John Saxon (1935-2020)
Just got the news while watching a Boetticher/Scott western. John Saxon is gone. Another actor I’ve been following since childhood and there aren’t too many left that I can say that about.
Movie memories automatically come flooding back. Why is it I always liked Saxon more than some of his contemporaries? Maybe it’s that earliest memory I can recall of seeing the telefilm Planet Earth playing regularly on TV as a kid. Still a fan of that Gene Roddenberry penned story. As a collector of movies on VHS/DVD or blu ray I checked my catalogue and have 48 films on the shelf that either star Saxon or had him playing support. “A” budget efforts to low budget fodder. From his younger days as the boyfriend to leading ladies like Sandra Dee to the later years in Euro-crime thrillers, Saxon, was always watchable.
Of course he’ll always be remembered for his role alongside Bruce Lee in the cult favorite Enter the Dragon and rightly so.
He’ll remain a favorite to cult fans for his work in genre pics from directors including Mario Bava and Dario Argento and of course Wes Craven and the Freddy Krueger flicks.
Let’s not forget the westerns either working with the likes of Brando and Eastwood. Or starring in 1962’s War Hunt with a young Robert Redford debuting as his costar.
Always welcome here at Mike’s Take On the Movies, here’s a look back at the film’s that were spotlighted over the past 6 years that had Saxon in the cast.
Joe Kidd (1972) the western with John playing second lead to Clint.
Company of Killers (1971) Saxon as a hired killer on the loose backed by a decent cast.
Portrait in Black (1960) early role for John playing opposite Lana Turner and Anthony Quinn with Sandra Dee on his arm.
Wrong is Right (1982) an ensemble piece played for dark humor led by Sean Connery.
Strange Shadows In an Empty Room (1976) John plays second lead to Stuart Whitman’s revenge minded cop.
The Unguarded Moment (1956) early role for John as a sex crazed youth headed for trouble.
The Swiss Conspiracy (1976) not a bad thriller with John playing support to David Janssen.
Queen of Blood (1966) a cult favorite with Saxon playing lead in a very Alien like sci-fi thriller.
Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) John plays the villain to the Magnificent Seven in Outer Space.
Payoff (1991) a decent thriller from the VHS days with Saxon a mobster to Keith Carradine’s good guy.
The Ravagers (1965) low budget made in the Philippines guerilla war effort with John playing the lead.
The Glove (1979) John takes center stage as a modern day bounty hunter in a role well suited. Low budget fun.
Father time catches up to all of us but that doesn’t make it any easier. While John has passed on we’ll always have the movies to remember him by.