Friday, February 18, 2022

TinselTales: Hair-Raising Gossip!

I think by now, most of us are familiar with the epic screamfest Valley of the Dolls (1967), the gloriously garish film presentation of Jacqueline Susann's runaway best-seller of the same name.  Brimming over with late-'60s clothing, hairstyles and makeup and filled with quotable dialogue, it's the pinnacle of tasteful tastelessness, coming as it did just when the standards for what could be said and shown on-screen were loosening considerably, yet studio pictures (such as this one's 20th Century Fox) still sought a degree of restraint in their product.  During one particularly howling moment, Patty Duke (as the vitriolic singing actress Neely O'Hara) comes home stumbling and drunk to find her husband naked in their pool with another woman.

Unable to locate her hubby upon arriving home late at night, she hears suspicious sounds while grabbing yet another drink.
Having already been aware that her husband had been gay before their marriage, Duke is particularly perturbed to find that he's cheating on her with another woman!
During her tirade against the gal who's been caught skinny-dipping with her spouse, Duke empties a bottle of booze into the water to "disinfect" it.
When she confronts her husband (Alexander Davion), he explains that his little plaything makes him feel "ten feet tall."

I've loved this movie from the first moment I ever laid eyes on it (sometime in the late-1980s) and also enjoyed reading the source novel. Recently, as part of a Christmas present (derived from Amazon gift cards), I received and read the book Dolls! Dolls! Dolls! by Stephen Rebello. If you don't know, Rebello was once half of "The Hollywood Kids," gossip mavens of Movieline magazine (basically the best film-oriented magazine ever to have been published as far as I'm concerned!) He and his late writing partner Edward Margulies interviewed celebs who were often past their "best if sold by" date and would run saucy blind items in their column. They also had a regular feature called "Bad Movies We Love" which led to the compilation book of the same name, my own cultural Bible... Rebello had done a very well-received book on Psycho (1960) in 1990 before penning this highly in-depth examination of Dolls. (The Contents page shown above-right from Movieline depicts The Opposite Sex, 1956, as that month's "Bad Movie We Love" and Mamie Van Doren as the Q&A subject, along with a feature interview by Rebello with then-hot Sharon Stone.)

Anyway, the scenario involving Duke walking in on her cheating husband was hardly a novel concept (in fiction or in life!), but in Dolls! Dolls! Dolls!, Rebello made a suggestion as to what inspired Susann to include that interlude in her novel. Nestled in the fact-heavy tome of his was this gossipy nugget:
"Kingsley" refers to one of the scriptwriters assigned to adapting the novel for the screen. Rebello quotes his close associate Margulies for this tinsel-tale, which I must say I had never heard before (nor could I locate any reference to it anyplace else!) But it was so startling I just had to examine it a little bit further.

Ida Lupino was a noted actress, born in London to a family long-immersed in show business. She had no longing to be a performer herself, preferring writing, but was pressured into it as a result of her family legacy. Nevertheless, she excelled and was playing juicy supporting roles on stage and screen while still in her mid-teens! Initially working in England, she ultimately wound up in Hollywood in 1933 and was presented in Search for Beauty (1934) as one of many young people who exemplified physical excellence. Her hair bleached platinum and her eyebrows tweezed nearly away, she scarcely resembled the woman we'd later come to know.

Her costar in Search for Beauty was the deliriously handsome Buster Crabbe, who later became known for his serials as Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers.

As far as I'm concerned, the search for beauty definitely came to its conclusion when the cameras landed on Mr. Crabbe...!

You'll forgive this brief diversion from the topic at hand, I'm sure?

Eventually reverting to a more believable hair color and allowing her brows to come back in, Lupino emerged in the 1940s (following a breakthrough in 1939's The Light That Failed) as a popular and dependable leading lady in many key films, many of which have only grown in appreciation over the years. They include: They Drive by Night (1940), High Sierra (1941), The Hard Way (1943), Devotion (1946) and Road House (1948.) Slim and pretty, Lupino had a lifelong disdain for her looks, never finding herself beautiful, though movie cameras sometimes proved otherwise. She had particularly lovely eyes, which reflected light in a striking way on screen.

Lupino had been married to actor Louis Hayward from 1938-1945 and to writer Collier Young from 1948-1951, but she left him for Howard Duff. She was actually pregnant with Duff's child when they wed in 1951 and their only child, Bridget, was born the following year. She and Duff had met during the filming of 1950's Woman in Hiding.

From the outside looking in, The Duffs were happy as clams. They made four more movies together in the 1950s, worked on TV in the same shows and dove into the movie magazine publicity machine with gusto.

They even starred in a TV sitcom of their own called Mr. Adams and Eve, a series created and produced by her ex-husband Young using (and exaggerating) events from her current marriage into comic showbiz fodder. It ran for two seasons.

