Jun 24, 2018
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For episode 1B, we jump to the ass-end of The Gipper's career, examining Don Siegel's acclaimed 1964 adaptation of Hemingway's THE KILLERS. Reagan's final role finds him cast against type as a sociopathic Southern California entrepreneur who is most at home on the business end of a sniper scope (when he's got former associates to kill) or a pair of binoculars (when he's being cuckolded again). The film is a motion Dorian Gray-picture hiding in plain sight, belying the "Great Communicator's" good-guy grandpa image and laying bare the criminal/realpolitik roots of the Goldwaterite Conservative movement that would swallow the Republican party whole by 1980.
Of course, in 1964, even the most sanguine libertarian hustlers in the GOP had no idea what the next decade and a half held in store for their movement. After the defeat of their sparsely-haired boy Barry in November, those ragged individualists found themselves between a Rockefeller and a hard place, not unlike Reagan's Jack Browning character near the end of THE KILLERS.
We cover the film's place in post-studio and post-noir history, discuss the careers of director Siegel and players Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, John Cassavetes, Clu Gulager, Norman Fell and Claude Akins; and play our first round of "Would you bang Reagan in this film?"
This is a time for choosing. Choose Red Time For Bonzo!
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"Driving Reagan" by Gareth Hedges