Burt Reynolds: Last Train Out For The 1970’s Man’s Man

I’d (way too) old enough to still remember seeing Burt Reynolds appear on Dan August way back in 1970-71 and liking the show just for the rather dynamic opening of Burt doing all those stunts (and that catchy title theme):


(Thanks, The Rap Sheet!)


Amusingly enough, I was also watching Mannix over on CBS back then and yep, both shows were cut from the same (and literal) rough and tumble Quinn Martin cloth. meaning they were reliably action-packed and very guy focused (although both Mike Connors and Burt clearly had appeal to anyone hooked into those shows). I still recall in school one day some fearless (but none to bright) kid tried to copy that floor slide Burt did in the opening only to find out the laws of physics and a non-waxed floor made for a painful-looking science lesson. Hey, I got a laugh out of that foolishness, so it was all good.


I read Burt said this was his favorite film. I heartily agree. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s worth the watch.

I didn’t see any of Burt’s movies until John Boorman’s brutal, brilliant Deliverance popped up in heavily edited form (I think on ABC) and yes, I was creeped out big time by it, but it also became a favorite flick whenever it aired. Now, I wasn’t one to follow all of his work, but much of everything I saw was well made and Burt always came off as a pretty cool cat. Even in his more dramatic work up to a point, he did quite okay portraying an interesting variety of characters. I liked his work on Sharky’s Machine a lot because the film works as both cop drama and intentionally amusing dark comedy. yeah, Burt was a pretty decent director, too. Foo. I hate writing these posts because it’s hard to put words into proper sentences when one’s mind is racing like a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am about to clear a huge jump. Go watch a Burt flick at some point, I say. Pick a good one.


Random Film of the Week: Sharky’s Machine

Sharky's Machine_MPOkay, I’ll admit it. I saw Sharky’s Machine with a few friends back in 1981 just so we could see a massive train-wreck in action. Of course, we were all surprised that the Burt Reynolds-directed film was not only quite good and well made, but actually a lot darker in tone than expected. There are also plenty of scenery-chewing funny bits in here as well, but none of them come at Burt’s expense and very few come from him (another surprise!).

Those bits of comic relief come primarily from the supporting cast made up of some of those “Where do I know HIM from?” actors (Bernie Casey, Brian Keith, John Fielder and Charles Durning among others) while Burt underplays Sharky as a moody and determined cop out to make the best of his earlier demotion who discovers love, death and dismemberment in a few strange places. Only two of those things actually happen TO him during the film, but I’ll keep you in suspense here (for the most part) just because I want you to check this one out at some point…

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