Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Challenge (1970)

Yesterday we looked at the network prime-time schedules of 50 years ago and saw a rerun of The Challenge.  The 1970 TV movie is available at the Internet Archive, and here is the uploader's description.

All-out war between the United States and an Asian country is averted when the two sides agree to settle their differences by each choosing a single soldier as champion and having the two men fight to the death on an isolated island.

Premiering February 10 as an ABC Movie of the Week, its director took his name off it, leading to the classic Alan Smithee credit.  How bad can it be, though, with this cast:

Darren McGavin
Broderick Crawford
James Whitmore
Sam Elliott

The premise is ridiculous, awesome, or maybe both.  Check this out from the excellent review of the movie from Shock Cinema (via Wikipedia):

The US's unorthodox candidate is court-martialed Jacob Gallery (McGavin), a tough, arrogant scumbag currently working as a Biafra mercenary! Heavily-armed Gallery is dumped onto this rock, convinced it's going to be a cakewalk, because one lone guy from some insignificant Asian country couldn't cause much damage to an American, right? Yep, it's a heavyhanded Vietnam analogy, but I'm still surprised that this made it onto prime-time TV in the midst of the war. The remaining hour is a battle of wills, and as these two warriors cautiously track each other about Craphole Island (which often looks about as Asian as an episode of MASH, with rubbery jungle foliage that could've been leftovers from GILLIGAN'S ISLAND), Gallery quickly discovers that his foe, Yuro (Mako), is equally clever and determined. 

Please read the rest of Steven Puchalski's lively take on the movie. It's an entertaining read that will make you want to see the flick yesterday.

No comments:

Post a Comment