Thursday, 14 July 2011

John Wayne is Brannigan (1975)

Brannigan was a 1975 British action film set in London, it was directed by Douglas Hickox and starred the Duke himself (John Wayne) and Richard Attenborough. Brannigan tells the story of a Chicago Detective sent to Britain to organise the extradition of an American mobster (John Vernon).

After turning down the role of Dirty Harry and seeing the subsequent success of the film Wayne made two police thrillers in quick succession. After McQ he made this "cop out of water" film in the same vein as Clint Eastwood's Coogan's Bluff..

Tough Chicago cop Jim Brannigan (John Wayne) is sent to London to extradite a notorious American gangster, Ben Larkin (John Vernon). Brannigan is assigned a local officer, Jennifer (Judy Geeson), to help while he is in London. Before he can collect him Larkin is kidnapped, by Mel Fields (Mel Ferrer) and Brannigan spends the rest of the film running around London in search of Larkin. Whilst struggling to adapt to the British way of life, and the restrained style of policing, he employs techniques not usually seen in Britain. In the meantime, a contract has been put out on Brannigan's life by Larkin to prevent him from being extradited to the United States. The contract is picked up by Gorman (Daniel Pilon).

Commander Swann (Richard Attenborough), in charge of helping Brannigan get Larkin to America, is a stuffy, upper class, Metropolitan Police Commander who's not afraid to get his hands dirty. There is continual conflict between Brannigan and Swann about Brannigan's carrying, and use of, his handgun.

The film is notable for its well-executed action sequences, including a spectacular car chase through Battersea's Shaftesbury Estate, Wandsworth and Central London featuring Brannigan jumping a yellow Ford Capri coupe across the half raised Tower Bridge. One sequence features shots of the interior and exterior of London's famous Royal Automobile Club, which has changed little since the shooting of the film.

Conversely, the film's opening sequence and first several minutes display Chicago roadways, riverside buildings and an early O'Hare Terminal 1 that have all been replaced. For example, a squad car is seen making the former turn on Upper Lake Shore Drive where East Wacker Drive now exists. The 300 block of North Canal Street, where Brannigan conducts an investigation using "enhanced interrogation techniques", rapidly developed between this film, Doctor Detroit, and Raw Deal.

In the scene when Brannigan and Cmdr. Swann are at the bar in the Garrick Club (known as the actors' club), there is a portrait of Sir Lawrence Olivier in Garrick Club tie.

After a Chicago Police officer was depicted in a less than flattering light in an episode of the 1957-1960 television series, M Squad, then-Mayor Richard J. Daley thereafter discouraged motion picture and television location filming in the city for the rest of his administration and its aftermath. Brannigan is one of the few films approved and granted police assistance during the two-decade era.

Some of the music featured was cut up to form the jingle backings for the Euroscope Marketing "Single Jingles" series for DJ's.

Brannigan - 14 x 36 Movie Poster - Insert Style A
Directed byDouglas Hickox
Produced byArthur Garnder
Jules Levy
executive producer:
Michael Wayne
Written byMichael Butler
Christopher Trumbo
StarringTony Robinson
John Wayne
Richard Attenborough
Judy Geeson
Mel Ferrer
John Vernon
Ralph Meeker
Daniel Pilon
Music byDominic Frontiere
CinematographyGerry Fisher
Editing byMalcolm Cooke
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date(s)March 26, 1975
Running time111 minutes
Country USA

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