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THE MECHANIC (1972)-- anyone seen it?

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I watched THE MECHANIC yesterday. It's on Amazon Prime. I had never heard of it before and it was spectacular.

 

screen-shot-2017-06-04-at-8-35-25-pm2.pn

 

When THE MECHANIC was originally released it really underperformed at the box office. Made on a $10 million budget, it only earned back $80,000. Possibly because of the (very strongly) implied homosexuality between the two main characters played by Charles Bronson and Jan-Michael Vincent. 

 

Has anyone else seen this film? I don't want to spoil the plot too much, but I'd like to know what others think about it.

 

Not sure if it's ever aired on TCM. It's a United Artists picture, so it should be in TCM's library. 

 

screen-shot-2017-06-04-at-8-36-44-pm.png

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I've seen it a few times. One of the better Bronson movies of the '70's. And yeah, I noticed the homosexual angle on my last viewing (within the last few years). 

 

It was remade in 2011 with Jason Statham in the lead and Ben Foster as the protege. It was also good. This one has a sequel from 2016 which I have not yet seen.

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I watched THE MECHANIC yesterday. It's on Amazon Prime. I had never heard of it before and it was spectacular.

 

screen-shot-2017-06-04-at-8-35-25-pm2.pn

 

When THE MECHANIC was originally released it really underperformed at the box office. Made on a $10 million budget, it only earned back $80,000. Possibly because of the (very strongly) implied homosexuality between the two main characters played by Charles Bronson and Jan-Michael Vincent. 

 

Has anyone else seen this film? I don't want to spoil the plot too much, but I'd like to know what others think about it.

 

Not sure if it's ever aired on TCM. It's a United Artists picture, so it should be in TCM's library. 

 

screen-shot-2017-06-04-at-8-36-44-pm.png

I believe - but I may be wrong - that it has an underground reputation as "a gay classic".

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I believe - but I may be wrong - that it has an underground reputation as "a gay classic".

 

It wouldn't surprise me. I haven't seen the remake Larry mentioned, so I am wondering if the second version is a bit more explicit. The screenwriter, who also wrote THE FOX and THE BROTHERHOOD, claims his original script for THE MECHANIC spelled things out more clearly. Obviously, the gay angle was watered down in production, but it's still noticeable in some of the exchanges the characters have. One reviewer in 1972 identified the latent homosexuality of the characters, but they were supposed to be explicitly gay.

 

screen-shot-2017-06-05-at-6-12-21-am.jpg

 

The most striking thing was how casually Bronson played it. Like he definitely was not trying to make the character straight. He accepted the job knowing full well what the story was about, and he plays it honestly. The "seduction" aspects are put on Vincent's character who does some interesting things with his eyes to toy with Bronson, and Bronson doesn't seem to fight it. There's a great scene where they go out on a range to shoot clay pigeons and a lot can be said about the symbolism of them shooting rifles together, where Bronson is teaching Vincent how to improve and "get better" at it. Later when they are facing adversaries on a European mountain, they both put their skills to use-- almost as if they are united as a couple, and will blast anyone who opposes them.

 

screen-shot-2017-06-05-at-6-11-33-am.jpg

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It wouldn't surprise me. I haven't seen the remake Larry mentioned, so I am wondering if the second version is a bit more explicit. The screenwriter, who also wrote THE FOX and THE BROTHERHOOD, claims his original script for THE MECHANIC spelled things out more clearly. Obviously, the gay angle was watered down in production, but it's still noticeable in some of the exchanges the characters have. One reviewer in 1972 identified the latent homosexuality of the characters, but they were supposed to be explicitly gay.

 

screen-shot-2017-06-05-at-6-12-21-am.jpg

 

The most striking thing was how casually Bronson played it. Like he definitely was not trying to make the character straight. He accepted the job knowing full well what the story was about, and he plays it honestly. The "seduction" aspects are put on Vincent's character who does some interesting things with his eyes to toy with Bronson, and Bronson doesn't seem to fight it. There's a great scene where they go out on a range to shoot clay pigeons and a lot can be said about the symbolism of them shooting rifles together, where Bronson is teaching Vincent how to improve and "get better" at it. Later when they are facing adversaries on a European mountain, they both put their skills to use-- almost as if they are united as a couple, and will blast anyone who opposes them.

