Bradford Dillman, Villain Extraordinaire

As you have no doubt realized by now, I am a staunch supporter of the creative endeavors of my pals*. Not just because they are my special chums and I love them, but because these gals are enormously talented, each in their own way.

Today I’d like to share The Bradford Dillman honorary blogathon – the annual project of my dear friend The Millie. This year’s collection of posts rallies under the moniker: Bradford Dillman: A Jazzier Kind of Noir. Don’t know who Bradford Dillman is or why he deserves a blogathon? Well, as the official hostess and organizer of these Bradford festivities, Millie created a short video promotion that is sure to clear up any questions. Have a look:

After laughing till I cried at that hilarious promo, I became determined to participate this year. As I set about searching the filmography of Mr. Dillman, I found a film just tailor-made for a blogathon hosted by The Millie: The Great Gold Conspiracy aka Gold (1974). This is not a film I would typically watch (my main rule is to steer clear of films made after 1968, especially ones from 1969-1979), but I braved Gold for the sake of Bradford Dillman.

Gold takes a harsh look at the complex workings of an African goldmine. Riddled with ulterior motives, back-stabbing, racism and intrigue, the management team of the mine works through a disastrous accident in the first minutes of the film. At the root of all the trouble is none other than our friend Bradford. He has cooked up a plot to sabotage the mine for profit and is determined to see it through. We have fistfights, extra-marital affairs, dirty dealing and two (not just 1, but 2!) mine collapses.

Let’s just do a quick rundown on the vital statistics here:

1. Bradford Dillman in a prominent villain’s role. Just look at that troubled expression.

2. Interesting, if almost kooky theme and end music. A textbook example of 70’s imagery and sounds, right down to the tune at the end credits with lyrics sung by Jimmy Helms.

3. An almost unbelievable all-star cast.

Roger Moore in full James Bond mode – almost always found in carelessly unbuttoned shirts.

Ray Milland as an American tycoon, complete with cigar and corporate snarl.

John Gielgud, Bradford’s partner in corruption.

Susannah York- too old for pigtails, but sporting them nonetheless. This poor lady really got the shaft from wardrobe on this film. Not a single redeemable outfit in the bunch. In fact, when she dines with Roger Moore, she’s clad in what appears to be a large sheer curtain, gathered strategically.

[Warning – SPOILERS AHEAD!]

And the best for last, #4 – Bradford Dillman’s epic final scene…

…death by Rolls Royce. Honestly, this scene (which clocks in at a mere 3 minutes) trumps every other memorable event in the film (including two mine collapses and Susannah York landing a small plane on a tiny dirt road near the mine entrance). The scene only gains epic status because the object of wrath is Bradford Dillman. After he has spent the entire film scheming, double-dealing and lying to all and sundry, he finally meets his end flying through the air in a cloud of dust.

The only drawbacks for me are the needless gore (Oh, you didn’t want to see Roger Moore’s limbs get crushed? So sorry) and the level of risque elements. On my risque scale of 1-10, I’d give this film a 8.5 for situations and language. But prejudice against the 70s and cinematic gripes aside, I must admit Gold is a highly enjoyable film. It won’t be joining the ranks of my DVD shelf any time soon, but I wouldn’t have missed the performance of Bradford Dillman for the world. He really is a deliciously evil villain!

[End SPOILERS]

Gold is available for viewing on Amazon’s Instant Video or free on YouTube. (To see Bradford’s incredible final scene, watch from 1:51:00. Susannah’s curtain dress is at 43:00.)

*In case you don’t know, my pals are Kate, Millie, Nicole & Sarah

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4 Comments

Filed under Movie Review

4 responses to “Bradford Dillman, Villain Extraordinaire

  1. I haven’t seen ‘Gold,’ but I appreciate your great, funny review, and also your posting of that hilarious and extremely well-done video announcing the blogathon. In fact, I haven’t seen many Bradford Dillman films, but I’ve always liked his creepy performance in ‘Compulsion,’ and how well he and Dean Stockwell worked together in it. He does give that solemn film a juicy bolt of electricity. Thanks!

  2. Fantastic post, Casey! I love your writing so much! I’m so happy you’re posting here more often now! :D

    And OMG Ray Milland and Roger Moore are in this movie too?! It really does have Millie written all over it!! I’m going to have to watch this, if only to see Susannah York’s costumes, lol ;)

  3. This post is so lovely! :’)

    Thanks so much, Casey!

    I quite agree with everything. This movie was awful. And hilarious. And Awful.

    And, looking at the level of risqueness — it must have happened during the part I skipped through! hahaha. I remember watching this and Roger and Susannah went off flying in an airplane and I was so annoyed with Susannah’s character that I skipped all those scenes! Good thing, ehhh? haha

    And Bradford’s death. That deserves an actual and legitimate use of the word, “epic.”

    THIS WAS JUST SUCH A GREAT POST! It made my day! Thanks so much! :-D

  4. Roger Zotti

    Excellent and perceptive piece of writing…Request: Some words on Marie Windsor, Helen Walker, aand/or Evelyn Keyes…

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