Thursday, June 14, 2012

Only now does it occur to me... AGAINST THE WALL


Only now does it occur to me...  that Harry Dean Stanton must occasionally request for "singing" to be included in his contracts.  
As he broke into song, I recalled Harry Dean's hearty rendition of "Hand Me Down My Walking Cane" in STRAIGHT TIME, Harry Dean's eerie hymnals in BIG LOVE, and I'm pretty sure he sorta sings along with the radio in WILD AT HEART.  That's just off the top of my head, I'm sure there's more, but in general, I must say that I'm happy we get to see Harry Dean belt one out in every other movie.  Anyway, that minor observation was just a portal into the movie at hand: John Frankenheimer's made-for-HBO historical movie on the Attica Prison riots, AGAINST THE WALL.

And of course it wouldn't be a prison movie without Danny Trejo.  That's a major prerequisite.
See also:  RUNAWAY TRAIN, THE HIDDEN, KINJITE: FORBIDDEN SUBJECTS, LOCK UP, MANIAC COP 2, WEDLOCK, CON AIR, ANIMAL FACTORY, etc., etc.

There's a frightening turn by Clarence Williams III as one of the instigators of the riot.  He also played a terrifying villain in 52 PICK-UP, Frankenheimer's Cannon Films classic.
And, hey– remember Clarence was in TWIN PEAKS for a couple of episodes as an FBI Agent?  There's a whole TWIN PEAKS connection there with Harry Dean Stanton, who memorably played in FIRE WALK WITH ME.

Speaking of TWIN PEAKS– here, Harry Dean plays the father of...

Kyle McLachlan!  "Damn fine coffee!  And hot!"

So wait, if we're to believe that Agent Cooper took a demotion to "prison guard," does this take place before or after the [NEBULOUSLY PHRASED TWIN PEAKS SPOILER ALERT] 
"transformation" at the end of Season 2?

...


Aaaah!!  BOB!  "Through the dark of futures past, the magician longs to see.  One chants out between two worlds, fire walk with me.  I'll catch you with my death bag.  You may think I've gone insane, but I promise I will kill again!"  Indeed!


P.S.  Apologies for foisting my ludicrous pop culture crossovers onto what is a pretty serious and socially relevant flick.  Occasionally it wanders into moments worthy of an After School Special, but on the whole, it's intense, well-acted, and held together by the crisp, workmanlike direction of John Frankenheimer.

2 comments:

J.D. said...

That last shot of MacLachlan sporting the long locks reminds me of his 'do in THE DOORS!

Sean Gill said...

Indeed! I don't know quite why McLachlan with long hair cracks me up so much, but it does.