Sunday, March 1, 2009

THE HONKERS with James Coburn

This rarely seen 1972 rodeo western starring James Coburn and featuring Slim Pickens and Jim Davis will be showing on Encore Westerns this month.  First airing will be in the wee morning hours of this Saturday (3-7) from 3:45am to 5:30am.  I have never seen this movie and, being a James Coburn fan, am greatly looking forward to viewing it.  Also, I have heard very good things about it, especially, Slim Picken's performance.    Sadly, the director, the late Steve Ihnat....so good in HOUR OF THE GUN, died shortly after it's release. There were three rodeo westerns released in 1972, and this hurt THE HONKERS as it appears to have been lost in the mix.  The other two:  J.W. COOP with Cliff Roberson and SamPeck's JUNIOR BONNER with Steve McQueen.  THE HONKERS is not on DVD and as far as I know has never been released on video.  Heck....I don't ever remember it being shown on tv anywhere!  Don't miss it!

One of the best rodeo movies ever made was released twenty years earlier...Robert Mitchum's THE LUSTY MEN....with Susan Hayward, Arthur Kennedy and Arthur Hunnicutt; directed by Nicholas Ray (JOHNNY GUITAR-REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE-THE TRUE STORY OF JESSE JAMES and KING OF KINGS with Jeffrey "I was a teen-age Jesus" Hunter.)

2 comments:

Chris Casey said...

Dang! I wish we could get Encore Westerns here in Sierra Vista (without having to pay a ridiculous price for digital cable!).
I have never seen THE HONKERS, but have always wanted to.
I agree that THE LUSTY MEN was a fine rodeo picture.
The other one I like a lot is, of course, Peckinpah's JUNIOR BONNER (1972).

raymie said...

Steve Ihnat as director does a slow long pull back of the camera,a long one showing jimmy coming toward the camera.Unlike Yul Brynner who moved like he was king of the world and owned it,jimmy moves only like he is too cool for school,owns only the clothes on his back and bows to no king.That walk towards the camera was reason enough to hire jimmy for Schlitz beer commercials.The hat,the buckle,the boots coupled with a flat stomach and not an ounce of fat.He's not a rippling muscled washboard rhino build,but the cool cat like movements of a gaunt puma.Had jimmy died in 1975 after filming The Last Hard Man,he would be icon cult status right up there with McQueen.Come to think of it,mickey rourke would be the same if he died twenty years ago.With the clown makeup I can't tell how much old slim is in the arena with the bulls.Pride would have surely forced slim to want to be out there with them.I now add another rodeo film to the collection.The only film in the world that I have a four way connection on.The pretty little producer gal that put the A@E special together on us was the daughter of the man who wrote My Heros Have Always Been Cowboys.She told me stories that happened on the set.Scott Glenn who starred in it was born forty miles from me.Mickey Rooney was in it and he was in boot camp with my dad during the war.And finally,Ben Johnson who is in it,died of a heart atteck the same day I had a heart attack.No,it is no junior bonner.But it is special to me.