(US - 1974)
Directed by Terence Young. Written by Millard Kaufman and Samuel Fuller. Cast: Lee Marvin, Richard Burton, Cameron Mitchell, O.J. Simpson, Lola Falana, Luciana Paluzzi, David Huddleston, Linda Evans, Ed Call, John Alderson, David Ladd, Vic Perrin, Spence Wil-Dee, Wendell Wellman, Hoke Howell, Virgil Frye, Lee De Broux, Susan Brown, Jeannie Bell, Larry Williams. (R, 112 mins)
THE KLANSMAN is a film so consistently and unrelentingly repugnant that it opens with a group of white yahoos giving a mentally challenged black man $1 to rape a young black woman as they stand around in a circle cheering him on...and it somehow gets more offensive with each passing scene. A misguided clusterfuck from the moment it was greenlit to the week of its release over Thanksgiving 1974--because who doesn't want to spend the holiday with family watching a movie with rape, castration, and more racial slurs than the combined filmographies of Spike Lee and Quentin Tarantino?--THE KLANSMAN is, if you can stomach it, a film that simply must be seen to be believed. The fact that it's a Paramount release with big name stars probably lent an illusion of prestige, but make no mistake, this is as foul, if not more so, as any drive-in exploitation grinder, so trashy and shamelessly gutter-wallowing that, as Johnny LaRue's Crane Shot's Marty McKee stated in his review, "You need a SILKWOOD shower after watching it." Based on a 1965 novel by William Bradford Huie, THE KLANSMAN probably began with the best intentions. Samuel Fuller (FIXED BAYONETS, MERRILL'S MARAUDERS, SHOCK CORRIDOR) wrote the script and was set to direct before quitting the project over disagreements with the producers. Fuller's script was reworked by Millard Kaufman (BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK, RAINTREE COUNTRY) and veteran British journeyman Terence Young (DR. NO, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, THUNDERBALL, WAIT UNTIL DARK) was brought in to direct. Though he had some major hits under his belt, Young was pushing 60 and in paycheck mode by that point, primarily working in Europe, coming off three Charles Bronson films with 1970's COLD SWEAT, 1971's RED SUN, and 1972's THE VALACHI PAPERS, followed by the cheesy 1973 sword-and-sandal outing WAR GODDESS, and he reportedly only took the KLANSMAN gig because he was a sugar daddy to a much younger girlfriend and needed some major studio Hollywood cash.
|Alternate poster art focused on O.J. Simpson
|For Lola Falana's and even O.J. Simpson's sake, let's hope
this Bronco was being pulled on a trailer
and Richard Burton wasn't actually driving it.
|Richard Burton, Luciana Paluzzi, and Lee Marvin
at a party during production of THE KLANSMAN.