Tag Archives: Harvey Parry

Best Movie Stunts of the Year List 1960-1969

 

Here is the list for the Best Movie Stunts for the Decade 1960-1969 as listed in the book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!

1960 – Spartacusspartacus_fight

I would argue that this is the best Gladiator movie ever made.  The stunt team on this film was the who’s who in the stunt world at that time including, Yakima, Tap and Joe Canutt, Harvey Parry, Tom Steele, Richard Farnsworth, Buddy Van Horn, Dale Van Sickel, Polly Bursen, Carey Loftkin, Loren James, Cliff Lyons and on and on.

1961 – The Guns of Navaroneguns-of-navarone-original

Alistair MacLane seemed to create a genre all his own that started with this picture and had the feel of a heist film but with a mixture of spies and betrayal mixed in.  Some great stunts appear in this film.

1962 – Lawrence of ArabiaLawrence Of Arabia-21

This film is fantastic, but was a very perilous film shoot.  War films, especially with horses are extremely hard.  But boy does it look great.

1963 – The Great Escapegreat bud eikins

Arguably the best motorcycle stunt ever made, but I would venture to say it’s not the best ever made, just the most famous.  It is a pretty nifty stunt for a VERY heavy bike.

1964 – Circus WorldCircus World Lobby Card

This movie has two stunts that blow the mind.  The first is the real sinking of a large carrier ship sinking, live, and then the second is a huge circus tent fire.  Both staged by Richard Talmadge and front and center is a man with only one lung, John Wayne!

1965 – The Sons of Katie Eldersons-of-katie-elder

John Wayne earns the nod for Best Movie Stunts two years running due to his stunts in this movie.  Remember, he’s got only one lung!

1966 – Grand PrixGrandPrix_garnerglare

James Garner found out that he’s a pretty good driver and gets to show his chops here.  He would go on to race professionally after this in several races and drove the pace car several times as well.

1967 – War and Peacewarandpeace

Russia busts out of the gate with this long masterpiece.  It’s epic in every way and beautifully done.  It took them years to make this movie and was finally released in 1967.

1968 – Bullittbullitt (1)

This film is known for an 11 minute long car chase that appears out of the end of the movie and is very tense and breathtaking.  You can never talk about movie stunts without seeing this chase mentioned.

1969 – Battle of BritainBattle_of_Britain

War movies are incredibly difficult and massive undertakings.  Put that in the air and it doubles all the troubles.  This really is the best of these films.

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Best of the Year List 1940-1949

 

Here is the list for the Best Movie Stunts for the Decade 1940-1949 as listed in the book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!

1940:  The Mark of Zorro

Not only the second time for Zorro, but the second time for this exact title.  Different year, different actors…great stunts.  The fencing duel between Tyrone Powers and Basil Rathbone, choreographed by Fred Caverns is just about one of the finest ever put to celluloid. Mark of Zorro, The (1940)

1941: The Adventures of Captain Marvel

Dave Hardin Sharpe provided the fighting and the flying in this nifty action serial.  It’s also one of my all time favorite superheros…the original Captain Marvel!

Captain MArvel Lobby Card

1942:  Spy Smasher

It’s the era of the Movie Serial, and no-one did it better than this one!  It’s all out action and adventure with cliff-hangers galore! Carey Loftkin, Kane Richmond and Dave Hardin Sharpe combined to make Spy Smasher a fantastic hit!spyserial

1943:  The Masked Marvel

Another great action serial.  Tom Steele did so many stunts in this, he can even be found to be a bad guy chasing himself, as The Masked Marvel.marvel in danger

1944:  Ghost Guns

At this time there were some impressive cowgirls in the movies. Evelyn Finley was one of the toughest.  This was a B movie, but she’s worth the watch.Poster for the movie ghost guns with Evelyn Finley

1945:  Back To Bataan

We all know what a tough guy John Wayne was, especially in his later years.  It’s fun to see him hit the list for the first time with this entry, a great little war film.Back To Bataan

1946:  Detour To Danger

This one is just like a film I would have made in college; get a whole bunch of buddies together with a 16mm camera and go film some crazy fight scenes.  Harvey Parry and Richard Talmadge get all their stuntman cronies for this one and it’s a lot of fun.  Not great acting, but great fun.detour richard talmadge

1947:  The Perils of Pauline

Second time on the list, but the funny thing is, this one is a fictionalized account of the making of the first film. Polly Burson provides the stunts in this one and she would go on to some nifty westerns as she was a home-spun cowgirl in her own right.perils pauline

1948:  The Three Musketeers

Dave Hardin Sharpe makes the list for the 3rd time in one decade (is that a record?) along with Gene Kelly for their work in this film.  And WOW, what a supporting cast!Three Musketeers, The (1948)

