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WRENCH IN THE GEARS: BAD GUYS IN MOVIES ABOUT BAD GUYS

Al Lettieri double whammy
You know a character is bad when not even the bad guys can trust them... And so, here's a list of five villains who throw their dirty wrench into the already crooked gears of criminals we're rooting for, starting with...

This Butler Did It
1) AL LETTIERI (THE GODFATHER & THE GETAWAY): Al Lettieri not only champions this list, he scores two-fold... First, his Victor Sollozzo in THE GODFATHER attempts a risky yet lucrative deal with the most powerful mob boss/family in New York; and then goes after that aging kingpin, Marlon Brando's Don Corleone... Making Sollozzo a heroin importer who, with only a few connections, tries overriding an otherwise unbreakable system... Which takes guts, and one helluva vile villain... And if you think that's bad, wait till you see what he does to Sally Struther's small town veterinarian husband in Sam Peckinpah's heist/road flick, THE GETAWAY... As Rudy Butler, hired by Ben Johnson to keep a narrowed eye on Steve McQueen's Doc McCoy, Lettieri is possibly the slimiest alley cat ever to crawl from the slime of the primordial 70's crime genre, and that's saying something... twice!

Stuck In The Middle
2) MICHAEL MADSEN (RESERVOIR DOGS): Never has an otherwise jovial song inspired such heated venom and awful behavior... That is if you don't count what Malcolm McDowell does to Classical Music throughout A CLOCKWORK ORANGE... But this is another timeless pop culture phenom, RESERVOIR DOGS, Quentin Tarantino's first and still possibly his best movie, centering on a gang of jewel thieves after a heist gone wrong, and, holed-up in a warehouse, we find out very soon who the dirtiest of the dirty is: Madsen's Vic Vega aka Mr. Blonde not only tortures a kidnapped cop but he messed up the robbery to begin with... And connecting Madsen to Lettieri: Just as Al got the GETAWAY role from his GODFATHER catapult, Michael played Al's character in the GETAWAY remake, and basically landed that gig because of DOGS

The Dirtiest Rat
3) HUMPHREY BOGART (ROARING TWENTIES): Before becoming his own very distinguished version of a likable yet flawed, often crooked leading man ala James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart was Cagney's nefarious second fiddle in the classic Raoul Walsh gangster flick ROARING TWENTIES... As our hero's war buddy turned rum running partner, he still couldn't be trusted... Even from the beginning, during a raging battle on German soil, Cagney had a really bad feeling about Bogart's George Hally.

Wild Bunch Wild Card
4) BO HOPKINS (THE WILD BUNCH): Well hell, his nickname should have been warning enough for the gang of titular bank robbers, led by William  Holden and including Ernest Borgnine, Warren Oates, and Ben Johnson...  

Related to one of the central bandits, Crazy Lee lives up to his title, treating the bank hostages like garbage and making Bo really stand out amongst the bigger stars... For even though he checks out early in this beloved Sam Peckinpah Western epic, he leaves quite an impression. Connection: Bo Hopkins played Al Lettieri's partner in THE GETAWAY, and doesn't have a chance to live to regret it. 

Why He Outta!
5) STEVE COCHRAN (WHITE HEAT): Points should be given if you snake the main character's girl... And what a woman in Virginia Mayo... As you see in this pic, Steve Cochran's handsome and rugged, downright dirty Big Ed literally holds the Mayo, and not in a very respectful manner... 

With Virginia Mayo in White Heat
And in his own sneaky fashion, he's a lover, not a fighter... But he has backstabbing plans to take out James Cagney's hyped-up, resilient, calculating, cold-blooded and yet sympathetic criminal Cody Jarrett to take over the gang that Cody returns to after a prison break, and most important, to keep the not so sweet Virginia for himself... He even did away with Jarrett's gun moll mother, although not without some prompting... Guess Virginia Mayo should be included on this list right along with him... NOTE: If you think of characters we missed, we missed nothing... This is part one of many, many posts concerning this, so, stay tuned!
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