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.
June 20
1967—Muhammad Ali Sentenced for Draft Evasion
Heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, who was known as Cassius Clay before his conversion to Islam, is sentenced to five years in prison for refusing to serve in the military during the Vietnam War. In elucidating his opposition to serving, he uttered the now-famous phrase, “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.”
June 19
1953—The Rosenbergs Are Executed
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were convicted for conspiracy to commit espionage related to passing information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet spies, are executed at Sing Sing prison, in New York.
June 18
1928—Earhart Crosses Atlantic Ocean
American aviator Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly in an aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean, riding as a passenger in a plane piloted by Wilmer Stutz and maintained by Lou Gordon. Earhart would four years later go on to complete a trans-Atlantic flight as a pilot, leaving from Newfoundland and landing in Ireland, accomplishing the feat solo without a co-pilot or mechanic.
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