Charles Bronson

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The Dirty Dozen Review

Can The Dirty Dozen really be 40 years old? Well, almost. This watershed film paved the ways for bad-guys-as-heroes flicks ranging from The Wild Bunch to Reservoir Dogs, and its influence is still felt today. Yet how can The Dirty Dozen feel so tired when viewed in this millennium? Maybe its a cast that, though exquisite, is a bit much. The Dirty Dozen also appears to have paved the way for the Airport movies, studded with megastars and short on plot. Viewed today, too much of Dozen is schlocky and trite, reliant on stereotypes that border on Hogan's Heroes-level characterizations to tell the WWII-era story. (Writ large: 12 career criminals are given a last chance to pull off a major anti-Nazi mission.) The film is pioneering, daring, and very well made. But there's a bit much to go around, and now you can see the actors jockeying for notice among each other. Still a good film, though its impact is now starting to fade.

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Death Wish Review

If you were a mugger, would you prey on a guy that looked like Charles Bronson? I guess this wouldn't have worked with Petula Clark in the lead, but Death Wish -- which spawned four sequels and endless knockoffs -- is a real piece of filmed Americana. Bronson plays Paul Kersey, an architect (and conscientious objector during Vietnam!) whose wife is senselessly killed by a mugger. Soon he learns the joy of the .32 handgun and begins shooting up the town whenever he spies a mugging, or -- more lifely -- when he is the victim of an attempted mugging himself. Bronson probably shoots more bullets than he utters lines of dialogues, and the police work in tracking down Kersey is uncannily good. All told this is a compulsively watchable bit of '70s nostalgia, a curious counterpart to Dirty Harry and an icon of New York-brand justice. (Make sure you dig the wallpaper in Kersey's kitchen.)

House Of Wax (1953) Review

One of the great horror classics, House of Wax gives us the inimitable Vincent Price as the owner of the titular House of Wax and its gruesome Chamber of Horrors... only how does he get his subjects to look so real? Originally in 3D, this is still a lot of fun in regular old 2D at home. Plus it's low-budget antics are surprisingly effective, creating a truly memorable film.

Telefon Review

Charles Bronson is KGB, man! And Lee Remick is a double agent! And together they have to track down KGBer-gone-commando Donald Pleasence, as he reactivates a long-since-abandoned plan to activate sleeper agents in the U.S. and have them blow up a bunch of stuff. This Cold War thriller may not have the most complicated story, but it's curiously effective and has been been surprisingly influential, a nice companion piece to The Manchurian Candidate, another mind controlled-civilians-as-assassins story. Bronson probably does less fighting in this film than in any other film in his career.

The Magnificent Seven Review

The Magnificent Seven isn't a great movie, but it is a very cool movie. An explanation: Schindler's List is a great movie, but I think we can agree that we're not going to spend a Saturday afternoon with the guys eating chips and running lines from Spielberg's tribute to the Jews. Watch an hour of The Magnificent Seven and you'll pop open another can of Pringles and consider buying a six-shooter.

A cowboy retelling of Akira Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai, the movie takes place in a Mexican farming village which has been overrun by bandits. The outlaws take the villagers' food, making a grueling life that much tougher. Tired of getting pushed around, several men consult the resident wise old man. "Fight, you must fight," he says.

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Battle Of The Bulge Review

This is the kind of a film around which rumors of a 212-minute print swirl, on the net, in chat rooms, and message boards. Only films that have garnered either cult or classic appeal can claim "hype" like that. No one talks about footage missing from the domestic release cut of Battlefield Earth, no one gripes about a supposed 245-minute version of The Cat in the Hat. But a quick Internet search will reveal endless web pages devoted to the missing scenes in Blade Runner, the 5-hour print of Apocalypse Now, and apparently the 212-minute cut of Battle of the Bulge. That tells you something. This 1965 war "classic" is a war film buff's The Third Man, Casablanca, or Some Like It Hot. It might not be the best WWII epic ever made (that honor, according to the same fans, is allotted to either The Longest Day, Patton, or Cross of Iron) but it is one of the most popular. Well, now we have a 170-minute cut of the film, and it's been heralded with a gorgeous DVD transfer. And you've got to wonder why.