 

screen-shot-2017-06-05-at-6-11-33-am.jpg

Two men - handling rifles together - has a great deal of phallic symbolism.

 

If they are doing together - and under a great deal of pressure - the symbolism is even more intense.

 

The "hardness" of the rifles - and the "spraying" of the bullets - could not be more symbolic.

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On another related note, "Gilda", the relationship between Ballin and Johnny - the symbolism of Ballin's cane with its' hidden sword could not be MORE EROTIC SYMBOLISM.

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Two men - handling rifles together - has a great deal of phallic symbolism.

 

If they are doing together - and under a great deal of pressure - the symbolism is even more intense.

 

The "hardness" of the rifles - and the "spraying" of the bullets - could not be more symbolic.

 

The age difference between the two characters works so well-- we see a mentoring process take place and also a May-December (b)romance occurring. They are not shown like a father and son-- Vincent's character has a father (played by Keenan Wynn) who is killed earlier by Bronson. So in addition to all the symbolism and the bonding, there are seeds for betrayal too, when the relationship reaches a point of no return. Mixed into this are a few martial arts scenes where Bronson takes Vincent to watch two men fighting in a gymnasium. It's like there are all these violent rituals surrounding them. Intense physical displays. A huge mating game.

 

Both actors are remarkably comfortable in their scenes together. It's a brutal and sexy film. Some reviewers compared the action sequences to James Bond, and I agree there is a bit of a Bond influence going on. But it's like in this story Bond has a male protege he is sleeping with-- his own Bond boy.

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The age difference between the two characters works so well-- we see a mentoring process take place and also a May-December (b)romance occurring. They are not shown like a father and son-- Vincent's character has a father (played by Keenan Wynn) who is killed earlier by Bronson. So in addition to all the symbolism and the bonding, there are seeds for betrayal too, when the relationship reaches a point of no return. Mixed into this are a few martial arts scenes where Bronson takes Vincent to watch two men fighting in a gymnasium. It's like there are all these violent rituals surrounding them. Intense physical displays. A huge mating game.

 

Both actors are remarkably comfortable in their scenes together. It's a brutal and sexy film. Some reviewers compared the action sequences to James Bond, and I agree there is a bit of a Bond influence going on. But it's like in this story Bond has a male protege he is sleeping with-- his own Bond boy.

And why can't a James Bond have "his own Bond boy"?

 

A "Bond boy" could certainly take care of the hero on a more lasting basis than a Bond girl.

 

These rare type of films do work very well.

 

And, when they reach the point of delirium that they do in Samuel Fuller's "House Of Bamboo", there is really no describing that point of delirium.

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And why can't a James Bond have "his own Bond boy"?

 

A "Bond boy" could certainly take care of the hero on a more lasting basis than a Bond girl.

 

These rare type of films do work very well.

 

And, when they reach the point of delirium that they do in Samuel Fuller's "House Of Bamboo", there is really no describing that point of delirium.

This Bond boy idea was exploited in the recent "Kingsman" movie

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It wouldn't surprise me. I haven't seen the remake Larry mentioned, so I am wondering if the second version is a bit more explicit. The screenwriter, who also wrote THE FOX and THE BROTHERHOOD, claims his original script for THE MECHANIC spelled things out more clearly. Obviously, the gay angle was watered down in production, but it's still noticeable in some of the exchanges the characters have. One reviewer in 1972 identified the latent homosexuality of the characters, but they were supposed to be explicitly gay.

 

screen-shot-2017-06-05-at-6-12-21-am.jpg

 

The most striking thing was how casually Bronson played it. Like he definitely was not trying to make the character straight. He accepted the job knowing full well what the story was about, and he plays it honestly. The "seduction" aspects are put on Vincent's character who does some interesting things with his eyes to toy with Bronson, and Bronson doesn't seem to fight it. There's a great scene where they go out on a range to shoot clay pigeons and a lot can be said about the symbolism of them shooting rifles together, where Bronson is teaching Vincent how to improve and "get better" at it. Later when they are facing adversaries on a European mountain, they both put their skills to use-- almost as if they are united as a couple, and will blast anyone who opposes them.

