Brannigan


1h 51m 1975
Brannigan

Brief Synopsis

A Chicago police detective has to bring a crook home from London.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Action
Crime
Thriller
Release Date
1975
Production Company
United Artists Films
Distribution Company
United Artists Films

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 51m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

Detective Jim Brannigan, an Irish-American detective at large in London, teams with Scotland Yard official Commander Swann to corral a crook who has absconded to England to avoid extradition.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Action
Crime
Thriller
Release Date
1975
Production Company
United Artists Films
Distribution Company
United Artists Films

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 51m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

Brannigan


The success of Don Siegel's Dirty Harry (1971) heavily influenced the cop thrillers that came after it. Boosted by the collapse of the old Production Code and the institution of the motion picture rating system in 1968, Siegel's film brought a new complexity and heightened level of violence to the genre, and introduced police characters who were more brutal and less clearly "good" than their predecessors, often acting outside the law to achieve their ends by any means necessary. Continuing this trend and exposing a more hostile side to his personality - one glimpsed only rarely in films such as The Searchers (1956) - John Wayne took to the streets of London in Brannigan (1975) to mete out his own brand of justice. It's significant to note that Wayne reportedly turned down the role of Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry. Later, recognizing how perfect the character would have been for him, Wayne said, "How did I ever let that one slip through my fingers?" Brannigan and the film Wayne made just prior to it, McQ (1974), may have been attempts to catch up to a trend he missed initiating.

Wayne plays the title character, a Chicago cop sent to London in pursuit of an American mobster avoiding extradition. The straightforward mechanics of the pursuit plot are spiced with a culture clash between American and British ways and the gender conflict that arises between Brannigan and a pretty young female London cop (Judy Geeson). And as in the Dirty Harry film series, the action scenes are laced with quips that, if not as memorable as "Go ahead, make my day," at least bring some off-beat humor to the proceedings. At one point, just before slugging a thug in the face, the American cop says, "How about you try out some of Britain's free dental care?"

The film is helped considerably by a script written in part by veteran police drama writer William P. McGivern. His Saturday Evening Post serial (and later novel) was adapted to the screen for Fritz Lang's memorable The Big Heat (1953), a notably violent and highly influential crime film for its time. McGivern's novels also formed the bases for the Alan Ladd revenge drama Hell on Frisco Bay (1955), the racially tense heist film Odds Against Tomorrow (1959) and a gritty thriller with surprising depth (and a title relevant to the Dirty Harry-inspired genre), Rogue Cop (1954). McGivern later went on to work on the TV police series Kojak and Adam-12. Another contributor to the screenplay was Christopher Trumbo, son of "Hollywood Ten" blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo.

If Wayne wasn't as nimble a man of action as audiences had come to expect over the years, it must be remembered that he was nearing 70 when he made this film and likely beginning to suffer the effects of the cancer that took his life four years later. But in many ways he was still very much his feisty self, going off on a rant against blacklisted screenwriter Carl Foreman (who had moved to England in the 1950s) during an appearance on a British TV talk show. Although Foreman recalled words of praise from Wayne years earlier about Foreman's Oscar®-nominated screenplay for High Noon (1952), the arch-conservative Wayne referred to the movie as "rotten" on Mike Parkinson's show. Also during the Brannigan shoot in July 1974, the Watergate scandal then very much in the news gave the actor ample opportunity to reiterate his support and praise for President Richard Nixon and to condemn the American press. A British television crew went to Manor House, where Duke was staying, and taped a short film to be used at a Republican Party rally back in the U.S.

During his stay in London, Wayne met Katharine Hepburn for the first time. Also in London for a film shoot, the TV movie Love Among the Ruins (1975) with Laurence Olivier, Hepburn made a point of introducing herself to Wayne, a man she admired greatly despite their obvious political differences. The meeting led to their only film pairing, in Rooster Cogburn (1975), which featured Wayne's Oscar®-winning character from True Grit (1969) and which many reviewers noticed bore a striking resemblance to the Hepburn-Bogart hit The African Queen (1951).