Their off-screen life was quite tumultuous, however. (Scene above is from their collaboration with humpy Steve Cochran, Private Hell 36, 1954.) There were disagreements, blowups, separations... These were followed by periods of happy reconciliation. Lupino was known to have a stubborn streak and Duff was rough & ready with his fists, occasionally indulging in physical altercations over this and that. But did he really ever step out on her with a man??

Forlornly handsome Duff parlayed his service in the US Army Air Corp as a radio broadcaster into a post-war gig on the radio with "The Adventures of Sam Spade." His rich voice was familiar to many a listener from 1946-1950. (He also pursued work in movies from 1947 on. His debut in Brute Force, 1947, billed him as "Radio's Sam Spade" Howard Duff.)

Duff had long been known as a real ladies man and was very fond of puss - no, I won't say it! Ha ha!! But nonetheless he was crawling in it during his early days as a radio and motion picture actor.

One of his most publicized romances early on was with feisty Ava Gardner. The two had a roller-coaster relationship (as did most anyone when it came to her!) Many years later, these two reunited on Knots Landing as the parents of William Devane's character!

Thanks to their affair and the resultant pregnancy, there wasn't a lot of choice at that time when it came to marrying Lupino. But regardless of anything else, there was genuine feeling between them. They clearly enjoyed one another's company. Still, speculation has also been raised that his marrying an established and much-liked star such as Lupino helped him avoid being blacklisted during the McCarthy witch hunt. You see, Duff had been named in the infamous publication Red Channels as a possible Communist. And Universal did not renew his contract when it expired. But what about this Leif Erickson thing?

6'3" Leif Erickson was a US Navy combat photographer who was shot down twice during WWII and earned Purple Hearts in the process. Working as a cowboy in some Zane Grey serials, he was married to the highly unstable Frances Farmer from 1936-1942, followed by a month-long union with actress Margaret Hayes. In 1945, he wed for a final time, which lasted until his death in 1986.

He and Duff did know one another, working together in 1949's Johnny Stool Pigeon. That's Erickson standing near the coffin, with Duff at crotch level. (You know I had to choose this pic for this post!) Could they really have become fond enough of one another to later be discovered canoodling by a distraught Miss Lupino...??

Erickson enjoyed a long career in movies and also on stage (he originated the role of the overcompensatingly masculine coach in Broadway's Tea and Sympathy, repeating the part in the watered down film version.) He also popped up in fun flicks like Strait-Jacket (1964), The Carpetbaggers (1964) and I Saw What You Did (1965) among many others. He's probably best-known, though, for his leading role on the TV western The High Chaparral, seen here with costar Cameron Mitchell. We've already taken note of his eye-popping "gun" elsewhere in Poseidon's Underworld.

You can see for yourself from the pics of Lupino and Duff that she took to wearing (sometimes okay, sometimes horrible) wigs during the course of their marriage. She had suffered a bout of polio upon her arrival in Hollywood (allegedly attributed to contaminated swimming pools!! Scotch anyone?!) But was that why her hair fell out later? Or was it delayed effects from all that early bleaching? Or is there something to this lascivious rumor?

On paper, The Duff's marriage lasted till 1984, but it really ended in 1966. Even separated, they continued to work together occasionally, such as in this 1968 appearance on Batman as Dr. Cassandra and her husband Cabala, who are able to turn invisible and commit robberies.

Duff was always in demand for television (and was a far greater actor than ever given credit.) He starred on The Felony Squad, did some fine work on Police Story and had a moment of glory as the slimy villain Titus Semple on the short-lived Flamingo Road (seen here with Mark Harmon and Christina Raines.) He died of a heart attack in 1990 at the age of 76, not long after doing The Golden Girls (as the subject of one of Sophia's jinxes.)

Lupino also acted often, but usually to pay the bills and to allow her the leeway to write and direct. She was an accomplished director of tight melodramas with touchy themes like bigamy and rape. Her body of work as a director has been cherished by many film fans and critics and is considered progressive for the time. Those who worked for her were generally highly appreciative of her insight and guidance. She exited the screen by 1979 and her final years were punctuated by alcohol abuse and ill health. She died in 1995 of colon cancer at age 77.

I haven't solved anything about this rumor, only examined it a bit as I said I would. It says a lot about "the telephone game" of gossip in general; how the story gets distorted slightly with each telling. I.E. - was the alleged act on a pool table or in a pool?! But perhaps Susann had heard about it and placed a similar scenario in her roman à clef best-seller. (Though I am aware of another rumor in which a young starlet discovered her dreamboat husband getting it on with his butler, leading to divorce! So the Duff-Erickson tale is hardly the only example that was out there.)

