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Archive for June 5th, 2009

A bit of a quick article thrown together on hearing the news of the death of David Carradine.  A prolific actor with more than two hundred film and TV roles in a forty-five year career.  Since appearing in Kill Bill five years ago he has been as busy as ever making nearly fifty TV and film appearances.  I’m sure the circumstances of his death will be revealed in time but I am here to pay tribute by suggesting a few highlights of his film career:

David Carradine Kill BillWe have to start with Kill Bill (2003): David Carradine only got the part of Bill after Warren Beatty and Kevin Costner turned it down but looking at the film now I can not imagine either men or anyone else for that matter in the role.  It is a strange part as he does not get a huge amount of screen time but is the fulcrum on which the film revolves.

Q the winged serpentQ-The Winged Serpent (1982):  I first saw this movie in the early 90’s on Movidrome introduced by Alex Cox.  It is an interesting little film set in New York.  The winged serpent of the title has taken up residence in the most iconic of buildings The Chrysler Building.  What makes this cheep 80’s sci-fi thriller work is it has a real sense of a western take on a Japanese monster movie complete with the perfect one shot shock ending.

David Carradine connonballCannonball (1976):  The first and in some ways the best film based on the “Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash” Better known as the Cannonball Run, it was followed by The Cannonball Run and The Gumball Rally.  It is (as with the other two) the story of an illegal cost to cost road race.  This one is a little more serious than the other films on the subject but also has some great comedy moments.

death race 2000Death Race 2000 (1975):  Set in a dim and distant dystopian future (nine years ago now!).  I first saw this film as a kid, it was a video nasty that you had to see when you where a kid at school in the 80’s.  I recently watched it again in the aftermath of last years “re-imagining” and was amazed that it has aged really well and isn’t a bad film.  It is cheep and cheesy but what people tend to forget is that by modern standards it isn’t very violent or gory and there is even an argument that it is a satire with a moral message.

David Carradine the long ridersThe Long Riders (1980):  Walter Hills film about the James/Younger gang also appeared on Moviedrome in the 90s.  The thing that really made this film was the casting David Carradine played Cole younger with his brothers Keith and Robert playing Jim and Bob Younger respectively.  Rounding the cast James and Stacy Keach played the James Brothers, Dennis and Randy Quaid played the Miller brothers and Christopher and Nicholas Guest played the Ford brothers. 

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