The Villain (1979)

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    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)

    Best Wishes
    London- England