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JOHN WAYNE GOES TO ENGLAND IN THE COP FLICK 'BRANNIGAN'

John Wayne stays tough in England as BRANNIGAN Year: 1975
After supposedly passing up DIRTY HARRY, John Wayne made two tough cop films (tough films about tough cops), and this is the second: The first being McQ, centering on a Seattle detective who stays put while this Chicago lawman is sent to England to pick up a Chicago gangster...

Though more along the lines of BULLITT than either of the two DIRTY HARRY films that had already come out, BRANNIGAN, once again named after John Wayne's character's last name, isn't as much a police procedural while mostly centering on the stranger in a strange land premise, but without following the usual fish-outta-water elements since he gets adjusted to this new country's rules, like not carrying a handgun, by simply not following them. And he's never really effected by the foreign surroundings visible from riding shotgun in an unmarked vehicle driven by pretty female sidekick Judy Geeson...

Judy Geeson in BRANNIGAN Review Rates: ***1/2
Then, as he gets frowned on by the token frowning police chief — in this case Scotland Yard's Richard Attenborough — the performances are good but the intrusive music gets in their way. Instead of the wah-wah guitar funk that began in SHAFT and continued in crime films throughout the 70's, there's a jovial, jazzy horn section that only lets up when the main antagonist is shown...

A tall, formidable hit man with a halting, unnerving 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 "creative" methods than being up-close and personal, keeping pace within the Thriller genre while poised for sporadic Action, including a Western style bar fight.

Lesley-Anne Down and The Shining office guy Barry Dennen
Overall there's too much time wasted on a Piccadilly Circus entrapment scene that Brannigan even points out was in vain (the music louder than ever for no apparent reason), as well as the usual cop tricks of bullying information from various reluctant lowlifes. 

Meanwhile, the Chicago mobster, played by John Vernon, is really a peripheral McGuffin our man's chasing while being chased around in this entertaining-enough cop venture that would have worked much better at a sparse 90-minutes. And while mostly filled with an array of gritty male characters, there are a few other "birds" beside Geeson including Leslie Anne Down as an extremely unlucky hooker hooked up with the perverted assassin, and another ingenue providing a bonus mini-interview quote...

Kathryn Leigh Scott with John Wayne
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 frowning Chicago police chief Ralph Meeker, who's shuffling the six-foot-four albatross to England and out of his hair.

"At the same time I filmed Brannigan, I was doing HARVEY in the West End (the TV-movie remake from 1972) 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."
Ralph Meeker with Kathryn Leigh Scott and John Wayne in BRANNIGAN
Grainy through-the-front-window shot of Judy Geeson with John Wayne as BRANNIGAN
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