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TWO PETER O'TOOLE CAMEOS BEFORE LAWRENCE OF ARABIA

THE SAVAGE INNOCENTS Score: *1/2
THE SAVAGE INNOCENTS, directed by veteran auteur Nicholas Ray, who would, a decade later, dry up his Hollywood resources and, for a little while, live in the home of his former REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE actor Dennis Hopper after the success of EASY RIDER...

So perhaps it's not altogether shocking the man who once contributed to classic cinema was no longer relevant — this motion picture, centering on an Eskimo played by Anthony Quinn, is one of the worst piles of husky dung ever created: seeming as if Jack London wrote a novel on soiled toilet paper, we suffer through an hour of Quinn's lone nomad (in the snow he's a snowmad) hunting cute seals and, after so-much brooding, landing a wife...

Before they set out across the Arabian desert, O'Toole
Though mostly shot in an igloo (a cheap set made up to look like the white-block interior), there's one sequence where Quinn gets drunk at a bar and dances to that era's boogie-woogie.

And we've buried the lead because the third act could have been something special since, once our man is falsely accused of cold-blooded murder, two (eventually one) guards take him across the icy landscape to turn him over to the authorities, and it's Peter O'Toole that survives. Scenes where both near-future LAWRENCE OF ARABIA stars (who'd become living legends three-years later) debate race and ethics has real potential — only thing is, O'Toole's voice is dubbed by an American actor who sounds like an easy listening disc jockey. So be incredibly warned — this is not a Peter O'Toole feature for fans for the same reason he insisted his name not appear on the opening credits: despite ultimately providing the secondary leading role. Shame!

Peter O'Toole in KIDNAPPED Score: ****
KIDNAPPED is much, much better. In fact it's pretty damn good. A Disney adventure directed by their stock filmmaker Robert Stevenson who gets full credit somehow for adapting the famous Robert Louis Stevenson (no relation) classic about a naive English farm boy who, like CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS, sets out for the good life but gets taken by roughneck sea dogs after betrayal by his cunning, crazy uncle, and the hook's in this story's very own Long John Silver... Peter Finch as a daring-do rebel has terrific chemistry with James MacArthur a decade before HAWAII FIVE-O and "Book 'Em Danno!"

Taking place in the swashbuckling 1700's, there's a neat, swift pace and always an obstacle for the rebel and his "student" to champion through onto the next near-miss catastrophe albeit with a feeling that everything will pan out nicely, which deletes some of the suspense and makes KIDNAPPED rather laidback despite the practically non-stop, heated pace. And this time around, during one seven-minute sequence, Peter O'Toole has his own voice yet we mostly hear his bagpipes (having been hired for that particular skill) during a sound-off dual with Finch, and wins, keeping a prideful expression that embodies a unique aura of self confidence that he'd bring into bigger projects after garnering a career and a name — which was right around the corner...
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