It's surely nothing but coincidence, too, that in Valley of the Dolls, Susan Hayward's wig is similar to the sort that Lupino wore. There were only so many popular styles available. Remember Eva Gabor coming out with a dazzling line of them?!

If Lupino didn't inspire the swimming pool adultery sequence, maybe she helped give Susann the idea to have Helen Lawson hiding (in the book, at least) a nearly bald head under her wigs. Eventually, Miss Lupino had almost no real hair at all, poor thing.

And that's about all I can add about this subject before I flush it along...!

Till next time, dah-links!

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Having a Go at "Shalako!"

Today's featured films is one of those first seen on weekend afternoon TV in a grainy, pan & scan print, broken up by commercials, when I was a young'n. It's imagery stuck with me ever after as well as its then-startling savagery. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized how big the two leading stars were at the time (1968) or how this was generally perceived as a fizzle. But for someone like myself who has a near obsession with not only all-star casts and people posed decoratively and dramatically, but also the notion of austere elegance being rendered and wrecked by disaster, it still resonates. Based upon a Louis L'Amour novel, the title Shalako refers to an ex-Cavalryman turned trail guide who finds himself coming to the aid of some very wealthy (and very arrogant) noblemen and women on a hunting trip in New Mexico. Now off we go!

Shalako was directed by Edward Dmytryk, a once-promising RKO helmsman whose career was interrupted by the HUAC Communist witch hunt. With later titles like Walk on the Wild Side (1962), The Carpetbaggers and Where Love Has Gone (both 1964), one comes into this expecting a lot more camp than ever appears... Never known for his few westerns, he did start off in the biz as an editor for directors such as Henry Hathaway.

The credits for this movie go on and on and on for more than fives minutes (!) as a choral title number blares. (It was written by Robert Farnon, who was the uncle of Charmian Carr and her sisters, and Jim Dale.) The song is considered corny by many, but a similar (and probably more successful) approach was used just two years later for Chisum. This is a very outdoorsy movie with lots and lots of scenery. Eventually the camera comes to rest on this scene.

Here we have Sean Connery waking up next to his horse (!) after a night's sleep. Maybe I'm thinking of cows, but I always thought that horses slept standing up... Anyway, how'd ya like to roll over in the morning and find that face staring at you? (I mean the horse's, not Sean's!)
Off he rides across the striking terrain. This was filmed in Spain and, to me, looks it, though I'm not familiar enough with New Mexico to know whether it resembles that area at all as well.
The title song having come to a close, we're next treated to the most godawful clanking and clamoring as Stephen Boyd and his gang of rowdies are pinning a mountain lion into a dead end (literally!) by loudly banging on pots and pans and whooping all along. He's all ready to shoot the angry beast when, BANG!

The cat is instead bagged by Countess Brigitte Bardot! She's among a hunting party of international "haves" who've come to this area for sport.

With her here are Peter Van Eyck (a baron), Alexander Knox (a U.S. senator) and Honor Blackman and Jack Hawkins as a titled couple. Knowing of Bardot's almost rabid activism when it comes to animal rights, it's quite a shock to see her gleefully celebrating the killing of a mountain lion.

And celebrate they do! This group has brought its very own butler (Eric Sykes) who marks the occasion of the first kill with a gleaming tray of champagne! He apologizes that the bubbly isn't of its usual coldness out there in the desert heat.
Blackman sidles over to Boyd and friend as they are skinning the dead beast. When Boyd looks up and mutters, "I'd like some of that..." (with a delayed "bubbly stuff" tacked on), she impudently pours it onto the sand in front of him.
On the way back to the ranch, Bardot spots some coyotes and impetuously gallops after them with her rifle. Boyd sends one of his men along to look after her since Van Eyck has no desire to hunt "carrion eaters." Trouble is... she has ventured onto Apache land!

Connery overhears shots and eventually slinks onto the land himself where he spies Boyd's unfortunate fellow guide staked to the ground.

Next he sees Bardot, completely vulnerable in a ditch while four Apaches take turns attempting to do her in! Connery rides to her rescue and the two manage to get out of the predicament.

The same cannot be said for the hapless man who's been staked. In an excruciating and gruesome scene, he can only be given a sip of water before expiring.

Connery takes Bardot back to rejoin her friends and she explains that Boyd had told them all that there were no Indians in the area. Connery, knowing far better, finds this alarming and tells her she has no business being there.

Soon enough, he's proven right when they are completely surrounded by braves on horseback! The Apaches are out for revenge over the fallen braves that were just killed. Connery explains that Bardot was attacked first and that he will take her (and the hunting party) off the reservation by sun up.

