seen as the death knell for women's marital hopes. It was a very touching tale and Borgnine played a wonderful caring role.

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  11. Borgnine was fantastic in the The Simpsons episode where Bart joins the Boy Scouts of America.

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  12. O/T Pof- Blair hasn't updated since last Thurs, has anyone any news on his whereabouts, if he's ok etc.?

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  13. mojo, Unrepentant YankJuly 10, 2012 at 12:25 AM

    "Well, I think we oughta say a few words over the dear departed - and maybe a few hymns would be in order. And a church social, with ice cream..."
    -- The Wild Bunch

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    1. "It's not what you promise, it's who you promise it to."

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  14. Anonymous - Blair is probably busy.
    There's been moderation last night by the looks of things.

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  15. Strother Martin was in the movie - and he is dead, so perhaps deserves his mention.

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  16. There can be few books with a better title than Peckinpah's biography: If They Move, Kill 'Em.

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  17. Bunyip,it is to whom you promise.
    Ratty.

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  18. As a point of honour, I'm not referring to anything for this, but the exchange goes:

    Pike: "He gave his word!"
    Dutch: "To a railroad!"
    Pike: "He gave his word!"
    Dutch: "What matters is who ya give it to!"

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  19. ~~ It's his word.

    ~~ That ain't what counts! It's who you give it TO!

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  20. Thanks, Professor, I'd forgotten that Mr Borgnine was in The Wild Bunch. He does deserve a better lasting monument than McHale's Navy.

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  21. To join the heavenly choir?
    You is funny, you is.

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  22. The Wild Bunch is a great film - though personally, I'd put the opening scene just ahead of the final showdown (as good as that is).

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