So just who am I referring to when I say “The Man in the Movies?” I’d understand perfectly if you thought it was a reference to the white establishment in any number of blaxploitation flicks from the early 70’s like Shaft, Black Caesar or Foxy Brown.
Not in this case. There are probably hundreds of films beginning with “The Man” in the title. The Man Who, The Man From, A Man Called etc… So let’s have some fun and see just who starred as “The Man” or look at the key word in the title of a few films. An example might fall under the letter S as in The Man Without a STAR. It’s a 1955 western that I might have used under the letter K as in Kirk Douglas who played the title role, The Man Without a Star.
Time to throw some titles at you that you may recall or even spark your interest in hunting down some titles from the past which in the end is always my goal here at Mike’s Take.
Here we go ….
A is for …. Alamo.
Western favorite, Glenn Ford, starred in 1953’s The Man From the Alamo. One of the many Universal International westerns that populated movie theaters during the genre’s peak years. Ford plays the lone man who escapes death at the hands of Santa Ana’s army to go off on an adventure of his own while being branded a coward. Directed by Budd Boetticher the film has a bevy of familiar faces including Julie Adams, Hugh O’Brian, Neville Brand, Chill Wills and Victor Jory.
B is for …. Bogart’s Face. I’ve never actually seen the 1980 release, The Man With Bogart’s Face, starring a guy named Robert Sacchi who was a dead ringer for the iconic Bogie. No idea if this one is any good but it did serve as the final film appearance for Bogie’s costar from long ago, George Raft. I did see Sacchi playing a very Bogart(ish) character in The French Sex Murders (1972) as the actor went about solving a series of homicides in his trench coat. Just like our hero would have done had he been around.
C is for …. Cornel Wilde.
In 1965 Wilde starred and directed the thrilling chase film, The Naked Prey. In the film a nearly naked Wilde is running for his life from tribesman in South Africa much like the Rod Steiger character is running for his life from American Indians in Sam Fuller’s 1957 western, Run of the Arrow. In Naked Prey, Wilde’s name in the film’s credits is simply listed as “Man.”
D is for …. Diner. In 1963 the wonderful Danny Kaye starred in his final theatrical release as a leading man, The Man From the Diner’s Club. Directed by Frank Tashlin, the film plays like a Jerry Lewis comedy and considering Tashlin directed a number of Jerry’s features this shouldn’t come as a surprise. The film costars Martha Hyer, Telly Savalas and George Kennedy.
E is for …. Eastwood.
I for one love Clint Eastwood‘s film Honkytonk Man. That’s probably because it’s a good old boy road picture wrapped around a man’s dream of becoming a singing star on the Grand Ole’ Opry in Nashville Tennessee. Released in 1982, it’s a depression era setting and Clint cast his own son, Kyle, in the film to take the road trip with him and screen veteran John McIntire to the home of Country Music. If you love “real” Country Music then it really is a must if for no other reason than to see the final screen appearance of the legendary singer, Marty Robbins, who died shortly before the film’s release.
F is for …. Flintstone. As the hit cartoon series came to and, The Man Called Flintstone, found it’s way into movie theaters in 1966. Not surprisingly, Hanna-Barbera put the gruff Fred Flintstone into a tale of spies and mistaken identities with Alan Reed once again voicing our hero as he had done on the series which ran from 1960 though to ’66.
G is for …. Golden Gun.
In 1974 the James Bond series saw the release of the 9th film in the official series and the second title starring Roger Moore, The Man With the Golden Gun. In this case the title refers to the villain Scaramanga portrayed by one of the movie world’s greatest baddies, Christopher Lee, who by this point in time had sworn off playing his most famous role, Dracula.
H is for …. Haunted Himself.
While Chris Lee took the title role from Roger Moore in the 9th Bond flick, Moore, landed the title role in the 1970 oddity, The Man Who Haunted Himself. By this point Moore was finished with The Saint, on the verge of starring in The Persuaders with Tony Curtis and waiting for Sean Connery to call it a day. Based on the novel, The Strange Case of Mr. Pelham, the story had previously been directed by Alfred Hitchcock for an episode of his TV series. The film proved to be the final film directed by Basil Dearden who had helmed some wonderful titles including, The Blue Lamp (1950), The League of Gentlemen (1960) and The Assassination Bureau (1969).
I is for …. Intrepid. A one time 3 part miniseries cut down to a movie length for subsequent viewers, A Man Called Intrepid, was released to TV in 1979 starring David Niven. A WW2 espionage tale based on a true story has Niven leading the 3 part story with Michael York, Barbara Hershey and Gayle Hunnicutt also enlisting in the fight against tyranny. Apparently the story has a Canadian connection I should look into. A training camp here in Ontario known as Camp X where the ways of espionage were taught to would be agents during the Second World War.
J is for …. Jones.