The Apaches are led by Woody Strode, who informs Connery that his spirit will live forever if he kills him before he himself dies. He and his father allow Connery to leave with the proviso that the party clear out by the following morning.

Note how Strode, who was taller than Connery by 2" and was a pillar of muscle and sinew, is photographed to appear smaller than the leading man! Was he sitting on a hobby horse in this shot?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch... Sykes is preparing dinner for the eleganzas...! Just because one is parked in the middle of a sandy desert, there's no reason to eschew the usual finery.

This fancy dinner set amidst a dilapidated ranch is one of the moments I could never forget from seeing the film as a child. When Connery arrives with Bardot, he's equally startled at the sight.

He berates Boyd for bringing the group to the area in question and tells him they need to break camp and evacuate immediately.

Knox's wife, Valerie French, informs the others that Bardot is as well as can be expected for having just killed an Indian (to which Van Eyck responds as if it's just one more beast on the list of prey...)

Blackman is every bit as callous, asking a weary Bardot what it was like to kill a "savage" and is stunned when Bardot refers to the slaughtered brave as "a man." (By the way... Check out the interior of this covered wagon. Caroline Ingalls would have died and gone to heaven in this rig!)

Get a load of Bardot's hair. Her plentiful eye makeup has also generated plenty of attention from many viewers. Anyway, shallow Blackman admires Bardot's jewelry and can hardly believe how little it seems to mean to her friend. The discontented and adversely affected Bardot has more on her mind than baubles after her near-death experience.

Outside, a haughty Knox lets Connery know that treaties with Indians are hardly worth honoring (though Connery himself had helped to negotiate this latest one.) Bardot, now dressed for travel, can't believe they aren't leaving. She tells Van Eyck that not only Connery has given his word that they would leave, but that she has as well!

The hunting party takes a vote amongst themselves and determines that they can out-shoot any band of savages. They decide to stay on, regardless of any warning. Connery opts to stay overnight in the barn. He has at least one friend among Boyd's men, Julian Mateos, who helps him prepare for the inevitable onslaught. 
Connery plans to sleep for two hours, then take off for a half-day's ride and attempt to convince the army to come in and save the day. He informs her that her friends may be dumb, but she's too beautiful to die. She wants him to take her white Arabian horse, not only because it's useful, but she wants it to be safe.

Connery does enjoy the occasional good piece of tail...

While obnoxious blowhard Knox is blathering on about American politics and his role in it, Hawkins takes his wife aside for a tete a tete. It seems they are very nearly broke and are relying on the match they've set up between Bardot and Van Eyck to become official, which somehow may save them from ruin.
However, she informs him that if anyone will have to pay the price for their looming debt, it will be him and not her. This prompts him to rub her past infidelities in her face and threaten to hand her over to the Apaches where they have "interesting ways" in which to handle white women...!

The after dinner chit-chat is interrupted when the hands begin placing foodstuffs into the stable in preparation for the next morning's battle. Van Eyck takes exception to Connery giving the orders.

Connery says he knew Van Eyck was stubborn, but now knows he is also one "stupid son of a bitch," to which Van Eyck replies that if Connery had any breeding, he'd kill him.

Van Eyck and Bardot discuss their relationship; how alike or unalike they are and how important love would be to their union, should it happen. He tells her that if they had nothing other than their rifles and her, it would be enough to survive.

It's doubtful that Connery would agree. As he's making his way to the U.S. Army the next morning, he spies the Apache war party headed to the ranch!

And right on cue as dawn is breaking, the Apache begin the attack. First they stealthily take out most of the watchdogs...

...then a flaming arrow is shot into the sky as a signal to let the games begin!

Some of the dignitaries at least got wise and opted to sleep inside the stable, which offers a modicum of protection.

Van Eyck, however, has stuck to this cozy arrangement, with cohort Hans De Vries close by!

This doesn't work out too well, however, as De Vries takes a flaming arrow to the belly at the first sign of trouble!

In a rare humanitarian effort, Van Eyck struggles to save his friend, even at the risk of his own neck.

The two take refuge under a wagon while gunfire (and other fire!) erupts all around them.

One of the trail hands (Don "Red" Barry) helps to provide cover until Van Eyck can drag De Vries into the stable.

By now, though, the situation has devolved into a full-on shit show. (Something must be said about the editing of this skirmish. It's FAR faster than the standard of the time, building tension and excitement with quick-cuts.)

Little Miss Sure-Shot gets into the action as well, taking her place with the men while the other gals cower.

It's quite a war zone with wagons afire, bodies dropping and extended gunplay.

Quite against her will, the aristocratic Blackman is called upon to help hold De Vries in place while Mateos attempts to remove the arrow that's pieced his abdomen.

