Three Guns for New York
Paroled bank robbers from New Mexico think McCloud took off with their $400,000 twelve years before. They kidnap Chris Coughlin, shoot two FBI agents with McCloud’s .45 Colt Frontier Six Shooter, and force him back to Taos after the money.
The subtle and elusive theme is paranoia. Chief Clifford tells McCloud not to sound so paranoid, he’s getting to be a real New Yorker. Between High Noon and the one about paranoiacs who aren’t imagining things, this is a surreal treatment of “Butch Cassidy Rides Again”.
Great glowing night exteriors, as McCloud and Grover (or rather Broadhurst, who lets Grover off the hook) are on night burglary detail, which tends to interfere with your dinner engagements. No-one wants to be on stakeout with McCloud because he will “make waves”.
There is a large-scale suite of movements back and forth from New York to Albuquerque, which the script dissolves in some lightly parodistic material (McCloud in disguise looks like Father Guido Sarducci in mufti). A flashback to the robbery twelve years earlier is handled as if it happened “only yesterday”.
McCloud is badly beaten by the crooks (and ruins the Broadhursts’ anniversary celebration at the ballet), while later on he has to feign acceptance of the kidnap demands.
The moon always photographs smaller than it appears, so Kessler zooms out from a close-up of it and back in to the Broadhursts’ skyscraper apartment building. His dreamlike conclusion at the ghost town resembles Zinnemann by way of Eastwood.
McCloud deduces that one of the crooks has hidden the loot and is trying to distract the others. The main course of action (touched on by Bullitt) is between the diurnal world of women and the nocturnal one of senseless violence, or is it?
Neville Brand Burl Connors
Written by Jeff Sharkey
Directed by Bruce Kessler
McCLOUD: We’re just as good friends as fleas on a two-dollar dog.
CHRIS COUGHLIN: What can we do at lunch besides eat?
McCLOUD: Well, I guess I’ll just have to oblige the lady.
CHRIS COUGHLIN: There ya go.
CHRIS COUGHLIN: (Affecting a Western drawl.) Sam, I’m
gonna feed ya, then I’m gonna head ya back to my corral and straighten ya out,
‘cause there’s no doubt about it, ya’ve been in the
saddle too long.
McCLOUD: There ya go.
CHRIS COUGHLIN: Sam, you never walk out on a waiter
in New York!
McCLOUD: Aw... just order for me, would ya please? (Exits.)
CHRIS COUGHLIN: (To the waiter.) Ahhhhh, he’ll have an order of Mexican jumping beans, and a glass of prune juice. Please.
McCLOUD: They can tip us, and then tip them that they tipped us.
VAL RANKIN: Listen, I know Burl’s crazy, but this’s gotta be insane.
WILSON: Well, he wouldn’t be the first good cop who walked off with the cookie jar.
EDMONDS: As far as my department is concerned, McCloud pumped six
shells into two of my men, and it’s no holds barred.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: The New York City Police Department does not condone lynch mobs, City or Federal.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (On intercom.) I want an
APB. Samuel McCloud.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: You heard me. You have his description.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: If you do anything that rubs off on anybody in this department...
CHIEF CLIFFORD: I hear there are people in this country that just don’t like cops.
(Broadhurst is reluctantly covering for McCloud.)
DET. SIMMS: Look Joe, he’s your friend. If you should run into him, tell him the Federal boys are after him.
DET. POLK: They may not be as polite as our guys. Tell him it’d be a good idea if he turned himself in to the Chief.
DET. SIMMS: A hell of a good idea.
SGT. BROADHUST: Yeah.
McCLOUD: Good question.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: Well, thank you, McCloud. I pride myself on asking good questions. I hope that buried somewhere in that head of yours is a good answer.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: If only once, McCloud, you’d have
come to me instead of running off half-cocked! If only once you’d have gone by
the book and told me the facts, none of this would have had to happen!
McCLOUD: Would ya have believed me if I’d ‘a told ya?
CHIEF CLIFFORD: Believe you? How could I?
McCLOUD: Well, there ya go.
(Main Street, ghost town, New Mexico.)
McCLOUD: Chris, I told ya to skedaddle!
CHRIS COUGHLIN: If I had, you wouldn’t know where the money is.
McCLOUD: I’ve got a confession to make. I don’t know where the money is.
CHRIS COUGHLIN: I do.
McCLOUD: You do?