Jim Brannigan is sent to London to bring back an American mobster who is being held for extradition, but when he arrives, he has been kidnapped, which was set up by his lawyer. Brannigan, in his American Irish way, brings American law to the people of Scotland Yard in order to recapture this mobster with a price tag on his head and a stuffy old London cop with whom to contend.
Real great fun to watch John Wayne plays ‘Dirty Harry’!
I recently watched the reruns of two action movies, McQ & Brannigan, both starring John Wayne, on cable TV. I had watched both of them in the theatres during the mid 70’s or so.
As a young boy, I have always enjoyed watching John Wayne in so many westerns (Stage-coach, Rio Bravo, True Grit…) & in so many war movies (Green Berets, Sands of Iwo Jima, The Longest Day…).
I believe that John Wayne was almost in his late 60’s/early 70’s when he starred in the above two movies. I also believe that these were the only two movies in which he had played a street-wise no-nonsense cop. That’s ‘Dirty Harry’ style! In the first movie, McQ, he was Police Detective-Lieutenant Lon McQ in Seattle. He investigated the death of his partner & along the way uncovered some corrupt elements in his police department with shady connections to the mob. The signature mobster in the movie, Manny Santiago, was played by Al Lettieri.
In the second movie, Brannigan, he was Police Detective-Lieutenant Jim Brannigan in Chicago. He was sent to London to bring back an American mobster on the run, Ben Larkin, (played by John Vernon) & along the way he got entangled with the conservative work-style of Scotland Yard.
Despite his age, John Wayne was really remarkable in both roles. Having seen him in so many westerns & war movies, it was refreshing to see him acting in contemporary settings. The hot-pursuit action sequences (car chases & shoot-outs) were really good, considering that era. In McQ, the car chase along the beach, with sea gulls fluttering away for cover, was magnificantly choreographed. In Brannigan, the car chase segment ending at the Tower Bridge was great, too. There was even a large-scale brawl at a London pub…reminiscent of John Wayne’s innumerable westerns. The storyline in both movies was quite intriguing. In McQ, he even got to show off his physical prowess with an unlicensed sub-machine gun. That was cool! The dialogue in both movies was witty, too.
In Brannigan, one could see how big & tall John Wayne was, when he was in London among the crowd. He really stood out like a sore thumb. His opposite was Commander Sir Charles Swann of Scotland Yard, played by a very fine British actor, Richard Attenborough. John Wayne even got a beautiful side-kick in the movie, Detective Sergeant Jennifer Thatcher, played by Judy Geeson.
In McQ, I was very surprised to see John Wayne in an intimate scene involving a junkie informer played by a fine actress (Colleen Dewhurst) in an understated role. This was something which had never happened in any of his other movies, as far as I know! On the whole, both movies had a good mix of action, drama & comedy, coupled with witty dialogue throughout. I have enjoyed very much watching both of them again after so many years.