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December 03, 2010

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D Cairns

This is clearly sexist because you don't have any pictures of Joe Don Baker's nipples.

The Siren

You do know what this is, don't you? Because I'm outing you right here.

It's a fashion post. Good job.

Nobody ever burned bras (you know that, right?) but the braless look was (ahem) big in the 70s, just as four-hook-closure underwire-overwire-wide-strap harnesses were big in the 50s and into the Kennedy era. The kind of clothes they're wearing in those screen grabs (I am not trying for double entendres, so I just want everyone to pretend they aren't there, 'kay?) lend themselves to no bra--somewhat loose, knitted or flowy, conforming to the body. You go braless in a Mad Men-era dress, with darts meant to be outlining something that's hanging a couple of inches below the seams, and all you look is old.

Now, if you wanted to turn this into serious film-costume analysis, and of course that's the whole point ISN'T IT GLENN, you could look at (when you tear yourself away) how the character moves when she's braless--is she free and easy with it, or embarrassed, or a combination? Shoulders back or shoulders hunched? Does she protect them at any key moment? Because let me tell you, you're out braless and some kind of fight breaks out, you protect the girls--something hitting an unbound breast HURTS.

I am tempted to go over to my pal Annieytown's Blogdorf Goodman high-fashion blog and point out this post, but I will see how this thread turns out first. Not that I don't trust you guys. I'm all about trusting male intentions. Truly.

cmholbrook

As my 5 year old would say: Boobies!

Peter Nellhaus

Thank you for keeping us abreast on the outstanding qualities of this film.

pvitari

Some ladies -- well, one lady at least -- went braless in the 1950s.

I.e. Kim Novak, green sweater, Vertigo.

Not to mention other places:
http://www.allposters.com/IMAGES/EVTPOD/MBDEDDU-EC004.jpg

Lord Henry

Always liked THE OUTFIT, especially for the ending, and the presence of various film noir stalwarts, most notably the lovely Jane Greer. Thought Flynn's BEST SELLER was pretty much underrated, too.

Joe Don Baker gets lucky with the yummy Ms North in Don Siegel's terrific CHARLEY VARRICK as well, I seem to remember.

bill

You know this DVD is already being sold only as used copies on Amazon? How did that happen so fast?

I've never seen THE OUTFIT, and I'm a huge Westlake/Stark fan. I've gathered that Parker's (or "Macklin's", I guess) motivation is a good deal different than it was in the novel. They give him family, and all that. Which is not to say I don't want to see THE OUTFIT, because I really, really, really do, but I wish someone would adapt a Parker novel with Parker as he was written. POINT BLANK comes closest, but even that film has the jarring (to Stark fans, anyway, or to ME, anyway) flashback to a young Parker (or "Walker", I guess) on the docks, smiling at his young soon-to-be bride.

I'm nitpicking, I suppose, but I would love for somebody to go full-bore with something like THE JUGGER, or even another adaptation of THE HUNTER that includes the scene where Parker accidentally kills an entirely innocent and blameless woman and is upset only because her death is a hassle to him.

And CHARLEY VARRICK is a REALLY interesting movie. I need to see that again.

Also, yes, boobies.

Tom Beshear

Also, of course, the character Lee Marvin plays in Point Blank is dead, which is a wee bit different from the novel.

bstrong

Juggs—sorry, I mean The Jugger—has been made into a movie, though not one you could exactly call "full-bore." It's Godard's Made in USA.

bill

@Tom - Is he??? I haven't seen the film in forever...

@bstrong - Yeah, I know about MADE IN USA. I haven't seen that film, for a number of reasons, at the top of that list being that I love Westlake but do not love Godard. THE JUGGER, though, is one of the top two or three crime novels I've ever read.

Jeff McMahon

Now we know why it's called "The Outfit".

bstrong

@bill - If you don't like Godard, then yeah you should continue to stay away from Made in USA. The story's connection to the Jugger is little more than rudimentary and tenuous and will mean nothing to those who have not already read the novel. I like Westlake/Stark a lot, but I'm kind of surprised you'd rate the book that high among all crime novels. What would be the other two out of the three, just out of curiosity?

James Keepnews

Would love to read Glenn's take on the man-boob-heavy (and otherwise) JDB. It took me many years -- + getting past things like Joel Hodgson's swansong MST3K episode filleting MITCHELL -- to grasp the surprisingly understated talents of Mr. Baker. Admittedly, you had to tease them out of unlikely places, like THE NATURAL, Scorcese's CAPE FEAR, the original BBC EDGE OF DARKNESS (a personal favorite -- shame BBC America doesn't show more things in its back catalog like this, and TRAFFIK, and...) and, to be freakin' sure, CHARLEY VARRICK, arguably Matthau's last non-somnambulist performance.

VARRICK is very much the tough-minded little corker, too sunny to be called noir but too cynical and malicious aforethought to be called much else. And JDB only need light a pipe to suggest the inexorable mortal threat staring down our hapless bank robbers. I find it near-compulsively watchable, Andy Sullivan's insufferably graceless scene(ery)-chewing notwithstanding.

bill

@bstrong - I'm not prepared to go about this scientifically right at the moment, but I might rank Willeford's THE SHARK-INFESTED CUSTARD and Hammett's RED HARVEST for starters (and that's if I wanted to go for variety, because honestly Westlake could take up a whole lot of room all by his lonesome).

bstrong

@bill — Well, I cannot argue with that. Those are both among my own favorite novels full stop. I'm always thrilled to come across another Willeford fan, and Red Harvest is, well, Hammett. Ever read any Charlie Huston? He's a contemporary writer keeping, IMHO, the tradition alive.

colinr

It is posts like this, highlighting certain, um, aspects of the film, that make the lack of a Blu-Ray release of The Outfit even more upsetting!

bill

@bstrong - No, I haven't read Huston, though I'm aware of him and plan on giving him a look. More often than not, I'm disappointed with the current crop of crime writers, but that doesn't stop me from trying, all wide-eyed and full of hope.

