Vintage Pulp Jan 31 2022
SUCH A SHAMUS
He's a two-fisted loner who sometimes has to work outside the law. But he still could use a good script.


Burt Reynolds: unacknowledged acting genius? Absolutely—and we'll fight anyone who says differently. He debuted in television in 1958, but wasn't a movie star until a decade later. He was brilliant in serious roles such as Deliverance and The Longest Yard, but also had an easy flair for comedy. Shamus, which premiered today in 1973 and for which you see a U.S. three-sheet above, is a typical Reynolds effort, an action-drama with humor sprinkled throughout. In terms of sheer performing, this is a lay-up for him. He handles the drama with no problem and charms his way through the upbeat sections with the help of equally affable foil Dyan Cannon. As a bonus, he also performs several impressive stunts we can't imagine a modern actor attempting.

Reynolds' detective character Shamus McCoy is a tribute to Humphrey Bogart’s Philip Marlowe in 1946's The Big Sleep, with two scenes lifted almost wholesale from that film—one in which he seduces a buxom bookstore clerk, and one in which he meets his client in a refrigerated office (instead of a hothouse). He's hired to solve a murder/jewel heist that turns out to be connected to arms dealing, but the caper is flat from beginning to end, failing to build much interest or momentum. Reynolds, who made several smarmy action-comedies like Smokey and the Bandit and Hooper, was not shy when assessing his own abilities. He said he was as good in those lightweight films as it was possible for an actor to be. We agree, but even Burt can't make Shamus good.
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
February 27
1922—Challenge to Women's Voting Rights Rebuffed
In the United States, a conservative legal challenge to the nineteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution establishing voting rights for women is rebuffed by the Supreme Court in Leser v. Garnett. The challenge was based partly on the idea of individual "states rights" to self determination. The failure of such reasoning as it applied to basic human rights created a framework for later states rights losses involving the denial of voting rights to African-Americans.
February 26
1917—First Jazz Record Is Made
In New Orleans, The Original Dixieland Jass Band records the first ever jazz record for the Victor Talking Machine Company in New York. The band was frequently billed as the "Creators of Jazz", but in reality all the members had previously played in the Papa Jack Laine bands, a group of racially mixed performers who helped form the basis of Dixieland while playing under bandleader George Laine.
February 25
1947—Prussia Ceases To Exist
The centuries-old state of Prussia, which had been a great European power under the reign of Frederick the Great during the 1800s, and a major influence on German culture, ceases to exist when it is dissolved by the post-WWII Allied Control Council comprised of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union.
1964—Clay Beats Liston
Heavyweight boxer Cassius Clay, aged 22, becomes champion of the world after beating Sonny Liston, aka the Dark Destroyer, in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. It would be the beginning of a storied and controversial career for Clay, who would announce to the world shortly after the fight that he had changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
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