The Villain (1979)

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    • The Villain (1979)

      aka Cactus Jack



      Plot Summary
      "Cactus" Jack Slade (Douglas) is the meanest bad man in the west or so he thinks. When a bank robbery goes awry, he lands in jail facing a hangman's noose! When the corrupt owner of the bank offers him a job, Jack sees a chance to both stay alive and get rich in the process. All he has to do is steal a strongbox full of money the banker lent to Mr. Parody Jones who needs it to keep his mining operation going. If he defaults on the loan, our "friendly" banker takes over the mine. Ms. Charming Jones (Margret) comes to town to collect the money and take it back to her father, Parody. To ensure the money makes it back home, Parody has called in a favor from a man who owes him a life debt. Enter Handsome Stranger (Schwarzenegger). The toughest and strongest hero in the west. As tough as a steel plate but, unfortunately, just as dense. As Charming and Handsome set off on their journey, Jack sets out after them. Using his trusty "Bad Men Of The West" handbook, Jack sets one trap after ...
      Written by gorn9146

      Kirk Douglas ... Cactus Jack
      Ann-Margret ... Charming Jones
      Arnold Schwarzenegger ... Handsome Stranger
      Paul Lynde ... Nervous Elk
      Foster Brooks ... Bank Clerk
      Ruth Buzzi ... Damsel in Distress
      Jack Elam ... Avery Simpson
      Strother Martin ... Parody Jones
      Ray Bickel ... Man
      Robert Tessier ... Mashing Finger
      Mel Tillis ... Telegraph Agent
      Laura Lizer Sommers ... Working Girl
      Jan Eddy ... Sheriff
      Mel Todd ... Conductor
      Jim Anderson ... Bartender
      Ed Little ... Little Man in Bar
      Dick Dickinson ... Man in Bar
      Richard Brewer ... Man in Bar
      Charles Haigh ... Salesman
      Ron Duffy ... Salesman
      Earl W. Smith ... Salesman
      Mike Cerre ... Salesman
      Lee Davis ... Salesman
      Dick Armstrong ... Ticket Agent
      Sheldon Rosner ... Little Man Outside Bank
      Bud Stout ... Blacksmith (as Budd Stout)
      Ott ... Whiskey
      and many more..

      Hal Needham

      Writing Credits
      Robert G. Kane

      Mort Engelberg ... producer
      Stuart Fleming ... associate producer (as Stu Fleming)
      Paul Maslansky ... executive producer

      Bill Justis

      Bobby Byrne

      The sign in front of a saloon is the painting from the side of Bandit's truck
      in Smokey and the Bandit (1977), also directed by Hal Needham.

      If there are any doubts about this movie being a homage to the great American cartoon, the character name here "Avery Jones" is clearly a salute to Tex Avery and Chuck Jones, two of the geniuses behind the Warner Bros. cartoon studio.

      Cactus Jack Slade, the character played by Kirk Douglas, is a human character form of the Wily E. Coyote character from the Warner Brothers 'Looney Tunes' / 'Road Runner' cartoons. This film though does not feature a human-form equivalent of the Road Runner character.

      The scene that shows the burning 'cathouse' features a caricature of Burt Reynolds painted on the side. Apparently, a nod from the director to his pal Reynolds.

      On the French soundtrack, the horse named "Whisky" had a dubbing voice added to make it sound even funnier.

      This movie's original American title was changed from 'The Villain' to 'Cactus Jack' for release in foreign territories such as the UK and Australia after the picture failed commercially at the box-office in the USA.

      Final theatrically released American western for Kirk Douglas.

      Eight identical horses played the role of Whiskey.

      This is the last film project for Paul Lynde.

      This so-called live-action version of a Warner Brothers 'Looney Tunes' cartoon was not production of the Warner Brothers studio but one of the Columbia Pictures studio.

      Arnold Schwarzenegger's only ever western.

      The song that Kirk Douglas plays on the organ is the 'Yigdal', a popular hymn traditionally sung at the end of a Sabbath or high holiday service in a Conservative or Orthodox Jewish Synagogue.

      One of two western comedies released in 1979. The other was The Frisco Kid (1979).

      Mel Tillis, who plays stuttering Telegraph Agent character is also movie's soundtrack songs performer.

      Ironically, this live-action version of a 'Looney Tunes' animated film actually had its main original American movie poster designed as a cartoon.