This is too much for De Vries, who thrashes out before expiring (but not before grappling with a totally horrified Blackman who screams and goes running downstairs, apparently trying to leave the stable altogether.)

Before she heads out into danger, Boyd grabs her and wrestles her into a pile of nearby hay.

(Just four years earlier in Goldfinger (1964), Connery - as James Bond - found himself tussling around in the hay with Blackman himself! This time it was Boyd's turn.)

Blackman must have had "hay fever" because the result is quite similar...! She soothes her hysteria by giving in to Boyd's roughhouse kissing.

The Apache are gone. It's up for debate amongst the survivors as to whether it's for good or just to regroup.
As it turns out, any feelings of relief are short-lived as now they are faced with another barrage, this time with the braves either catapulting or jumping a horse over the ranch wall! Again the aristocrats fend them off, then make plans to evacuate.

Knox is helping to arranged supplies (over Sykes protestations, the class system still in full effect even now!), but it's all for naught. Boyd has ideas of his own.

He holds Van Eyck & Co. at gunpoint, telling them to drop all their weapons and come downstairs.

Fending off a band of enraged Apaches wasn't enough. Now the hunting party has to deal with a shifty, selfish Boyd.
They can only watch helplessly as Boyd has a stagecoach hooked up with the only remaining horses, pilfers all the food, empties all their rifles of ammunition...
...and helps himself to Bardot's box full of expensive jewelry.

This piques the attention of Blackman, who holds things like that a lot more dear than her stuffy old husband.

Boyd is far from finished, though. Next her takes whatever valuables might still be left on his wealthy former employers. Van Eyck, naturally, objects to this heartily.

Leaving nothing to chance, he shoots holes in the last of the water barrels! If there is to be any more shooting at this gallery, they'll be nothing but sitting ducks.

The final insult comes when Blackman announces that she is coming with Boyd (to Mexico), much to the disdain of her stunned husband.

And with that, Boyd and most of his men (save Barry and Mateos) are off, leaving the group with nothing upon with to survive. But Barry and Mateos do have an ace up their sleeve. It seems Connery had socked away some ammunition under some hay in the stable!

There's only one small bucket of water, unfortunately, but Van Eyck suddenly remembers the well...

..which turns out to be a total dead end.

But you mustn't forget the title of the movie! Connery is back, though without the U.S. Army.

He informs the merry band that they will be walking and to travel light. He intends to take them to the top of a nearby plateau where there is water (and a location that's easier to defend than open land.)

Bardot wonders aloud if they have a chance at survival, but they all pin their hopes on Connery and start off.

Strode is aware that Connery is still about, but doesn't know where he is exactly. His braves are annoyed to discover that the survivors are no longer within the ranch. They set out in hot pursuit.

Connery, whose led his followers along the tracks of Boyd's stagecoach, sees the band of Apache warriors approaching.

Using, literally, the oldest trick in the book, he puts everyone behind huge rock formations, then he, Barry and Mateos head down and use thatches of sagebrush to disguise the tracks. Once the small band of braves is close enough, Van Eyck (who's just plain contrary at every turn!) wants to kill them.

Connery has other ideas! As usual, he's right. Just because there are only six braves on their trail through the pass, there are many more up above.

Their day not having gone quite poorly enough, there is next a rattlesnake! And no one can fire a shot at it!! But, as par for the course, Connery is able to improvise.

That night, Bardot finds it difficult to sleep. (How could one under the circumstances unless from total exhaustion?!)

She seeks out Connery, who's just carved off a hunk of cactus for its water content.

He hands it to her so that she can wet her lips. Are you seeing what I'm seeing?

He's offering her a taste of his cactus and she's taking it! LOL
Many viewers (and critics) have remarked on the general lack of chemistry between Connery and Bardot in this pairing. I feel like they establish a gentle, affectionate rapport. Trouble is, the language barrier. By the time you can figure out what Bardot (who rarely acted in English) has whispered, the moment has passed!

But I think in their faces you can see a mutual affection between their characters.

In any event, her mouth properly moistened, he finally plants one on her. As much as she'd love for him to take her right then, she demurs and heads back to her own bedroll. 

Over at Boyd's camp, Blackman has no such qualms when it comes to love. She spends the night in her new lover's arms! (And looks contented for, perhaps, the first time in the movie.)

Our band of weary travelers is up and at 'em again, bright and early. Finally, they are within a proper glimpse of the plateau Connery wants them to hide out upon.

The bad news is that he tells them they'll need to go around to the other side of it, which is a 7 to 8 hour trek! Amazingly, Bardot suggests that they climb it from this side (are ya lookin' at this thing?!) But, as it turns out, Van Eyck is a skilled mountain climber, so he can lead the way. 

Onward and upward...

