The Dion Brothers (1974)

R | 96 mins | Comedy | 16 June 1974

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HISTORY

Director Jack Starrett is credited in the cast as “Claude Ennis Starrett, Jr.” in the role of “Gentleman rancher.” Terrence Malick, who was credited in various contemporary sources as a screenwriter, is credited onscreen with the pseudonym “David Whitney.”
       A 27 Sep 1973 HR news item, which referred to the film by its working title, Gravy Train, announced that Tomorrow Entertainment, Inc. (TEI), planned to begin principal photography mid-Nov 1973 on location in Washington, D.C. HR production charts on 16 Nov 1973 confirmed that production began 2 Nov 1973 in Washington and Los Angeles, CA.
       Although the 27 Sep 1973 HR stated that the picture was based on a novel by Brock Yates called Summer Night, neither the literary source nor Yates are credited onscreen; evidence of the novel’s publication is not available in Library of Congress databases.
       The picture marked the first theatrically-released feature film financed entirely by TEI, according to a 4 Dec 1973 DV news item. On 2 Apr 1974, DV announced that the picture was complete and set to be the first film released in a ten-picture, two-year distribution deal between TEI and Columbia Pictures.
       While the film was reviewed as The Gravy Train in various trades, including the 18 Jun 1974 HR and the 26 Jun 1974 Var, it was widely marketed and released in Los Angeles on 20 Nov 1974 as The Dion Brothers, according to the 22 Nov 1974 LAT ... More Less

Director Jack Starrett is credited in the cast as “Claude Ennis Starrett, Jr.” in the role of “Gentleman rancher.” Terrence Malick, who was credited in various contemporary sources as a screenwriter, is credited onscreen with the pseudonym “David Whitney.”
       A 27 Sep 1973 HR news item, which referred to the film by its working title, Gravy Train, announced that Tomorrow Entertainment, Inc. (TEI), planned to begin principal photography mid-Nov 1973 on location in Washington, D.C. HR production charts on 16 Nov 1973 confirmed that production began 2 Nov 1973 in Washington and Los Angeles, CA.
       Although the 27 Sep 1973 HR stated that the picture was based on a novel by Brock Yates called Summer Night, neither the literary source nor Yates are credited onscreen; evidence of the novel’s publication is not available in Library of Congress databases.
       The picture marked the first theatrically-released feature film financed entirely by TEI, according to a 4 Dec 1973 DV news item. On 2 Apr 1974, DV announced that the picture was complete and set to be the first film released in a ten-picture, two-year distribution deal between TEI and Columbia Pictures.
       While the film was reviewed as The Gravy Train in various trades, including the 18 Jun 1974 HR and the 26 Jun 1974 Var, it was widely marketed and released in Los Angeles on 20 Nov 1974 as The Dion Brothers, according to the 22 Nov 1974 LAT review. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Jul 1974.
---
Daily Variety
4 Dec 1973.
---
Daily Variety
5 Dec 1973.
---
Daily Variety
2 Apr 1974
p. 1.
Daily Variety
17 Jun 1974
pp. 3-4.
Films and Filming
19 Jun 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Sep 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Nov 1973
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Dec 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Mar 1974
p. 21.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jun 1974
p. 3, 7.
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
22 Nov 1974.
---
Los Angeles Times
22 Nov 1974
Section IV, p. 18.
New York Times
17 Jun 1974
p. 25.
Variety
26 Jun 1974
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Tomorrow Entertainment production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
Gaffer
Key grip
Dolly grip
Best boy elec
Best boy grip
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
Storyboard artist
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Set dec
Asst prop man
Const coord
Carpenter
Carpenter
Painter
Leadman
Swing prop
COSTUMES
Cost supv
MUSIC
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom man
Sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles, opt & processing
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Prod secy
Prod exec
Vice president, Creative affairs
Transportation capt
Asst transportation capt
Cinemobile driver
Extra casting
Prod asst
Craft service
Loc auditor
Asst auditor
Laborer
CFI contact
Cinemobile
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt coord
SOURCES
SONGS
"The Next Time Around," music by Fred Karlin, lyrics by Marsha Karlin, performed by Gregory Prestopino.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Gravy Train
Release Date:
16 June 1974
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 16 June 1974 at the Beekman and Forum Theaters
Los Angeles opening 20 November 1974
Production Date:
2 November 1973--mid March 1974
Copyright Claimant:
Tomorrow Entertainment, Inc.
Copyright Date:
16 June 1974
Copyright Number:
LP43755
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
CFI Color
Lenses
Camera & lenses by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
96
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In Washington, D.C., Calvin Dion quits his job at a bean cannery. Meanwhile, in West Virginia, Calvin’s younger brother, Russell “Rut” Dion, prepares for his coal-mining shift and watches a television interview with an entrepreneur, who refers to America as a “gravy train.” Back in Washington, Calvin and his friends, Rex and Carlo, plan a heist with their crime boss, Tony. When Tony’s girlfriend, Margie, interrupts the meeting to complain of unrequited love, Tony pays her to leave and returns to his comrades, explaining that they will use dynamite for their next operation. Calvin assures the gang that Russell is an explosives expert and borrows counterfeit credit cards from Carlo to pay for his road trip home. Back at the West Virginia mine, Calvin surprises Russell in the shower and promises to make his brother rich by establishing a fish restaurant called The Blue Grotto. Russell quits his job, throwing hard hats through two office windows and boasting that his actions will “blow up” in the press. The Dion brothers return home in Calvin’s Cadillac to bid farewell to their mother, then head to the city. Back in Washington, Calvin shows Russell the city’s landmarks and takes him to a massage parlor, where he attempts to pay the bill with a gasoline credit card. Sometime later, Russell meets the gang by the Washington Monument obelisk. As Tony gives orders for the planned heist, Rex’s daughter waves from a paddle boat. That afternoon, Rex sets up a roadblock while the Dion brothers, disguised as police officers, stop an armored cash transportation vehicle, accusing the driver of pollution and demanding that he ... +


