Monday, April 15, 2013
Bad/Awesome Flixxx Review: Walking Tall (1973)
"I'm gonna take, and take, and take, till they ain't got nothin left to give but BLOOD!... And I'm gonna take that, one drop at a time!" - Buford
"If you let them do this to me and get away with it, THEN YOU'RE GIVING THEM THE ETERNAL RIGHT TO DO THE SAME DAMN THING TO ANY ONE OF YOU!" - Buford
"There's only two rules, and thats all... But don't ever forget them. Number one we enforce the law equally. Number two, any man caught taking a bribe gets his head knocked off by me." - Buford
When I was younger, I remember a family trip to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge Tennessee. This was when I was super young, young enough to curl up under my dad's shirt on the trip back from whereever we went one of the nights on the trolley because of how cool the breeze was. I remember this all vividly. There was a museum there dedicated to this cop who was murdered named Buford Pusser. It was like a wax museum with these old dummies in the jail behind bars and plaques and stuff hanging around. Years later I would read Punisher comics and think this was seriously based on stories like the one of Pusser. Years and years later Hollywood would shit all over his legacy by remaking his movie with the Rock in it and changing his fucking name! Anyway, this is a hell of an asskicking fest in the style of Mad Max or the Punisher. He wants to do good, they'll do anything to stop him. Starring JOE DON BAKER (!), Leif Garrett and (Crispin Glover's dad) Bruce Glover, I give you WALKING TALL!
So Buford Pusser was a wrestler. He was traveling the country with his kids and his wife, and finally he got fed up hearing his old lady give him the business all the time, so he decided to move back home to McNairy county Tennessee. He went and bought a farm out near his pop's place and started working doing some logging out there in the sticks. When he finally goes to town, his mother warns him that McNairy isn't the same as it used to be. He spots an old friend who takes him drinking to one of the local spots that has hard illegal booze, gambling and even whores. He realizes quickly that his friend is being cheated of the money he lent him and he immediately begins a fight to get his money back. Well they beat the hell out of him and cut him so bad he needs like 90 something stitches to sew him up. They leave him in a ditch for what seems like the first of many.
He triest to get the dudes in trouble who did it to him but no one believes his buddy cause he's the town drunk and the cops and even the judges are crooked in town. So Pusser goes back in there with a two by four and tears the place to pieces and gets his money back from the cashier. Then the crooked cop comes to arrest him the next day. When he goes to court, they think they have him but Buford rips his shirt open and says, look they'll do this to you if they get the chance. The old men on the jury take ten minutes and decide he's innocent. Then later Buford's friends and family talk him into running for sheriff. So he does, and so begins many more of his troubles. Segregation and race in general was still a big issue in the south at this time so Pusser asks his best friend Obra to become his deputy. He figures then they can cover the black places and white places. He figures Obra can get into places that he cannot.
They try and try to stop Buford. He arrests people without reading their rights and they get turned loose. So after several times being outsmarted by the crooked judge, Pusser reads up and puts the judge's quarters in the shitter. Then the old sheriff tries to kill Buford but ends up running himself off a bridge into a river and dying. Buford saves the deputy. Actually I think this happens right before he gets elected. Either way, the crooked folks running the whore houses and running white lightning try to get the deputy to fuck over Buford, but he's indebted to him for saving his life. So they go up the ladder, up the crooked ladder I should say all the way to some political figures in Nashville, and they try to get this one guy to persuade Buford to leave things alone and leave them the way they were, but he doesn't give a shit what they want. So they intensify their efforts to kill him once and for all. And they almost do it. 6 or 7 more times. The one chick bad guy gets her head blown off trying to catch him with her shotgun near the end.
Things start getting heavy. They kill his dog, upset his family, and then he catches some of them. He thinks he's gotten things under control and then his wife wants to go with him on a liquor run one morning where he's going to catch some dudes running a still super early. Only this is an ambush and he gets shot all to hell and his wife catches a bullet to the head killing her instantly. Pretty sure this last bit is all Hollywood, but at the end of this one, still in a face cast, drives his cop car into the bar, The Lucky Spot where all the shit has been going down, and kills at least two of his would be assassins, and then the funeral procession drives up and starts a bonfire with the establishment's furniture. So yeah, this is BASED on real events, but that feels set up. Anyway there were 2 sequels, a tv movie, a tv series, and a remake with 2 sequels. This guy was cinema gold. Dig this one up for sure if possible.