Tuesday, May 10, 2011

THE GREAT SCOUT AND CATHOUSE THURSDAY

"I've been shot five times, knifed twice, bit on the ass by a pig, stomped on by a horse and sat on by a mule and once, in the winter of '91, a grizzly chewed off my big toe. And I've survived two avalanches, three blizzards, five Indian uprisings and seven Presidential elections, but I've never been owned by no woman nor dog... and I've come too far down the road to let it happen to me now!"

By the mid-Seventies, American International Pictures was releasing fewer youth-oriented exploitation films, and more middle-to-big budget mainstream films with name stars. Among these larger productions was director Don Taylor's THE GREAT SCOUT & CATHOUSE THURSDAY (1976), a comic Western that attempts to mine the rich vein of BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID.

Lee Marvin (THE DIRTY DOZEN, PRIME CUT) is Sam Longwood, the "Great Scout" of the title, an over-the-hill ex-soldier running cons with his pals Billy (Strother Martin) and half-Indian Joe Knox (Oliver Reed, VENOM), until he stumbles across an ex-partner named Jack Colby (Robert Culp, HICKEY & BOGGS), who who ran off with all the gold from a mine they were prospecting fifteen years earlier. Now Colby is a wealthy man with political ambitions, and Longwood and his friends want their money back... so they set out to get it with the initially unwanted help of a young runaway prostitute called "Thursday" (Kay Lenz, HOUSE, MOVING VIOLATION).

As directed by journeyman Don Taylor (THE FINAL COUNTDOWN, ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES), from a meandering screenplay by TV veteran Richard Shapiro, THE GREAT SCOUT & CATHOUSE THURSDAY is a solid 106 minutes of undemanding entertainment with a great cast of experienced character actors. Marvin is a lot of fun in his curmudgeonly role, Kay Lenz is pretty and appealing, and Reed is remarkably funny as the half-breed Knox. It's not a classic - and not even a particularly good movie - but it's a very entertaining Western romp, and worth seeing.

Offered as a manufacture-on-demand DVD-R from the Limited Edition Collection, THE GREAT SCOUT AND CATHOUSE THURSDAY is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The print is in very good shape, with bright colors, good detail, and very little noticeable print damage or dirt. The mono audio is clear. There are no extras.

It's great to see MGM digging into the vaults and releasing more of these great movies on MOD disc. If you're a fan of the movie - or Lee Marvin - you'll want to add it to your library. Recommended.

BUY: Great Scout And Cathouse Thursday