Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Arnold Laven|
|Produced by||Jules V. Levy
|Screenplay by||William W. Norton|
|Narrated by||Virgil Warner|
|Music by||Herschel Burke Gilbert|
|Cinematography||Robert C. Moreno|
|Editing by||John Woodcock|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Running time||96 minutes|
Sam Whiskey is a 1969 comedy-western film directed by Arnold Laven and starring Burt Reynolds - one of his earlier films that began his climb to super stardom in the 1970s. Angie Dickinson, Clint Walker and Ossie Davis co-star.
The film was one of the first to have a scene cut under the newly introduced MPAA ratings system. The version submitted by director Laven to the MPAA included "a bare-from-the-waist-up shot" of Angie Dickinson. When faced with the prospect of an "R" rating (at the time an entirely new concept), Laven substituted a tighter shot of Dickinson from the shoulders up to avoid the "R" rating.
The husband of Laura Breckenridge has stolen $200,000 from a Denver mint. To return the money and clear her name, she offers Sam Whiskey a $20,000 reward to recover it.
Sam brings along a blacksmith, Jedidiah Hooker, and an inventor, O.W. Bandy, on his quest, trailed by a villain called Fat Henry who wants the loot for himself. They create a false bust of George Washington made of gold that fools Fat Henry and are able to claim the $20,000, which Sam gratefully splits with his partners.
Throughout the movie bits and pieces of a melodious story of saucy lady named Mary McCarty are revealed by Sam Whiskey (Burt Reynolds) with the final verse given to the viewers by Jed Hooker (Ossie Davis).
Whiskey and Gin
Mary McCarty was shy as a primrose,
The Girls in the city are skinny and pretty
- Burt Reynolds as Sam Whiskey
- Angie Dickinson as Laura Breckenridge
- Clint Walker as O.W. Bandy
- Ossie Davis as Jed Hooker
- William Schallert as Peters
- Woodrow Parfrey as Bromley
- Chubby Johnson as Blacksmith
- Anthony James as Cousin Leroy
- Rick Davis as Fat Henry Hobson
- Del Reeves as The Fisherman
Film critic Vincent Canby, who is not appreciative of comedy western, nonetheless wrote well of the film, "Comedy Westerns aren't my favorite form of entertainment and Sam Whiskey is certainly not one of the best of the breed, but its pleasures are so unexpected that they deserve some modest appreciation ... The movie, written by William Norton (The Scalphunters) and directed by Arnold Laven, has a kind of clumsy charm, most of it contributed by the performances of Reynolds, who bears a creepy resemblance to Marlon Brando; Miss Dickinson, and Ossie Davis and Clint Walker, who help Reynolds execute a reversal on the usual movie heist."
More recently film critic Dennis Schwartz gave the film a mixed review, writing, "An amiable Western, whose tagline is "Don't mix with Sam Whiskey. It's risky!", that nevertheless proves tiresome under the belabored direction of Arnold Laven ... The cornball antics, the uninspired acting and the wearisome plot so slackly handled all add up leaving this dull Western in a state of mediocrity. This one might appeal only to die hard fans of Reynolds."
- Dick Kleiner (1968-11-06). "Movie Producers Hope For The Best". The Coshcocton Tribune (NEA story).
- Canby, Vincet, film review, The New York Times, "Sam Whiskey on Double Bill:Burt Reynolds an Asset to Comedy Western, The First Time Also Begins Run at Lyric", June 12, 1969. Accessed: July 4, 2013.
- Schwartz, Dennis, film review, Ozus' World Movie Reviews, May 25, 2008. Accessed: July 4, 2013.
- Sam Whiskey at the Internet Movie Database
- Sam Whiskey at allmovie
- Sam Whiskey brief essay by Emily Soares at Turner Classic Movies
- Sam Whiskey official website at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
- Sam Whiskey film trailer on YouTube