Friday, November 25, 2011

Kick 'em when they're down

I've mentioned a couple of times before that I'm a football fan, so I was looking forward to watching the Packers beat the crap out of the Detroit Lions. And then Ndamokung Suh, dirty player that he is, kicked one of the Packer linemen while he was on the ground. That sort of football violence wouldn't get into a classic movie, I don't think. But it's kind of surprising how violent people could be to each other in old movies.

Gangsters roughed each other up quite a bit, as you can see in the ending of the classic gangster film The Public Enemy when rival gangsters deliver James Cagney back to his family. On the other hand, in some movies such as The Big Combo, the gang boss was careful to make certain there wouldn't be any bruises on the cops they roughed up -- you wouldn't want to leave evidence.

I was just watching The Window on TCM the other morning as part of the salute to Ruth Roman. (Sadly, it's not yet on DVD.) The kid at the center of the story escapes from Roman and her husband (Paul Stewart) and when they catch up with him again they put him in a taxi and smack him around quite a bit. You'd think the taxi driver would have a problem with this.

As for actual kicking of people, I'd guess that most of the time it's bratty little kids kicking adults. Kurt Russell, in his piece that he did for TCM on Elvis Presley, mentions that his acting career started as an extra in It Happened At the World's Fair, in a scene where he gets to kick Presley in the ankle. I know I've seen other scenes of kids kicking adults -- there's one of one of the female child stars kicking a butler, but I can't remember either actor or the movie. When it comes to adults kicking adults, all I can think of is Rosa Klebb in From Russia With Love, and Bette Davis kicking the crap out of Joan Crawford in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Any other good kicking movies?

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