Written by / 6/19/2022 / No comments / , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

JOHN WAYNE CRASHES LONDON FOR THE COP FLICK 'BRANNIGAN'

John Wayne in BRANNIGAN Year: 1975 Rating: ****

After supposedly passing up DIRTY HARRY, John Wayne made two tough cop films (tough films about tough cops) and this is the last as the first is McQ, a Seattle detective who stays put while this Chicago lawman is sent to England to pick up a hometown gangster, his constant rival...

Though more along the lines of BULLITT than either of the two HARRY flicks, BRANNIGAN isn't as much a police procedural, instead mostly centering on the stranger in a strange land premise, but without following the usual fish-outta-water tropes since he gets adjusted to this new country's rules... like no handguns... by simply not following them... and he's never really effected by the colorful foreign surroundings visible from riding shotgun in an unmarked vehicle driven by pretty female sidekick Judy Geeson...

John Wayne in BRANNIGAN

As he gets frowned upon by the token frowning police chief — in this case Scotland Yard's Richard Attenborough — the performances are good but the intrusive music gets in the way. Instead of the wah-wah funk common in 70's cop flicks, there's a noisily dramatic horn section that blares when the main antagonist is shown...

A sinister hit man with an unnerving crunching theme similar to whenever something went wrong for Gene Hackman in THE FRENCH CONNECTION, or when Al Pacino's bodyguard stalked Lee Strasburg in the Cuban hospital from THE GODFATHER PART II: But this killer tries killing Brannigan in more creatively suspenseful methods rather than being up-close and personal, keeping pace within the Thriller genre while poised for random Action including a saloon fight.

John Wayne in BRANNIGAN

Overall there's too much time wasted on a Piccadilly Circus entrapment scene (although England is shot wonderfully here, almost like a travelogue for tourist Americans, like Wayne's) Brannigan points out is a waste of time; as well as the usual cop tricks of bullying information from various reluctant lowlifes ranging from Brian Glover (who mentions Wayne in AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON) to HI-JACKERS star Anthony Booth to STRAW DOGS baddie Del Henney, here the clumsy weak link of a kidnapping duo led by fiercely calculating James Booth...

Meanwhile our prime antagonist John Vernon is really a peripheral McGuffin that our man's chasing, as well as being chased around in this entertaining-enough cop venture that would have worked much better at a sparse 90-minutes.  

Kathryn Leigh Scott with John Wayne in Brannigan with Ralph Meeker

KATHRYN LEIGH SCOTT, as a lovely and classy stewardess named Miss Allen, telling John Wayne's Brannigan to "Follow me" as he quickly, knowingly, flirtatiously replies, "Anywhere," also shares the brief yet memorable scene with bitter Chicago police chief Ralph Meeker, shuffling the six-foot-four albatross to England and thus out of his hair: 

"At the same time I filmed BRANNIGAN," Kathryn writes via Facebook Messenger, "I was doing HARVEY  [the TV-movie remake] in the West End with Jimmy Stewart, Wayne's close friend. Jimmy got a kick out of it, and I enjoyed doing the scene with John. Unfortunately, since the scene had to do with BRANNIGAN carrying a concealed firearm aboard the flight, much of the sequence of several scenes was cut. As always, a great memory working with a film legend. I remember we both ordered tuna sandwiches for lunch."

Daniel Pilon and Barry Dennen in BRANNIGAN
John Wayne in BRANNIGAN wtih Pauline Delaney
John Wayne in BRANNIGAN
Straw Dogs' Del Henney in BRANNIGAN
John Vernon and Miguel Ferrer in BRANNIGAN
Daniel Pilon in BRANNIGAN
John Wayne, Richard Attenborough and Del Henney in BRANNIGAN
John Wayne, Richard Attenborough in BRANNIGAN
James Booth and Del Henney in BRANNIGAN
Grainy through-the-front-window shot of Judy Geeson with John Wayne as BRANNIGAN
John Wayne and Judy Geeson in BRANNIGAN
John Wayne, Judy Geeson and Richard Attenborough in BRANNIGAN
Kino Lorber Blu Ray of BRANNIGAN: don't own it
Twilight Time Blu Ray of BRANNIGAN (owns it gladly/madly)
Brian Glover in Brannigan who'd mention John "The Alamo" Wayne in American Werewolf in London
STRAW DOGS villain expendable in the John Wayne flick BRANNIGAN
John Wayne crashes England with a yellow car from BRANNIGAN
John Wayne in BRANNIGAN
Judy Geeson in BRANNIGAN
John Wayne in BRANNIGAN

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