Time to throw you a curveball. The beautiful Carolyn Jones costarred opposite Alan Ladd in one of the actor’s final films, 1959’s The Man in the Net. Truthfully there isn’t much to recommend the film but I like Miss Jones thanks to growing up watching The Addams Family and seeing her turn up in films like Last Train From Gun Hill and The House of Wax so I thought I’d briefly shine the light on her. Man in the Net also proved to be one of the later films directed by Michael Curtiz who had just worked with Ladd on the superior Proud Rebel AND Miss Jones on King Creole with Elvis Presley the year prior to Net’s release.
K is for …. Karloff.
“Dear Boris” starred in a trio of titles that fit the criteria for this edition of From A to Z. In 1936 he travelled to England to star in The Man Who Changed His Mind (aka The Man Who Lived Again). Fast forward to 1939 at Columbia he starred in the enjoyable “B” thriller, The Man They Could Not Hang. Not finished there, in 1940 and still contracted to Columbia, Boris, starred as The Man With Nine Lives. Both of the Columbia features were directed by Nick Grinde and make for an enjoyable double feature lasting just 2 hours and 18 minutes.
L is for …. Laramie. James Stewart starred in one of his finest westerns under Anthony Mann’s direction in 1955, The Man From Laramie. A hard nosed tale that doesn’t pull it’s punches and like many of Mann’s films offers up a tortured lead character in a very Noir like tale of the old west. Arthur Kennedy and Donald Crisp costar and I’ve always had that image of Stewart being dragged behind a horse at the end of a rope embedded into my memory banks.
M is for …. Man. In 1972 James Earl Jones starred in the appropriately titled “The Man.” In the film Jones becomes the first African American President of the United States long before Barack Obama turned it into a reality. Directed by journeyman, Joseph Sargent, the film has numerous character actors that you may recall like Burgess Meredith, Martin Balsam, George Stanford Brown, Lew Ayres, William Windom, Barbara Rush and Patric Knowles. Let me know if you’ve seen this one and what you think as I have yet to experience it.
N is for …. Noon. Richard Crenna starred as The Man Called Noon in 1973. A spaghetti western at heart, you could read more about my “take” on it with a click right here.
O is for …. O.R.G.Y.
No seriously, apparently Robert Walker Jr. starred as The Man From O.R.G.Y. in 1970. I’ve never seen it but with a title like that and a plot involving Walker as an Agent from O.R.G.Y. attempting to get three ladies together to read the treasure map tattooed across their rear ends? Then yeah I’d like to give it a try for that exploitation feel alone. I wonder if Robert Vaughn was approached to play the O.R.G.Y.’s top agent since his stint at U.N.C.L.E. had come to an end?
P is for …. Peck. Screen favorite, Gregory Peck played “The Man” in a couple of 1950’s releases. Like many Hollywood actors of the early 1950’s, Peck, journeyed overseas to England to star in The Man With a Million in 1954. The film was also released under the title, The Million Pound Note and was apparently influential in the plot development of the Eddie Murphy/Dan Aykroyd winner, Trading Places. Peck also starred in the title role of The Man in The Gray Flannel Suit which found it’s way into movie houses in 1956. Well received the film surrounded Peck with a top cast including Frederic March, Jennifer Jones, Keenan Wynn and Lee J. Cobb.
Q is for …. Quinn.
Oscar winner and all around movie legend, Anthony Quinn, starred in the rewarding yet low key western, The Man From Del Rio released in 1955. Tony stars as a town tamer with a chip on his shoulder and Katy Jurado on his mind.
R is for …. Reynolds.
In 1973, Burt Reynolds, played the lead role in The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing. Burt’s leading a gang of outlaws with Jack Warden and Bo Hopkins among them. Into his world comes Sarah Miles and the husband who wants her back at any cost played by another “Man” of cinema, George Hamilton. aka The Man With a Tan. I’ve always like this one and yeah I’ve always been a big fan of Burt and especially his work in the 1970’s. For the record and trivia buffs, Burt, also played The Man Who Loved Women released in 1983.
S is for …. Schell. Oscar winner Maximilian Schell took the lead role in 1975’s The Man in the Glass Booth. I’ve long heard this is a movie worthy of my time so I’m going to have to make an effort to finally see it. It was actually written by actor Robert Shaw and found success on Broadway prior to the film with Donald Pleasence in the lead role. Schell’s performance landed him his first Oscar nomination since winning way back in 1961 for his turn as the defense lawyer in Judgement at Nuremberg.
T is for …. Tracy.
Meaning Spencer Tracy who starred in the title role of Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea from director John Sturges released to movie theaters in 1958. Tracy’s performance scored the legendary actor his sixth of nine Oscar nominations for Best Actor. For the record he won twice consecutively for 1937’s Captains Courageous and for 38’s Boys Town. For a side note the previously mentioned Anthony Quinn also took on the title role of Hemingway’s “tail” in a telefilm that hit the small screen in 1990.
U is for …. Utah. Way back before John Wayne became THE John Wayne he was cranking out dozens of B westerns throughout the 1930’s including The Man From Utah released by Paul Malvern Productions and costarring western stalwart George “Gabby” Hayes. Nowadays you can pick this film up in any bargain bin sets containing many of these early Duke efforts that run an hour in length as a good majority of them ended up in the Public Domain.
