Tag Archives: Andrew Prine

Riding Tall (1972)


By Richard Winters

My Rating: 4 out of 10

4-Word Review: He can’t stop losing.

Austin Ruth (Andrew Prine) is a rodeo star who hasn’t won a contest in a long while. He’s so down-on-his-luck that the fans routinely boo him as he leaves. He’s so short on cash that he must siphon gas from trucks and drives in a car that forces other passengers to sit on literal springs since he’s too poor to afford seat cushions for his backseat. When his car breaks down he begins walking on the side of the road where he almost gets hit by Chase (Gilmer McCormick) who fell asleep at the wheel. Chase is the preppy daughter from the affluent suburbs who’s running away from her family and their pretensions while also trying to find herself. She has little in common with Austin, but since they’re both alone decide to forge a relationship, but their differing lifestyles, and Austin’s insecurities about his failing life put a damper on their union ever becoming permanent.

This film was released during a period where stories about the modern day rodeo circuit where in seemingly high demand and while some of them like J.W. Coop and Junior Bonner where met with critical praise and box office appeal this one, despite having a CBS Network television broadcast in 1980, has fallen into complete obscurity. Today it’s only known for having been written by Mary Ann Saxon, who was the wife of the late actor John Saxon.

Initially it had a potential. I really like McCormick. Normally I find films that force in a romance that comes out of nowhere to be annoying, but since this guy was having everything working against him I thought he deserved a break and was genuinely interested in seeing the relationship evolve. McCormick is young and cute, but not in the plastic Hollywood sort of way. She also has a great snarky personality, but her character is poorly defined. At one point she angrily snaps at a traffic cop (William Wintersole) and I thought it would be later revealed when she’d be so unusually angry at him, but it never gets explained and seems to simply play-off the fact that because she was young and in college she’d just naturally hate cops, but this is too broad and makes her more of a caricature than a person.

Prine is dull. Granted his character is run-over by life, so it would be expected that he’d mop around, but he still needs to do this in an interesting way, like a good actor would, but he doesn’t. He’s also never shown actually riding a bronco, until the very end. Even if a stunt double needed to be edited in seeing the character actually on an animal riding it, or attempting to stay on it, is needed instead of just a close-up shot of him being bucked high in the air, which was clearly done by having him sit on top of a mechanical bull and looks fake.

There were a couple of amusing moments like when they try to get a hotel room, but the clerk doesn’t want to give them one because she thinks they aren’t married. When Chase states they are the clerk says she doesn’t believe them at which point Chase replies “Why, because we don’t look miserable enough?”. Overall though it just doesn’t click. Not enough happens. A leisurely pace is okay, but there still needs to be some dramatic moments and they never come making this an uneventful and unmemorable viewing experience.


Alternate Title: Squares

Released: January 17, 1972

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

Rated GP

Director: Patrick J. Murphy

Studio: Plateau International

Available: None

The Centerfold Girls (1974)

the centerfold girls

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 5 out of 10

4-Word Review: He doesn’t like models.

A psycho (Andrew Prine) who believes it is wrong to pose nude for a men’s magazine stalks several models that have appeared in a particular pin-up calendar and proceeds to kill them off one-by-one.

If you can get by its low budget roots you may find it entertaining as the acting is generally good and the scenes lively. There are a few good twists and nice looking ladies with an abundance of nudity. The best part about the film is that it creates a sinister atmosphere where everyone ends up being twisted in some way. It also creates the impression that being beautiful may actually be a curse as these girls are either getting snubbed by other women who are jealous, lustfully attacked, or exploited in every direction.

The film has the psycho stalking three different models and is therefore broken up into three different segments. The first has definite shades of Last House on the Left as the young lady falls prey not only to this psycho but also a gang of wild hippies who harass and humiliate her. The second part works like a variation of And Then There Were None as the killer follows a group going to a castle on a deserted island to do a photo shoot and then kills them all off one-by-one. Although the interior shots in this segment are too dark and too much emphasis given to a howling wind sound it is still compactly done. The third story is the best because the model is more aggressive and fights back as well as featuring a surreal shot of a foot chase amongst a large grove of dead trees.

Prine is perfect for the psycho role. He puts verve in his deliveries and wears horn rimmed glasses that definitely makes him look the part. However, it would have been nice to have seen some background to his character and learn why he became the way he was as well as an explanation for how he manages to obtain the model’s phone numbers and addresses. Also, where does he get the money to do all the traveling around and why must he wear the same black suit throughout the entire film as even nut cases know how to shower and change their clothes.

My Rating: 5 out of 10

Released: August 8, 1974

Runtime: 1Hour 31Minutes

Rated R

Director: John Peyser

Studio: General Film Corporation

Available: VHS, DVD