For this week’s video (by hubby’s special request) we revisit Timothy’s infamous “Atta boy Mike” scene from Bob Rafelson‘s Head (1968), the very strange first – and last – feature film from the Monkees.
As I’ve said before with regards to this film – for God’s sake, don’t try to make any sense out of it! Just enjoy Tim at his craziest.
The Warner Archive Collection is a great source for several of Timothy’s films on DVD, including Waterhole #3 (1967), Chain of Evidence (1957), The Outfit (1973), Rumble on the Docks (1956), Convicts 4 (1962), and now this one. Way to go, WAC!
Today’s pic is another one from John Flynn‘s The Outfit (1973). Earl Macklin (Robert Duvall) is about to put the hurt big time on mean thug Jake Menner.
Duvall has been one of our most gifted actors since the early 1960s, when he began appearing in series television, anthologies and Westerns. He hit the big time with his unforgettable turn as Boo Radley in Robert Mulligan‘s To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). Fifty-two years, one Best Actor Oscar (1983’s Tender Mercies), numerous other awards and nominations, and many classic films and performances later, he’s still going strong.
But Carey’s genius was the very thing that kept him from ever having a chance at being a famous actor. Famous actors demand love. Carey loved to be hated. You look at him in a scene–take one of his two scenes in Kubrick‘s The Killing–and he’s just the most despicable bastard you ever saw. His enormous, baggy eyes roll up and away from whomever he’s talking to, like the person’s not even there, just a voice in his head; his jaw is locked like a rabies victim, teeth clenched in a Kirk Douglas burlesque as he spits out his lines in mumbly, beatnik rebop. “What’s wrong, mister?” asks the black parking-lot attendant. “You’re wrong, nigger!” Carey blasts. You don’t see Carey’s face when he delivers the epithet, but you feel the menace–you can’t wait for him to die, and you miss him when he’s gone.
Earlier in that same film, when Sterling Hayden‘s grit-tough Johnny offers him $5,000 to shoot a horse, Carey looks like he’s forever on the verge of drunkenly cracking up, calling Hayden “Pops,” and stroking a puppy in between firing off rounds from a shotgun. There’s something in Carey’s insouciance, his refusal to take the terms of a film seriously, that simultaneously takes you out of the film and beckons you into the actor. It’s not exactly being a ham (though it’s that, too); it’s more like a kind of super-realism, a heightened sense that what you’re seeing is acting, and that the acting–especially since Carey was almost always hired to play a psycho–is the opposite of pretend.
We’ll be closing out the week by taking another look at Flo, the enigmatic muscle behind a gang of mediocre Hollywood gangsters in John Cassavetes‘ The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976). In a film full of great close-ups, this is one of the best.
Ara Corbett tells us in the Filmfax article “Rebels With a Cause: The Timothy Carey-John Cassavetes Partnership,” “Plans to film Confession, a script that Cassavetes wrote with his son Nick, three years later never materialized, though the plan was to reunite the acclaimed A Woman Under the Influence team of Peter Falk and Gena Rowlands along with Cassavetes’ daughter, Zoe, and Carey as a gangster named Ibizza.” Good Lord – how epic would that have been? We can only dream.
Our pic today takes a long-overdue look at Flight to Hong Kong (1956), the low-budget international diamond-smuggling caper directed by Joseph M. Newman. It looks like something inappropriate is going on here, but it’s just Tony Dumont (Rory Calhoun) trying to get thug Lagarto out of the way so he can get a better look at a mysterious suitcase, as Cappy (Bob Hopkins) and another miscreant in the shadows look on.
Hopkins – and that’s Hopkins, not Hoskins – racked up many credited and uncredited bit parts in film and on television in his relatively short career. He died at the young age of 44 in 1962.
Another one from the archives! This is Timothy and Peter Graves‘ big fight scene at the end of Bayou (1957), aka Poor White Trash, directed by Harold Daniels. The entire film has been building up to this, and it’s worth the wait.