      The sign over the saloon is the same as the artwork on the truck in Smokey and the Bandit. Both films were directed by Hal Needham.

      The central character in this western-spoof is Cactus Jack Slade. Similarly, there had been another western-spoof with a central character called Evil Roy Slade (1972). This was a tele-movie that had been made earlier in the decade. Both the Evil Roy Slade and Cactus Jack Slade characters are seen dressed very much alike, completely in black outfit with black hats, both sport moustaches, are villains, and share the same last name. The Slade surname in the earlier film was an acronym for "Sneaking, Lying, Arrogance, Dirtiness and Evil." Moreover, both characters in posters are seen riding atop a Western vehicle, Jack on a locomotive and Roy on a horse carriage.

      Arnold 'Handsome Stranger" Schwartzenegger (His father was named Handsome Stranger) wears an outfit identical to that of Clayton Moore's Lone Ranger, just without a mask.

      Hal Needham directed Smokey and the Bandit. The saloon is named Bandits Hangout after Burt Reynolds character from Smokey and the Bandit.

      The meaning and relevance of this movie's 'The Villain' and 'Cactus Jack' titles
      are that they both refer to the name of the film's central antagonist character of Cactus Jack Slade played by Kirk Douglas.

      Whiskey is the name of the horse in Kirk Douglas' picture "Lonely are the Brave."

      During the chase out of Indian county, the white shawl around Charming Jones' shoulders and arms disappears and reappears between shots.

      Crew or equipment visible
      In one scene where Cactus Jack is trying to get on his horse you can easily see a man moving a trampoline under the horse's belly for him to stand on (only visible in open matte TV showings).

      Loads of trampolines visible in every shot when Cactus Jack is bouncing around in the last scene of the movie while celebrating (only visible in open matte TV showings).

      Revealing mistakes
      When Whisky approaches Cactus Jack in the jail, (@15:50) the bars on the window move.

      When Cactus Jack is leaning over the cliff to watch Charming bathe, a pole can be seen holding him up as the small tree he is holding onto breaks away. (only visible in open matte TV showings).

      Horse stands available when Nervous Elk yells "charge" and all the horses race from out of the stands (only visible in open matte TV showings).

      Memorable Quotes

      Filming Locations
      Monument Valley, Utah, USA
      Old Tucson - 201 S. Kinney Road, Tucson, Arizona, USA
      Tucson, Arizona, USA
      Monument Valley, Arizona, USA

      Watch the Movie

      Best Wishes
      London- England
    • The Villain is a 1979 American film. A parody blend of western films and Warner Bros.'
      Wile E. Coyote cartoon situations, it was directed by Hal Needham
      and starred Kirk Douglas, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ann-Margret, Paul Lynde,
      Foster Brooks, Strother Martin, Ruth Buzzi, Jack Elam, and Mel Tillis.

      Its title when released in the UK and in Australia was Cactus Jack.

      Directed by Duke 'Pal', Hal Needham
      and stars 'Pals' Kirk Douglas, Ann-Margaret
      Jack Elam, Strother Martin

      User Review

      Wile E. Coyote live
      31 August 2006 | by John Slaughter (Spirit Lake, ID)

      john wrote:

      Kirk Douglas, playing the title character of Cactus Jack, demonstrates his great ability to work in a comedy as he becomes the personification of Road Runner's nemesis, Wile E. Coyote. True, lovers of Road Runner and "Beep, Beep" will be left out because he isn't there. But, for those who watch just to see Wile E. get his comeuppance time after time, this is hilarious. This has all of the gags that have made it so much fun for us "older" folk watching the old cartoons. In fact, my 16 and 10 year old daughters love watching this one over and over.

      A plot line is added with the beautiful Ann-Margret vamping like mad with Arnold Schwarzenegger as they are pursued by Cactus Jack. You should consider being with your kids when they watch this. It is full of innuendo and Ann-Margret definitely shows off her ample endowment and even a brief display of her legs.

      Mel Tillis is the telegrapher. Here, he gets paid for what he worked so hard to eliminate - his stutter. Foster Brooks does his inebriated schtick as the bank clerk. Paul Lynde is the chief of one of the most inept tribes of Native Americans ever filmed. They can't even keep the blankets on their saddles. Finally, Jack Elam puts in a short piece and is his usual dastardly self. For my money, Jack was one of the best western character actors to grace the screen
      Best Wishes
      London- England