The Villain - Cactus Jack Cover What would you do to get the woman of your dreams? Would you leap tall buildings in a single bound? Would you run much faster than a steam locomotive? Or better yet, would you watch this rather super 89-minute movie made in 1979, Directed by Hal Needham, and Starring: Kirk Douglas, Ann-Margret, Arnold Schwarzenegger, with Jack Elam. I know which one I would do. Click-Click!

The Villain

Hey, Whisky! Quit sniffing your own ass, you low down dirty horse. And go and take a good look at that very pretty lady over there with the humongous tits.

Yes. That's her. Charming Jones (Ann-Margret) is her name, and one of the main reasons why Banker Simpson (Jack Elam) has poked me out of sing-sing, is because he wants us to steal that money he gave her before she gives it to her dear old dad.

Huh? What's that, Whisky? You don't think I'm up to the task because she's being accompanied by that Handsome Stranger (Arnold Schwarzenegger)? How dare you say such a thing to me, you four legged fiend! For I am Cactus Jack Slade (Kirk Douglas), and I am the most dastardly and evil villain known to mankind! With a gun in my hand, and a spring in my step, I bet my bottom dollar I'll be able to snatch Charming's loot one way or another.

But then again, I suppose that's why what next transpires kicks off when plans don't necessarily go according to plan. As shenanigans lead to a yelp - Nervous Elk (Paul Lynde) isn't very much help - Charming and Handsome run out of jokes - and at the end of the day, th-th-th-that's all folks!

Now there are three main reasons why I decided to sit down and watch, 'The Villain'. Firstly, I watched it quite some time ago, and if I remember rightly, I kind of enjoyed watching it too. Secondly, my cousin Andrew is a big Ann-Margret fan, mainly because she helped him through puberty at a very early age. Wink-Wink! And thirdly, in around about way this film reminds me of another cousin of mine -- who shall remain nameless -- due to the fact that both she and this film have a one track mind.

The Villain - Cactus Jack Movie Poster
Well, to put it likely, my other cousin is the type of character that can turn anything into a sexually fun-loving punch-line. A couple of years ago we were both attending a funeral together, and out of the blue, she whispered into my ear, 'I bet you that's the only stiff I'll be seeing in a box today'. Referring to the coffin. I think. 

Of course, I thought that her jovial jibe was rather witty myself, although somewhat inappropriate for this type of solemn occasion. Nonetheless, the comparison has now been made, and to me, both she and this flick are as one like a duck splashing about in a pool of water.

Furthermore, if you push to one side this comedy-westerns simple-narrative, plus cartoon-like nature, what's at the heart of it, is a great cast of actors who literally seem to inhabit their respective roles.

As I mentioned previously, Ann-Margret was a right sight for sore eyes, because she has that uncanny ability to light up the screen with her sexually charged presence and flirtatious ways.

Arnold Schwarzenegger does a pretty bang up job of it as well. Plus if I do say so myself, I did get a right kick out of all those funny scenes' where this Austrian do-gooder played opposite the stuttering, Mel Tillis.

And last, but not least, I have to mention the one and only Kirk Douglas. My God! It's was as though Kirk was being possessed by the late great Mel Blanc himself. Somehow he just managed to balance out the comical, the cartoon-ish, and the villainous, without even seeming to break a sweat.

The Villain - Cactus Jack Starring Kirk Douglas and Ann-Margret

The Villain - Cactus Jack  Starring Ann-Margret
Anyway. Before I get too carried away with myself, I best stop there and present to you these filmic-facts. (1) 'Columbia Pictures' first screened this production in New York, New York, on the exact same day the Spanish swimmer, David Ortega, was born -- the 20th of July, 1979. (2) The majority of this movie was shot on location throughout numerous parts of South-West America, most notably, Monument Valley, Utah; and Tucson, Arizona. (3) The tagline used to promote this picture, was, 'the fastest fun in the west!'. (4) It's been said that Cactus Jack Slade, as played by Kirk Douglas, is meant to represent a humanoid version of the Wily E. Coyote character seen in the Warner Brothers 'Looney Tunes / Road Runner' cartoons. MEEP-MEEP! (5) Not only was this the last ever screen appearance by the actor, Paul Lynde, but to date, this was the only time Arnold Schwarzenegger ever starred in a western film. (6) According to the director of this comedy, Hal Needham, eight different identical looking horses played the role of 'Whiskey'. (7) If you look very closely at the 'burning cathouse' scene, you'll notice a caricature of Burt Reynolds painted on the side of the wall. Apparently, this was a little 'shout out' to Hal's old pal, Burt, who he famously worked with on the 'Cannonball Run' series of films. (8) Something else that's also been stated about this movie was how its title character, Cactus Jack, is very similar to John Astin's character, 'Evil Roy Slade', from the 1973 TV movie. For instance, they dress in a similar style, sport a moustache, have a devilish yet comical temperament, and share the same surname, Slade. (9) After this movie did the nasty, Kirk Douglas starred in the science fiction thriller, 'Saturn 3'; Ann-Margret starred in the rom-com, 'Middle Age Crazy'; and Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in the comedy, 'Savage Hunt'.

The Villain - Cactus Jack Starring Ann-Margret and Arnold Schwarzenegger

Oh! One minute! I just remembered something! I should mention another great actor -- or should that be actors? -- before I p*ss off to God knows where.

The horse. I've got to mention the horse, 'Whisky', because in my eyes he was the shinning star of 'The Villain'. Honestly. Every single time he trotted into view, I couldn't help but smile a very big smile, as he was one of the most funniest and charming four-legged animals I've ever seen on screen.

Funnily enough, I'm sure my cousin Andrew is doing the same thing now. Smiling. Especially when he sees all of the pictures of Ann-Margret I've included in this article.

Hmmm. Great Movie. Funny Western. Pass the Kleenex. Nuff said.


THE VILLAIN - CACTUS JACK THE VILLAIN - CACTUS JACK Reviewed by David Andrews on February 19, 2014 Rating: 5
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