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by Jim Beaver
July 25, 2012 12:08 AM
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This is the third installment of BEAVER'S LODGE, a series of video essays narrated by actor Jim Beaver which will offer critical takes on some of Beaver's favorite films. Jim Beaver is an actor, playwright, and film historian. Best known as Ellsworth on HBO’s Emmy-award winning series DEADWOOD and as Bobby Singer on SUPERNATURAL, he has also starred in such series as HARPER'S ISLAND, JOHN FROM CINCINNATI, and THUNDER ALLEY and appeared in nearly forty motion pictures. You can follow Jim on Twitter.

There was a time when a certain kind of adventure film was popular. The 1960s were its heyday. Sometimes they were realistic, or even drawn from real life. Sometimes they were fanciful. But almost always they were intelligent and enormously entertaining. I haven't seen a new example of that kind of film in 30 or 40 years. Maybe they exist, maybe I've simply forgotten them or never knew of them. But I don't think they make that kind of movie anymore (though I suspect Hollywood thinks it still makes them). I'm thinking of movies like The Dirty Dozen, Von Ryan's Express, The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, The Guns of Navarone, and this one, The Professionals.

The Professionals is about four rugged experts in various fields, hired by a rich man to rescue his wife, abducted by a Mexican revolutionary near the Texas border around 1917. Lee Marvin, Woody Strode, Robert Ryan, and Burt Lancaster are the charismatic title figures, each particularly well-equipped for one aspect of the mission. Ralph Bellamy is their wealthy employer, Claudia Cardinale his buxom Latina wife, and Jack Palance is the revolutionary, Raza, with whom Marvin and Lancaster once rode. And Marie Gomez is Chiquita, a delectable tough girl, *really* tough, in a way that suggests it's her way of life, not something the script called for her to do.

Accompanied by a jaunty, rousing score by Maurice Jarre, the film by Richard Brooks is delirious masculine fun, an adventure filled with derring-do, witty quips, and just enough pseudo-depth to make it seem like it means something beyond the fun. I can't speak for women, but it's the kind of movie no guy can pass up, no matter how many times he's seen it. They don't make 'em like this anymore. And it's a shame.

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  • Sheils | August 16, 2012 4:03 PMReply

    I'd like to see an award for best deadpan delivery of of a line carefully synched to video. I'd nominate "but it's the kind of movie no guy can pass up.. @ 3;43-3;45!

    Well done!

  • Ron | July 28, 2012 2:27 AMReply

    I did not like Supernatural TV Series, but I kept watching it, as I saw this extraordinary actor playing the Bobby role on one episode. I did not know his name, and I was trying to look for him in Google, and his name is Jim Beaver. Wow! He is amazing, with his gorgeous face he is able to express more than the words, who must say in that chapter. Unfortunately, Bobby is killed. I do not why, as this beautiful actor was the main figure on that chapter. I saw him in Deadwood also, and since then I love him for ever.

  • oh. | July 25, 2012 6:49 PMReply

    Man, does anyone else feel reeeally sleepy after watching this?

  • Dennis Fry | July 25, 2012 5:22 PMReply

    Thanks for the reviews. These are just the right size clips. Do you have a good source for finding these films? Jim, you are a great inspiration. I have actually used your example to get back into the photography that I had left behind for too many years.

  • Jim Beaver | July 26, 2012 2:46 AM

    Dennis, almost everything is available on Netflix, etc. Or for purchase on Amazon. I don't think any of the pieces I'm reviewing aren't available in such manner. Good for you on the photography!

  • No | July 25, 2012 11:22 AMReply

    Yeah, you're right: they don't make them like that anymore. I'm surprised that The Wild Bunch didn't make the list. I suspect that Star Wars-like films and superhero movies have eclipsed those type of adventure films. Too bad.

  • Jim Beaver | July 26, 2012 2:48 AM

    The Wild Bunch didn't make the cut because it's darker than the kinds of things I mentioned. If there's something that got left off that shouldn't have, it's probably The Guns of Navarone. The kinds of movies I remember seeing as a kid, then coming home from the theatre and playing the story out with my friends for days to come.

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