Director: Douglas Hickox
Producers: Michael Wayne, Arthur Gardner & Jules Levy
Screenplay: Michael Butler, Christopher Trumbo, William P. McGivern, William W. Norton
Cinematography: Gerry Fisher
Editing: Malcolm Cooke
Production Design: Ted Marshall
Original Music: Dominic Frontiere
Cast: John Wayne (Lt. Jim Brannigan), Richard Attenborough (Commander Sir Charles Swann), Judy Geeson (Det. Sgt. Jennifer Thatcher), Mel Ferrer (Mel Fields), Ralph Meeker (Capt. Moretti).
C-112m. Letterboxed.

by Rob Nixon
Brannigan

Brannigan

The success of Don Siegel's Dirty Harry (1971) heavily influenced the cop thrillers that came after it. Boosted by the collapse of the old Production Code and the institution of the motion picture rating system in 1968, Siegel's film brought a new complexity and heightened level of violence to the genre, and introduced police characters who were more brutal and less clearly "good" than their predecessors, often acting outside the law to achieve their ends by any means necessary. Continuing this trend and exposing a more hostile side to his personality - one glimpsed only rarely in films such as The Searchers (1956) - John Wayne took to the streets of London in Brannigan (1975) to mete out his own brand of justice. It's significant to note that Wayne reportedly turned down the role of Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry. Later, recognizing how perfect the character would have been for him, Wayne said, "How did I ever let that one slip through my fingers?" Brannigan and the film Wayne made just prior to it, McQ (1974), may have been attempts to catch up to a trend he missed initiating. Wayne plays the title character, a Chicago cop sent to London in pursuit of an American mobster avoiding extradition. The straightforward mechanics of the pursuit plot are spiced with a culture clash between American and British ways and the gender conflict that arises between Brannigan and a pretty young female London cop (Judy Geeson). And as in the Dirty Harry film series, the action scenes are laced with quips that, if not as memorable as "Go ahead, make my day," at least bring some off-beat humor to the proceedings. At one point, just before slugging a thug in the face, the American cop says, "How about you try out some of Britain's free dental care?" The film is helped considerably by a script written in part by veteran police drama writer William P. McGivern. His Saturday Evening Post serial (and later novel) was adapted to the screen for Fritz Lang's memorable The Big Heat (1953), a notably violent and highly influential crime film for its time. McGivern's novels also formed the bases for the Alan Ladd revenge drama Hell on Frisco Bay (1955), the racially tense heist film Odds Against Tomorrow (1959) and a gritty thriller with surprising depth (and a title relevant to the Dirty Harry-inspired genre), Rogue Cop (1954). McGivern later went on to work on the TV police series Kojak and Adam-12. Another contributor to the screenplay was Christopher Trumbo, son of "Hollywood Ten" blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo. If Wayne wasn't as nimble a man of action as audiences had come to expect over the years, it must be remembered that he was nearing 70 when he made this film and likely beginning to suffer the effects of the cancer that took his life four years later. But in many ways he was still very much his feisty self, going off on a rant against blacklisted screenwriter Carl Foreman (who had moved to England in the 1950s) during an appearance on a British TV talk show. Although Foreman recalled words of praise from Wayne years earlier about Foreman's Oscar®-nominated screenplay for High Noon (1952), the arch-conservative Wayne referred to the movie as "rotten" on Mike Parkinson's show. Also during the Brannigan shoot in July 1974, the Watergate scandal then very much in the news gave the actor ample opportunity to reiterate his support and praise for President Richard Nixon and to condemn the American press. A British television crew went to Manor House, where Duke was staying, and taped a short film to be used at a Republican Party rally back in the U.S. During his stay in London, Wayne met Katharine Hepburn for the first time. Also in London for a film shoot, the TV movie Love Among the Ruins (1975) with Laurence Olivier, Hepburn made a point of introducing herself to Wayne, a man she admired greatly despite their obvious political differences. The meeting led to their only film pairing, in Rooster Cogburn (1975), which featured Wayne's Oscar®-winning character from True Grit (1969) and which many reviewers noticed bore a striking resemblance to the Hepburn-Bogart hit The African Queen (1951). Director: Douglas Hickox Producers: Michael Wayne, Arthur Gardner & Jules Levy Screenplay: Michael Butler, Christopher Trumbo, William P. McGivern, William W. Norton Cinematography: Gerry Fisher Editing: Malcolm Cooke Production Design: Ted Marshall Original Music: Dominic Frontiere Cast: John Wayne (Lt. Jim Brannigan), Richard Attenborough (Commander Sir Charles Swann), Judy Geeson (Det. Sgt. Jennifer Thatcher), Mel Ferrer (Mel Fields), Ralph Meeker (Capt. Moretti). C-112m. Letterboxed. by Rob Nixon

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1975

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1975