 

screen-shot-2017-06-05-at-6-11-33-am.jpg

I saw Bronson on an old Dick Cavett show and he was more complex than his action movie persona- and who would not want to bond with Vincent in the 70s

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This Bond boy idea was exploited in the recent "Kingsman" movie

And I'm pretty sure "Skyfall" hinted at Bond having past relationships with men in that scene with the villain Silva. It's a start.

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I saw Bronson on an old Dick Cavett show and he was more complex than his action movie persona- and who would not want to bond with Vincent in the 70s

 

Yes, I think Bronson was/is a fascinating actor. Quite a few people turned down the lead in THE MECHANIC. One of them was George C. Scott who would not do it unless all references to the homosexual nature of the characters were eliminated. 

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Yes, I think Bronson was/is a fascinating actor. Quite a few people turned down the lead in THE MECHANIC. One of them was George C. Scott who would not do it unless all references to the homosexual nature of the characters were eliminated. 

Jarrod, such an interesting comment, because the nature of George C. Scott's relationship with Paul Newman in their film together seemed to be homosexual in nature, that is, on Mr. Scott's part.

 

In fact, during that film, I waited for a gay overture from Mr. Scott - but perhaps "destroying" Piper Laurie's character was "the gay overture" - Mr. Scott would have Mr. Newman to himself.

 

thehustler_c_scott_newman1.jpg?w=640

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Jarrod, such an interesting comment, because the nature of George C. Scott's relationship with Paul Newman in their film together seemed to be homosexual in nature, that is, on Mr. Scott's part.

 

In fact, during that film, I waited for a gay overture from Mr. Scott - but perhaps "destroying" Piper Laurie's character was "the gay overture" - Mr. Scott would have Mr. Newman to himself.

 

thehustler_c_scott_newman1.jpg?w=640

 

Maybe his views had changed during the ten years between those films. Scott was moody and quite temperamental at times. And he might have been taking roles earlier when he was still eager to make his mark. After he had "arrived," he could do what he wanted.

 

He would have been miscast in THE MECHANIC. I think James Coburn's name was attached to the project at one point. But Bronson was clearly the best one for the role.

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And I'm pretty sure "Skyfall" hinted at Bond having past relationships with men in that scene with the villain Silva. It's a start.

There is a hint of gay attraction between Bond and his sexy nerd Q ( Ben Whishaw)

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Maybe his views had changed during the ten years between those films. Scott was moody and quite temperamental at times. And he might have been taking roles earlier when he was still eager to make his mark. After he had "arrived," he could do what he wanted.

 

He would have been miscast in THE MECHANIC. I think James Coburn's name was attached to the project at one point. But Bronson was clearly the best one for the role.

 

They could remake it now with Tom Cruise and Zac Efron

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I love to read Carlino's original script

 

Agreed. I'd like to find a copy of it and read what he originally intended. In one interview he said that Jan-Michael Vincent's character was supposed to change from using sex to manipulate Bronson's character to falling in love with him. Not sure if that meant a different ending. The way the film ends now, there is a huge betrayal on both their parts. But maybe Carlino was going to have it be more ambiguous, suggesting they might have gone off together.

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Agreed. I'd like to find a copy of it and read what he originally intended. In one interview he said that Jan-Michael Vincent's character was supposed to change from using sex to manipulate Bronson's character to falling in love with him. Not sure if that meant a different ending. The way the film ends now, there is a huge betrayal on both their parts. But maybe Carlino was going to have it be more ambiguous, suggesting they might have gone off together.

It's perfect casting to have pretty boy Vincent using "sex" to manipulate tough guy Bronson- just watching the target practice scene made me wish they would have taking it further- they do make a sexy couple

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Speaking of Carlino, I see THE FOX is airing on TCM in September. I still wish they'd show THE BROTHERHOOD (along with THE MECHANIC of course).