Sure, there's a star-studded cast. Let's see, we've got: Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Dana Andrews, Robert Ryan, Telly Savalas, and Charles Bronson. And it is an epic. We're talking a cast of thousands with battle scene recreations that make modern warfare flicks pale in comparison. But when all the dust settles, Battle of the Bulge is a really long, really talky movie. And that's fine for history buffs, WWII film fans, and their ilk, but for the casual Friday night viewer it's a cure for insomnia.

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This Property Is Condemned Review

Let's get beyond the awful title. (It's based on an obscure Tennessee Williams play... but why didn't they change the name!?)

Let's look at the crew -- a script co-written by Francis Ford Coppola and John Houseman as producer!

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Once Upon A Time In The West Review

Long on looks and short on sense, Sergio Leone's celebrated spaghetti western Once Upon a Time in the West is a remarkable achievement of cinematography but comes across today as a more muddled story than ever.

Conceived and roughed together by Italian directors Dario Argento, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Leone, the guts of West are some of the least likely of his films. The story concerns a woman (Claudia Cardinale, who spends the entire movie clenching her teeth) whose husband and family are murdered, leaving her with a valuable plot of land. This land has the eye of one Frank (Henry Fonda in his biggest villain role ever), and he's determined to be rid of the woman in order to get it. A half-Mexican named Cheyenne (Jason Robards) ends up accused of the murders, and a nameless bounty hunter (sound familiar?) who's known due to his harmonica playing by the name Harmonica (Charles Bronson) inserts himself into the mix. The film culminates with Harmonica turning in Cheyenne for the reward money, then using that money to outbid Frank at the public auction of the land... and then of course there's a showdown to be had.

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4 For Texas Review

One horrible idea from start to finish -- perhaps the Ishtar of its era. In fact, 4 for Texas has a lot in common with that film -- big stars (Frank and Dino), a desert setting, and a series of failed attempts at comedy. They even brought in The Three Stooges but nothing can help this train wreck, as our two Rat Packers and two of their favorite gals (Anita Ekberg and Ursula Andress) spar over the poker table in 1870s Galveston.

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The Great Escape Review

Coming on the heels of John Sturges' The Magnificent Seven three years earlier, 1963's The Great Escape shows how quickly the ambitious epic can turn into a rote, readymade piece of filmmaking - a Hollywood masterpiece by design. There's a formal, somewhat stilted feel to its three-hour story about a group of imprisoned World War II officers and their struggle to break out of a Nazi P.O.W. camp, and anybody who thinks that Michael Bay is a bullying thug of a filmmaker who likes pushing people's emotions around can come here to see where he got it from. But for all its flaws, Escape has some of the most memorable moments in any war film, and some excellent performances from its ensemble cast.

Based on a true story, The Great Escape is set during the tail end of World War II, when a variety of officers from different countries were sent to Stalag Luft III, a prison camp designed to handle the most diligent escape attempts. Both fearless and duty-bound, the men spend no time with long prologues or chit-chat about what to do; they, along with the movie, immediately set to work, using the skills they know best. There's Anthony Hendley, the "scrounger" skilled at digging up needed provisions; James Garner, at his best when he's being charmingly unctuous to his Nazi captors; Charles Bronson, as the "tunnel king" Danny Velinski, offering a nice combination of two-fisted bravado and sensitive-guy neurosis; and Donald Pleasance, the British document forger, who brings a steely, proud stoicism to his role that sets the movie's emotional feel. His is the most convincing performance, which makes sense given that really did time in a German P.O.W. camp.

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Charles Bronson's Family Were Brought Into Conflict Over His Will

Charles Bronson

The family of Charles Bronson, the star of 'Death Wish', are fighting over his 48 million USD will. The family were summoned to Bronson's lawyer's office to hear the will being read, following the star's death on 30th August, 2003, from pneumonia.

Bronson's third wife, Kim Weeks, was left with the 8 million USD Malibu house, as well as 1.6 million USD in cash, although she expressed disappointment for not also being left his 4.8 million USD Vermont beach house and ranch. Bronson's son, Tony, was highly annoyed by so much being left to his father's widow, as she allegedly banned the family from visiting Bronson on his death bed.

Further infuriation towards the late star was caused by the money being locked away in watertight trust funds. A source stated that "When they all walked out, Kim and the others were not talking to each other. There was a really bad atmosphere. The children got houses and other real estate holdings and millions in cash but they still weren't happy."

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Charles Bronson

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