Connery follows behind Van Eyck and all of them, the ladies, too, head up the face of this ginormous mountainside.

It's probably hard to even see them, but the folks at the bottom of the hiking train are like ants against the magnitude of this formation. But it's a way to freedom.

The members of Boyd's gang are not so lucky. They've continued on the same direction as before and the Apache are closing in.

Gentleman that he is, Boyd says he's heading up to scout the way further... He does ask if Blackman would like to join him, but she declines. It winds up being a fateful error in judgement.

A short while after Boyd has ridden off, the stagecoach is set upon by a band of agitated Apache braves!

In hot pursuit, they pick off the cowboys one by one. One of Boyd's pals, in a remarkable lack of chivalry, unhitches the horses from the stagecoach and rides off on one!

Boyd, safely ensconced atop a hill, watches as his cohorts are eliminated and the horseless stagecoach careens along, ultimately landing on its side with Blackman still aboard!
Still alive, but dazed and dizzy, she crawls out the door of the overturned coach and struggles to flee while one of the cowboys is being tormented by the Apaches.
Unable to make it any further, she falls to the ground and feigns death. She nearly gets away with it, too, until... of the more industrious attackers decided to test her! He begins pouring sand in front of and into her mouth, which eventually gives her away as she starts choking on it!
Next she's tossed from one brave to the next, her clothes being shorn every so often by the tip of a hunting knife. Everything about this sequence is harrowing. (And God knows I never forgot it, having first seen it on TV as a kid!)
She finally thinks she may have figured a way out of her predicament when she produces the diamond necklace that was once Bardot's before Boyd slipped it to her, but unfortunately this expensive bauble means precious little to her tormentor.

The unsettling episode involving Blackman has helped make it possible for Van Eyck to lead Connery and the others up the mountainside.

That's not to say they're out of the proverbial woods yet. Now a whole reassembled war party is engaged to go after them!

Connery determines that it will likely be the following morning before any attack comes, but sets up some of the remaining men on sentry duty nevertheless.

French attempts to comfort Hawkins who is by now aware that his wife is surely dead.

Able to finally get some food (and water!) down their gullets after the arduous trek, the band of survivors can finally catch a breath and regroup a little.

Barry is convinced he can hear the Apache around them and keeps a close watch. Connery takes a moment to catch some shut-eye.

But before he can settle in, he gets an eyeful of Bardot taking part in her evening toilette by the spring.

At last, ticket buyers who lined up to see as much of Bardot as possible get a just bit of a glimpse. (Anyone who plunked down his or her change to see more of Connery can just as well have forgotten it...)

Connery and the sex kitten exchange some flirty mutterings before giving into their passion.
Though we aren't permitted anything graphic, the pair finally indulge in their attraction for one another. But... the danger is far from over. The bloodshed is also far from over. As dawn breaks, Strode and his warriors are back and ready for action. But for the most part it becomes a battle between two men.

There's a perception that Shalako was not a hit when released. (And, yes, movies that lose their investment when they hit the marketplace are indeed considered flops!) Thing is, the movie cost so much, in part due to its stars, that it would have had to be a door-busting blockbuster in order to recoup, and that it was not. The budget was $5 million and $1.5 million of that (plus percentages) went to the star duo. This was when a movie cost about $1.30 per ticket in the U.S. So while it was a Top 20 flick in its year, it made nothing back to speak of. 

And while its true that Bardot and Connery don't light the screen afire with their chemistry, they got along very well (as did everyone) during shooting. For me, the situation boils down to two things. The aforementioned difficulty in understanding Bardot's lines and the fact that Connery is never shirtless. How much heat can one generate in floppy buckskin with a red undershirt on? (Had she watched HIM bathing, this thing might have made its money back! LOL) This photo reveals the problems Sean was having with his hair at the time. It's nothing now for men to be bald - many with thinning hair prefer it, but back in the day, one could almost count on one hand how many stars went that route. It just wasn't done.

Connery had just had a dust-up with producer Albert Broccoli and vacated his successful series of James Bond films. A lifelong fan of westerns, he jumped at the chance to switch gears (in a role that had in its early stages been earmarked for Henry Fonda!) He was soon lured back to the Bond franchise with Diamonds Are Forever (1971) when United Artists was willing to pay him $1.25 million. Later, he branched out into a wide variety of movies from drama to action to mystery, copping an Academy Award for 1987's The Untouchables. An unhappy experience throughout The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) ultimately led to his retirement. After suffering from the effects of dementia for a time, Connery passed away in 2020 at age 90.