1949:  Twelve O’Clock High

This has got to be the largest plane ever crashed by a real person on film and walked away from it.  Paul Mantz seemed to do it completely without flinching and as if it was as easy as parking a car.Twelve_O'Clock_High_crash_landing

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Stunt Team For Spartacus

 

To say that Spartacus has a very loyal and dedicated following is an understatement.  Looking back, Spartacus has it’s own sub-genre, the Swords and Sandals Spectacle.  It’s spawned multiple look-a-likes and many made-for-television sequels and TV shows.  I’ve always been a fan of a good gladiator story and this is the best.  It gets the nod for Best Movie Stunt over the Alamo for 1960 because of influence and it’s simply harder to perform stunts in what constitutes as a skimpy Speedo.spartacus-original-lobby-card-4-kirk-douglas-tony-curtis-68-3775-p

The stuntmen who worked on this film is a venerable who’s-who of the elite, top stuntmen of the time, including Yakima Canutt and his two sons, Tap and Joe, Richard Farnsworth, Harvey Parry, Tom Steele, Buddy Van Horn, Dale Van Sickel, Polly Burson, Carey Loftkin, Loren Janes, Cliff Lyons, and so, so many more.  The film is really a tribute to all the men and women who worked on it and should be required viewing for anyone wanting a career in the stunt industry.spartacus_fight

The interesting story behind the making of the film is that it wouldn’t have been made if it wasn’t for Ben Hur the year before.  Kirk Douglas was so upset that he lost the role of Ben Hur to Charlton Heston that he set out to prove to William Wyler that he made the wrong decision.  It’s by the sheer will of Douglas alone that this film got made.  He searched for it, bought the rights to it, financed it and hired everyone to work on it.  The first director he hired, he even fired a week into production.  He replaced that director with Stanley Kubrick, but even Kubrick admitted years later that the film is really Douglas’s and not his.  Kubrick did not have say in script and many of the elements that Douglas put in place.spartacus_550w

Kubrick denounced the film later as his worst, but in the end it won four Academy Awards and was nominated for two others.  It’s kind of hard to argue with that kind of a record.  By most people I know, it is regarded as the best gladiator movie of all time and the father of the genre.  Spartacus was directed by Stanley Kubrick for Bryna Productions.Spartacus -douglas

Things to look up (go to IMDB ):

  • Kirk Douglas
  • Spartacus
  • STanley Kubrick
  • Bryna Productions

History of film companies as defined by Wikipedia: Bryna Productions was a film production company established by Kirk Douglas, inspired by the success of Burt Lancaster in moving into production.

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Buster Keaton and Sherlock Jr.

 

Comedy director Leo McCarey, recalling the freewheeling days of making slapstick comedies, said, “All of us tried to steal each other’s gagmen. But we had no luck with Keaton, because he thought up his best gags himself and we couldn’t steal him!” The more adventurous ideas called for dangerous stunts, performed by Keaton at great physical risk. In his own right, Buster Keaton was an amazing acrobat and stuntman. It’s interesting that the majority of the working stuntmen of this era, did so as comedians. This film is arguably Keaton’s best example of his work overall as a stunt performer.sherlock crzy

Harvey Parry, addressing the rumors that Buster Keaton used stunt doubles rather than doing the stunts himself said, “To my knowledge, [he] never had a double. I’ve heard a couple of fellows say they doubled him, but I have never seen this happen. This man was a very clever acrobat . . . I don’t think I could have done [stunts] the way he wanted them. His fall was a different fall. He didn’t just slip and fall down. He’d do a lot of things before he fell down. That’s the way Buster was. You can’t double a guy like that.”Sherlock jr stunt

Sherlock Jr. was directed by Buster Keaton for Buster Keaton Productions, he did it all. I will be straightforward and say that I’ve always liked Buster and think that Steamboat Bill Jr. and The General are fantastic and has some really great sequences, but the motorbike sequence in Sherlock Jr. is just unbelievable. It’s my favorite sequence in all of his films and the first time I saw it, my eyes just popped out of my head.  It’s amazing what he was able to do back then, but just imagine anyone attempting to recreate this today.  It simply couldn’t be done without CGI and special effects. It’s just amazing.sherlock water-tank

Things to look up (click on item to go to IMDB page):

sherlock keatonGlossary of film terms as defined by Wikipedia:

  1.  Slapstick – Slapstick is a type of stick/clapper used in slapstick comedy,it is used to create sounds of slapping so you do not have to make the sound whilst acting slapstick is also a type of broad, physical comedy involving exaggerated, boisterous actions (e.g. a pie in the face), farce, violence and activities which may exceed the boundaries of common sense.sherlock jr

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Harvey Parry and Never Weaken