I found my way to Willeford through the film MIAMI BLUES, which plot-wise is pretty close, but tonally is way off (though I still love it). I sought out the book because I liked the film so much, and it was one of those "Who IS this guy???" moments. THE SHARK-INFESTED CUSTARD grows in my estimation, pretty much with every passing year. Absolutely skin-crawling, that one.

DUH

@James Keepnews, I still haven't made it to the stage where I can appreciate Joe Don Baker without thinking of MST3K's episode on _Mitchell_. I don't think I've seen it for more than 10 years, but remembering it still makes me laugh. MMMMMMMMMITCHELL! And now i see that the whole thing seems to be available free on Google Video. Delightful.

Bruce Reid

bill: "...I wish someone would adapt a Parker novel with Parker as he was written."

I'd also like someone to make a funny Dortmunder film. (OK, The Hot Rock's not bad, but Redford doesn't click for me in it.)

And I'll third the, well love's certainly not the word, for The Shark-Infested Custard. Scariest book I've ever read.

jbryant

James: You meant Andy Robinson. But yeah, CHARLEY VARRICK is one of my favorite films; just pure 70s crime film awesomeness.

A great Joe Don Baker vehicle is Phil Karlson's FRAMED, which got much love at Dave Kehr's place upon its DVD release a while back. Can't remember if Connie Van Dyke had visible means of support in that or not -- to the DVD player!

bill

What I find so interesting about CHARLEY VARRICK (some mild spoilers here, but nothing that occurs past, say, the half hour mark) is that in the opening bank robbery, Varrick's wife kills a cop (and not even in a shoot-out, but because the cop was about to figure out they're robbing a bank), and is mortally wounded herself. Later, Matthau is shown mourning her, even though it's sort of hard for the audience to feel much sympathy for the woman under the circumstances. Later still, that cop is given a moment as the detectives swarming the scene of the crime are given a moment to ponder his body, sadly (saying a few kind, but angry, words about the man). Yet Varrick is our "hero", because Joe Don Baker is "worse". Than Varrick, maybe, but worse than his wife?

In this sense, I think CHARLEY VARRICK is a very honest movie in its portrayal of its characters -- Varrick's wife may have been a horrible person, but that doesn't mean nobody cared for her. This idea being opposed to a criminals-are-the-good-guys/cops-are-the-bad-guys type of situation. Which would have been a bit odd anyway, coming from Don Siegel.

James Keepnews

jb -- Right you are, wrong am I, thanks for the correction. I'm sure I've seen Mr. Robinson since, maybe better but, wow, his CV performance is one for the camp bleachers, possibly parking lot.

bstrong

@ Bill - I read the Miami Blues series late in my discovery of Willeford. I came across the Burnt Orange Heresy first and bought it on a whim and got sucked in and soon after devoured everything I could find. But every last book of his is interesting, even the worst ones, and nothing compares to Shark. I'm still dying to read the first draft of the first Miami Blues sequel—the one that, like Shark, his publisher said no way to.

And count me as Charley Varrick fan too. It's about time we got a decent DVD release. My pan and scan copy sucks.

The Confidence Man

"titular" -- nice.

Asher

This is also true of Karen Black in FAMILY PLOT. I guess that counts as 70s American genre cinema.

Grant L

I never liked seeing Sheree North turn up in movies and TV shows when I was a kid...she looked and acted way too much like a couple of relatives I had who were full-blown alcoholics and could get seriously sullen and unpredictable...

Stephen Whitty

Getting back to those first two original screen grabs, a small tip of the hat, please, to the late Sheree North.

Signed up by Hollywood by Fox in attempts at intimidating Marilyn Monroe (much as Columbia tried to use Kim Novak to intimidate Rita Hayworth)she had her own particular appeal -- legitimately tough (she began her career as an underage chorus girl), nicely physical (she was always an excellent dancer) and coolly self-mocking.

Fox dropped her after a few years, and she went on to mostly do TV, particularly it seemed whenever the character description read "a great broad." Yet by all accounts, and with all due respect, she probably was. As well as one of those authentic American types who seem in rare onscreen supply these days...

christian

"in which guys like Joe Don Baker could conceivably get lucky with women like Sheree North."

This was in The Land Before Justin Timberlake.

That Fuzzy Bastard

Re: christian's comment: I was a child of the 80s, so one great shock in learning about 70s cinema was discovering an era when guys like Donald Sutherland and Elliot Gould were considered leading men---sex symbols, even! And when women like Sheree North and Karen Black, were considered sexy leading ladies, not ready-for-mom-roles. It was only after seeing DON'T LOOK NOW that I understood how depressing it must have been to watch Nagel-print faces like Tom Cruise become the gold standard for attractive leads.

The Siren

Pvitari, bless you for attempting to uplift (I'm so sorry) this thread back into costume tendency. Yes, the divine Kim did occasionally go without, and there's probably other examples. But I'll note that she also did in it knits, AND going braless as Judy in Vertigo made a point about that character vs Madeleine. The whole free-and-easy, why-bother attitude to bras came back with the 70s. I say came back because of course, if Glenn got the itch, he could easily do a Pre-Code post like this too, and even post-Code with someone like Jean Harlow.

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