Bardot was born into wealth in Paris, France, but led a mostly unhappy childhood with highly restrictive parents. This led to a lifelong rebellious streak and a search for passion throughout much of her life. Having met and fallen in love with Roger Vadim while in her teens, he eventually delivered her in And God Created Woman (1956) which catapulted her to international fame. She enjoyed many hit movies in her native tongue, several of which became worldwide successes. Things were beginning to cool just a bit by this time, though her collaboration with Louis Malle and Jeanne Moreau, Viva Maria! (1965) had been a smash. Her role here was once earmarked for Senta Berger (when Fonda was the title character.) Ironically, her acceptance of this part prevented her from taking the offer of On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), wherein her star power would help usher in the new, unknown James Bond, George Lazenby. Diana Rigg was cast instead. Tiring of the cinema soon after Shalako, she made only seven more films, retiring permanently in 1973 at age 39.  That's not to say she entirely disappeared, for she became a vociferous animal rights advocate and a very outspoken persona in general, sometimes sparking much controversy. Off-screen drama includes a few suicide attempts and an irreconcilable relationship with her only child, a son who she sadly never wanted. In the wake of many relationships and several marriages, she's been wed for a fourth time since 1992 and is 87.

Boyd was the recipient of his own tribute here years ago. You can read up on his life and career at this link. Boyd's early cinematic profile had been bolstered by Bardot when she selected him as her leading man in The Night Heaven Fell (1958), so they shared their own bit of movie history. At the time of Shalako, Boyd had enjoyed hits like Fantastic Voyage (1966) and suffered flops like The Oscar (1966) and had tried his own hand at the spy genre with Assignment K (1968.) The '70s brought a decided cooling to his movie career, though he continued to work. Unfortunately, he died of a massive heart attack in 1977 at only age 47 while playing golf. 

Hawkins had been an esteemed stage actor who emerged in the 1950s as one of Great Britain's most popular big-screen heroes. He sought to expand his range by playing a demanding ruler in Land of the Pharaohs (1955), which was not able to earn back its considerable budget. As he grew older, he made for a captivating second or third lead in movies like The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) and Ben-Hur (1959), which also featured Boyd, of course. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Zulu (1964) followed. When Hawkins, a very heavy smoker, began to experience significant vocal issues, he began to work as much as possible, out of fear that his career might come to a close. He was, however, able to continue his screen work even after his larynx was removed in 1966. In Shalako, and other times, he was dubbed by actor Charles Gray. He died in 1973 from complications following further (experimental) throat surgery, having never stopped smoking (!) at age 62. You may have forgotten, as I had, that he'd been married from 1932-1940 to Jessica Tandy! His second marriage lasted until his death. 

Van Eyck was a cinch to play a German nobleman since he was born into German aristocracy to begin with! He fled the country at age 20 as the political situation there was worsening, ultimately winding up in New York where he worked with Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre Group. In early-1940s Hollywood, he found work as villainous Nazis in various movies. But after pearl Harbor, he became a U.S. citizen and joined the U.S. Army. Later reigniting his acting career, he won a role in The Wages of Fear (1953), followed by Night People (1954) and Tarzan's Hidden Jungle (1955.) Steady work followed in many international productions until 1969 when a minor injury led to infection and his death at only age 57. Interesting trivia tidbit: When he left Berlin as a youth, he'd (perhaps unknowingly?) impregnated a young singer who later had an abortion with the aide of a gay English writer. That writer was Christopher Isherwood and he turned the whole scenario into a book which would ultimately become the basis for Cabaret (1972.) 

Blackman started on stage before segueing to films in the late-1940s. Though she continued on the stage, often in musicals, she made films like A Night to Remember (1958) and Life at the Top (1965), a sequel to Room at the Top (1959.) Hands down her most famous movie role was that of Pussy Galore in Goldfinger (1964), though she was also the first partner of Patrick Macnee on The Avengers to considerable acclaim. She only vacated that role in order to make the Bond film. Blackman stayed active on TV, on stage and in the occasional movie for a long while, retiring in 2015. She passed away in 2020 of natural causes at the age of 94.

Strode was one of the most impressive physical specimens of his day. As a youth, he'd turned his high school on its ear with his performances in shot put and the high jump. He attended and played football for UCLA before serving in WWII. After that, he played for the L.A. Rams (who are currently about to take on my city's Bengals in the Super Bowl on Sunday!), one of the first black players in the post-war league. Having dabbled in acting as a youth (as a native or chauffeur), he reentered the movies where his imposing physicality was put to use as tribal chiefs or men of adventure. Things turned a corner in 1959 when he won a key role in Pork Chop Hill, followed by featured parts in Spartacus, The Last Voyage and Sergeant Rutledge, his most notable role, all in 1960. Sustaining a meaningful career was a challenge to say the least, but he remained very busy always. During the time of Shalako, he was living and working in Europe. His casting as a Native American raised eyebrows among some (then and now), but Strode actually had Creek and Cherokee blood in his ancestry. John Ford, who'd gone to bat for Strode's casting in Rutledge, became a very close friend until the end of his life, with Strode at Ford's side at his death. Strode made many westerns, some quite notable, and the cowboy Woody in the Toy Story series was named after him. He died in 1994 at age 80 from lung cancer, his final film, appropriately, The Quick and the Dead, came out the year after.