V is for …. von Stroheim.
Silent film star and director, Erich von Stroheim was often billed early on as The Man You Love to Hate. Stroheim (1885-1957) is known for directing the silent classic, Greed (1924) though his original cut of the film is considered to be lost. As an actor he starred in numerous silents before moving into talkies. You can find him in a number of great films including, The Grand Illusion (1937), Five Graves to Cairo (1943) and playing Max opposite Gloria Swanson’s Norma Desmond in 1950’s Sunset Boulevard. The latter two films, Cairo and Boulevard were directed by Billy Wilder.
W is for …. White Suit.
In 1951, Alec Guinness, starred as The Man in the White Suit. This delicious tale from director Alexander Mackendrick (Sweet Smell of Success) finds Sir Alec as a scientist of sorts who discovers a fabric that will never wrinkle or stain. Needless to say the industrial world does not approve and this one from Ealing Studios is a must. Even Dr. Pretorius himself, Ernest Thesiger turns up for the fun. Don’t wait on this one, grab a copy if you’ve yet to experience it.
X is for …. X-Ray. Was there any doubt that I’d be listing The Man With the X-Ray Eyes with Ray Milland taking on the title role. It’s another of those Roger Corman efforts that remain popular to this day thanks to the cult film fans who love to go back and watch horror and fantasy titles from the past. Once again there’s a scientist messing about with things that man probably shouldn’t be. Even Mr. Warmth, Don Rickles, plays a part in this one.
Y is for …. Young Man.
In 1950 as his Hollywood star was on the rise, Kirk Douglas, played the lead in Young Man with a Horn opposite a pair of iconic leading ladies, Lauren Bacall and Doris Day. Directed by Michael Curtiz, the film cast Douglas as a trumpet player caught up in his love of Jazz and stormy relationships while on his rise to glory. Harry James supplied Kirk’s musical licks off screen and actor/entertainer Hoagy Carmichael also stars.
Z is for …. Zucco.
What did you expect? Did you know character actor and frequent horror film leading man, George Zucco, appeared in both Voodoo Man AND The Return of the Ape Man with the legendary Bela Lugosi in 1944? There’s no doubt he’s in Voodoo Man as is John Carradine but when it comes to his portraying the title role in The Return of the Ape Man, again with Carradine, there is a mystery to be told. Here’s a borrowed snippet from the IMDB trivia section on the film…. George Zucco was hired for the part of the Ape Man and showed up for initial costume fittings and preliminary make-up applications, but he fell ill prior to shooting and was replaced by Frank Moran. However, his contract required that he receive third billing, so even though he appears in the film for only a few seconds*, he is still billed third. He does appear in some lobby cards, however, and there are publicity photos taken of him in full costume and make-up. (*Keen eyed viewers will spot him in the initial scenes of the dormant ape-man lying on Dexter’s lab table. Frank Moran takes over just as creature stirs and wakes up).
Thanks for stopping in for this latest addition of From A to Z. I had fun doing some digging on this one and could have come up with other topics for many of the above letters. Did I miss an obvious one in your world of movie watching? Let me know and at the same time I hope I’ve brought up something that has caught your attention to have fun with.
Thanks a bunch, was fun putting this one together.
Quite an interesting list and choices there Mike, that’s pretty cool. Your A to Z lists are always fun to read. I remember seeing A Man Called Flintstone on Cartoon Network when I was a kid in the 90’s, my Dad said it was a film I ought to check out and I’m glad I did then. Haven’t seen it for a long, long time, but I remember it being a lot of fun. It ain’t a list if you don’t have the likes of Christopher Lee, he always adds a nice bit of spice. Von Stroheim earned that the Man You Love to Hate moniker in spades, he was a genius and his own worst enemy – much like Orson Welles, without the craziness.
Good call on von Stroheim and Welles. You can even throw Peckinpah into that and make it a trio. They were always at war with the money men who held the purse strings and generally final cut. Lee can make almost any list with the number of roles and movies under his belt. I grew up watching the Flintstones so knew I had to squeeze that one in.
Some superb choices, brought back many happy memories. There are plenty candidates for That Kind of Woman if you fancy a follow-up?
Could be in the works and with that title I guess Sophia would lead the way.
Cool list, Mike…at first, I thought it was going to be a list of Charles Bronson films, because who else would be ‘The Man’ on this site? My favorites from the list would have to be The Man with the Golden Gun and The Naked Prey, though I recently saw The Man from the Diner’s Club, and had some fun with that one as well.
As for other titles you might’ve used, when I saw ‘C’ didn’t have one, what immediately came to mind was The Man Who Cheated Himself, a noir from 1950.
I can see that Bronson thought bubbling to the surface. I did think of Cheat and had it in my notes. Superior Noir effort. A nice pair of faves you picked from the list. A secret…. I have both one sheets.