 

Harold Lloyd was said to have done all his own stunts, and that is mostly true, except for this notable entry. Harvey Parry, one of the pioneering stuntman, admitted after Lloyd’s death that he doubled for him in the most dangerous stunts in this movie and several others. Harvey said of performing stunts during the silent film era, “It was taboo in those days to say, “I doubled Harold Lloyd or “He doubled Douglas Fairbanks” because the public believed they did their own work. I doubled Harold Lloyd–who couldn’t stand heights–and he gave me every precaution I wanted in climbing buildings and so forth. The only thing I could not have was publicity.”never tumblr_njqmx6K3Gr1rdfgw4o1_500

When asked how stuntmen were hired in those days, Harvey said, “The casting director or somebody would come out and say, “Anybody wanna make $10?” They [the stunt men] never said, “What have we got to do?” They said, “Yes, I will”. The guy that was chosen would have to jump off a building, So he jumped. If he made it, fine. If he didn’t, he got free room and board in the hospital for a while.” Harvey was still doing stunts in his eighties before he died of a heart attack in 1985. Harvey was thought of to have taken part in over 600 movies as stunt double or stunt man, and is usually uncredited on IMDB, but was known to have doubled for James Cagney, Peter Lorre, George Raft and Humphrey Bogart.

 never cagney-parry_opt
Harvey Parry and James Cagney

Never Weaken was directed by Fred C. Newmeyer for Hal Roach Studios and was Harold Lloyd’d last short film. He managed to perfect his “thrill comedy” formula in this film and used it to great effect in his features, especially Safety Last in 1923 (more on that later, hint hint). Harold was brilliant at humanizing moments and then taking the audience to extremes. He once said, “The spectacle of a fat man slipping on an icy sidewalk never fails to get a laugh. The same is true of a man attempting to drive a nail and mashing his finger in the process, or a man with his arms full of bundles attempting to keep his hat from blowing off. These things are funny because they have happened to all of us and probably will happen again. They are trying experiences for the individuals involved and we sympathize with them. But we laugh, nevertheless because they are human touches.” Never Lloyd, Harold (Never Weaken)_02

Things to look up (click on item to go to IMDB ):

Glossary of stunt terms as defined by Wikipedia:

  1.  Visual Gag – In comedy, a visual gagor sight gagis anything which conveys its humor visually, often without words being used at all. The gag may involve a physical impossibility or an unexpected occurrence. The humor is caused by alternative interpretations of the going-ons. Visual gags are used in magic, plays, and acting on television / movies.

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Harvey Parry and Richard Talmadge in Detour To Danger

 

Filmed on 16mm film and a very low budget, stuntmen Harvey Parry (See 1921 Best Movie Stunt) and Richard Talmadge (See 1925 Best Movie Stunt) shot a film largely forgotten over time, about two young men who set out on a fishing trip. They run into a gang of criminals who bully two young women.

 detour richard talmadge
Richard Talmadge

It’s largely forgotten because of its terrible qualities, bad film quality, lousy script, hammy actors, and low budget.  But those of us who remember it, remember the last 12 minutes of the film which is all non-stop FIGHTING.  This is the real reason to watch this film, as it reminds you quickly of the type of film all young filmmakers make when they get together with all their friends and make a film; for the fun of it.

 detour parry
Harvey Parry

Being stuntmen themselves, I’m sure that Parry and Talmadge wanted to get other stuntmen together and make this movie and it’s sure that they never made any movies without them.  They had a way of taking a milk-toast script and giving it a little bang.  Talmadge would direct 6 films over time and acted or did the stunts in over 100.  Parry only directed 2 titles (this being his last) and did the stunts or acted in over 200.  He was still doing stunts in his eighties!

Things to look up (click on item to go to IMDB page or Website):

Glossary of film terms as defined by the Wikipedia – 16MM – 16 mm film is a popular, economical gauge of film. 16 mm is the width of the film. Other common film gauges include 8 mm and 35 mm. It is generally used for non-theatrical (for instance, industrial or educational) film making or for low budget motion pictures.
16 mm film was introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1923 as an inexpensive amateur alternative to the conventional 35 mm film format. During the 1920s the format was often referred to as sub-standard film by the professional industry. Initially directed toward the amateur market, Kodak hired Willard Beech Cook from his 28 mm Pathescope of America company to create the new 16 mm Kodascope Library. In addition to making home movies, one could buy or rent films from the library, one of the key selling aspects of the format. As it was intended for amateur use, 16 mm film was one of the first formats to use acetate safety film as a film base, and Kodak never manufactured nitrate film for the format due to the high flammability of the nitrate base. 35 mm nitrate was discontinued in 1952.

Check out our new Book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 8.23.28 PM