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Although I do hate to say it, the film - as it stands today - must be a very watered-down version of the original script.

 

The gay angle hardly exsits - although in the scene in which they first meet and which is shot from the point of view of Jan Michael Vincent's fabulous **** - Charles Bronson's interested stare can not be mistaken.

 

There's also a later scene in which they are talking and which is shot from the point of view of Jan Michael Vincent's inviting crotch.

 

I would say that Bronson is definitely more interested in that he suddenly feels that he needs an assistant - when it is perfectly clear, on the strength of the first scene, that he can work very well on his own - and when he defends his choice to the man who provides him with his assignments. 

 

When he discovers that he is going to be Jan Michael Vincent's "hit", he still keeps him around.

 

And, for awhile, Jan Michael Vincent seems to have saved him from that set-up on the yacht in Italy.

 

And Charles Bronson does drink that fatal glass of wine - immediately sensing that it is almost certainly poisoned.

 

Charles Bronson underplays it all - but the man is in love!

 

Jan Michael Vincent never was - he was just out to kill the man who had killed his father.

 

He used Charles Bronson's attraction to bring him down.

 

But Charles Bronson - with his super-expertise as "a mechanic" - brings Jan Michael Vincent down - and he does it from the grave!

 

I would have liked a more explicit version of the material, though - one that had involved them in a love affair.

 

Therefore, his betrayal of Charles Bronson would have cut so much more deeply.

 

hero_EB19721130REVIEWS211300301AR.jpg

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Although I do hate to say it, the film - as it stands today - must be a very watered-down version of the original script.

 

The gay angle hardly exsits - although in the scene in which they first meet and which is shot from the point of view of Jan Michael Vincent's fabulous **** - Charles Bronson's interested stare can not be mistaken.

 

There's also a later scene in which they are talking and which is shot from the point of view of Jan Michael Vincent's inviting crotch.

 

I would say that Bronson is definitely more interested in that he suddenly feels that he needs an assistant - when it is perfectly clear, on the strength of the first scene, that he can work very well on his own - and when he defends his choice to the man who provides him with his assignments. 

 

When he discovers that he is going to be Jan Michael Vincent's "hit", he still keeps him around.

 

And, for awhile, Jan Michael Vincent seems to have saved him from that set-up on the yacht in Italy.

 

And Charles Bronson does drink that fatal glass of wine - immediately sensing that it is almost certainly poisoned.

 

Charles Bronson underplays it all - but the man is in love!

 

Jan Michael Vincent never was - he was just out to kill the man who had killed his father.

 

He used Charles Bronson's attraction to bring him down.

 

But Charles Bronson - with his super-expertise as "a mechanic" - brings Jan Michael Vincent down - and he does it from the grave!

 

I would have liked a more explicit version of the material, though - one that had involved them in a love affair.

 

Therefore, his betrayal of Charles Bronson would have cut so much more deeply.

 

hero_EB19721130REVIEWS211300301AR.jpg

A remake with Ryan Gosling and Bruce Willis?

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Haven't seen this, but watched a YouTube clip of the infamous wine drinking scene. Whether this is a form of "tough love" or brotherly affection, all I can say is this: what a waste of a perfectly fine 1972 Mustang.

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If Charles Bronson were a more expressive actor, he could have brought a lot of subtext to the material.

 

But he does what he can - and somehow that almost manages to be enough.

 

When love goes wrong, even the betrayed can be willing - and deadly.

 

And Bronson is willing to pay for his "weakness" and exact a price for it, too.

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If Charles Bronson were a more expressive actor, he could have brought a lot of subtext to the material.

 

But he does what he can - and somehow that almost manages to be enough.

 

When love goes wrong, even the betrayed can be willing - and deadly.

 

And Bronson is willing to pay for his "weakness" and exact a price for it, too.

 

I think it plays better that a less-expressive actor like Bronson is in the role. The character is a man who keeps things close to the vest. The story is as powerful as it is because he becomes (un)willingly compromised.

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