Sykes was a comedy writer-turned-performer who took small, funny roles in movies while also headlining his own comic series Sykes and A... Despite being amazingly busy as a writer and working steadily as an actor as well, he was almost completely deaf and legally blind! His movies include Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies (1969) and Theater of Blood (1973) among many others. He popped up in 2005's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. His final role in an episode of Poirot came in 2010 and he passed away in 2012 of kidney failure and heart disease at the age of 89. It may interest you to know that among his voice-over work was announcing the title characters on the cult kiddie TV show Teletubbies
Canadian actor Knox had done plenty of stage work, but not a lot in films before Darryl F. Zanuck selected him to portray the title character in his pet project Wilson (1944), all about Woodrow Wilson. Though he was Oscar-nominated for the (flop) film, the statuette went to Bing Crosby for Going My Way. While Knox wasn't definitively blacklisted during The McCarthy Era, he did see a degree of trouble when it came to working steadily after being investigated, so he moved to England and embarked on a lengthy career there. He appeared in many notable films including The Vikings (1958), The Longest Day (1962), Modesty Blaise (1966), Nicholas and Alexandra (1971), among others. Retiring in 1986, he died in 1995 of bone cancer at age 88. He'd been married to actress Doris Nolan for more than 50 years when he passed away.  
Pretty British (not French, as one might expect!) actress French was a beauty queen who came to Hollywood in the mid-1950s with hopes of a big-screen career. She did costar with Glenn Ford in Jubal (1956) and appeared in the troubled production The Garment Jungle (1957), but after the westerns Decision at Sundown (1957, with Randolph Scott) and The Hard Men (1957, with Guy Madison), things cooled and she worked more on television or in low-budget affairs. She also found some success on the Broadway stage (causing a stir in one show by appearing nude - with her back to the audience - on stage.) She worked a bit on the New York based soaps One Life to Live and All My Children in the late-1970s. Leukemia claimed her in 1990 at age 62.
Spanish actor Mateos will only be familiar to U.S. viewers who've seen productions (like Shalako) which were filmed there. He appeared in Return of the Seven (1966), one of the sequels to The Magnificent Seven (1960) with Yul Brynner, Four Rode Out (1967) and The Kashmiri Run (1970), both with Pernell Roberts and Catlow (1971) with Yul Brynner and Dana Wynter. Mateos exited screen acting in 1981 after having played Miquel de Cervantes in a TV program and passed away of lung cancer at only 58 in 1996. 
Barry, nicknamed "Red" after having starred in the serial The Adventures of Red Ryder in 1940, had a colorful life to go with his nickname. Stout and only 5'4" tall, he was pugnacious and tough nonetheless (or perhaps because of it.) He was spotted by John Wayne during a football game and came to Republic Pictures to work, but - even as he worked steadily - ran into various troubles with some of the studio's directors. During I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955), he met and began a relationship with star Susan Hayward. One morning, his ex-fiance, curvy actress Jill Jarmyn, came in the back door for an impromptu visit and got clobbered by a pajama-clad Hayward with a hairbrush! Jarmyn (who's apparently alive today in her late-90s!) was pressured into dropping a battery charge, though the incident made the papers. Barry worked on countless TV shows and in many movies, busy as a bee, despite his reputation for being difficult. In 1980, estranged from his third wife, he shot himself to death at age 68. 

Finally (you thought this effing post was never going to end, didn't you?!), we come to Dutch actor De Vries. Lanky and handsome, he'd begun with bit roles on British TV, often in military parts. He worked on The Saint and Doctor Who. He also played a technician in You Only Live Twice (1967.) In yet another connection between Shalako and the James Bond films, De Vries was on the short list to take over the 007 role in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, but lost out to George Lazenby. He was one of several young men photographed for a 1968 issue of Life magazine in poses that suggested the famed secret agent. Afterwards, he did a few more roles on British TV (such as on UFO and The Onedin Line) before receding from view. He died in 2018 at age 76 after grappling with a chronic illness.
Just a few bonus photos to round out this never-ending entry at Poseidon's Underworld!

Blackman galore, in the hay again!

De Vries, shaken, but not stirred.

Bardot, showing more to a still photographer than any viewer of the movie got to see! Which brings us at last to...

The End!

The film can be viewed in a decent wide-screen print right here.