Sunday, May 22, 2016

Clay Pigeon (1971)

Hollywood also-ran Tom Stern must have made a lot of friends or a lot of money, if not both, during the early years of his career as an actor and occasional director—because calling in favors or writing checks seem like the only means by which Stern could have cajoled Burgess Meredith, Telly Savalas, and Robert Vaughan into appearing in Stern’s misbegotten magnum opus, Clay Pigeon. A sloppily constructed story about a dude roped into a convoluted sting operation by government agents, the picture attempts to connect themes related to drugs, hippie culture, police corruption, and Vietnam. Abstract artists and exotic dancers are involved, as well. Even the main character, whom Stern portrays, is confusing: He’s a Vietnam veteran turned flower child, and yet he’s also periodically described as an ex-cop, and he may or may not be a drug addict. (Between the rotten storytelling and the intrusion of trippy drug sequences, it’s hard to tell what’s happening throughout most of the picture.) Stern, who codirected Clay Pigeon with Lane Slate, seems perplexed about what sort of movie he’s trying to make. At various times, Clay Pigeon is an action picture, a heavy drama, and a sexy thriller replete with abundant female nudity. At other times, the movie stops dead for interminable and meaningless discursions, as if Stern felt obligated to use every frame of film he shot. For example, consider the very long scene of Stern and Meredith riding a dune buggy through sandy hills while police vehicles follow, culminating in a slow-mo shot of a police car tumbling down a hill. The shot lingers onscreen so long that it almost qualifies as a subplot. Elsewhere in the movie, Savalas delivers this head-scratcher of a speech: “Quite by accident, we stumbled upon a ding-a-ling with a great deal of ability. I want to use that ability. I want to rouse the conscience of this freakout in order to succeed where you and I have failed, and that's to arrest a malignancy.”

Clay Pigeon: LAME

1 comment:

Cindylover1969 said...

When Sherwood Price, Robert Vaughn's partner in his Ferdporqui Productions, was asked by Vaughn had signed on to do "The Protectors," Price replied "Baby, the money's good!" Which would explain.
, several of his credits (and Telly Savalas'). And Burgess Meredith's (like "Golden Rendezvous" with Richard Harris and David Janssen, a possible future posting?).