In Washington, D.C., Calvin Dion quits his job at a bean cannery. Meanwhile, in West Virginia, Calvin’s younger brother, Russell “Rut” Dion, prepares for his coal-mining shift and watches a television interview with an entrepreneur, who refers to America as a “gravy train.” Back in Washington, Calvin and his friends, Rex and Carlo, plan a heist with their crime boss, Tony. When Tony’s girlfriend, Margie, interrupts the meeting to complain of unrequited love, Tony pays her to leave and returns to his comrades, explaining that they will use dynamite for their next operation. Calvin assures the gang that Russell is an explosives expert and borrows counterfeit credit cards from Carlo to pay for his road trip home. Back at the West Virginia mine, Calvin surprises Russell in the shower and promises to make his brother rich by establishing a fish restaurant called The Blue Grotto. Russell quits his job, throwing hard hats through two office windows and boasting that his actions will “blow up” in the press. The Dion brothers return home in Calvin’s Cadillac to bid farewell to their mother, then head to the city. Back in Washington, Calvin shows Russell the city’s landmarks and takes him to a massage parlor, where he attempts to pay the bill with a gasoline credit card. Sometime later, Russell meets the gang by the Washington Monument obelisk. As Tony gives orders for the planned heist, Rex’s daughter waves from a paddle boat. That afternoon, Rex sets up a roadblock while the Dion brothers, disguised as police officers, stop an armored cash transportation vehicle, accusing the driver of pollution and demanding that he get out of the truck. As the brothers hold the driver at gunpoint, Carlo disarms the man and Rex runs to their aid. Russell threatens a guard inside the vehicle with dynamite and gains access to the cash, but two bicyclists witness the heist and the men are forced to drive away in the truck. While Calvin shoots a sounding alarm, Russell ties up the hostages. Later, the men convene in the woods, transfer the money to Tony’s car, and escape in the unmarked police vehicle. Back at their apartment, the Dion brothers and Rex wait for Tony to arrive with the cash. However, Tony is chased to the building by police. Although Tony escapes with the money and the Dion brothers hide, officers surround the apartment, ordering the men to surrender, and a gun battle ensues. Still disguised as officers, the Dion brothers rig their refrigerator with dynamite and the explosion blows a hole in their wall, allowing them to escape. Back in the building, Rex crashes through a glass door and plummets to his death. Getting away in a police car, Calvin and Russell pull over a vehicle filled with gangsters and order the men to strip. Taking the men’s money and locking them in the trunk of the police car, the Dion brothers exchange their uniforms for the gangsters' suits and drive away. At a restaurant, the brothers flaunt their newfound cash, toast their success and plot to retrieve the armored car booty from Tony. Meanwhile, Tony brings the cash to a doctor who launders money. When the doctor points out that the loot is counterfeit and offers Tony only two percent of its value, Tony refuses the deal. Sometime later, the Dion brothers secretly wait for Margie in front of the Capitol Building, hoping she will lead them to Tony. As Calvin anticipates the future success of The Blue Grotto, Margie gets into her car and drives to her apartment. The brothers give chase, but are waylaid by the building’s steep stairway and outdated elevator. Breaking down Margie’s door, the brothers are accosted with a knife and security horn, but Margie is pacified when they present her with a fraudulent police badge. Failing to find Tony, Calvin pours powdered sugar in a plastic bag, claims he has discovered narcotics and blackmails Margie. Although Margie agrees to take them to Tony, she asks to “freshen up” before they leave and secretly calls her boyfriend from the bathroom. Upon returning to the brothers, Margie claims that Tony made arrangements to meet her at the pier and they head to the dock. As Margie flirts with Russell in a waterfront restaurant, she realizes that the brothers are not officers and the table comes under gunfire. Calvin grabs Margie and runs away while Russell returns fire and discovers that the sniper is Carlo. Giving chase with Margie in tow, the brothers detain Carlo in a kitchen and threaten him with a lobster. Carlo guides the brothers to Tony’s hideout and Margie suggests that she lure Tony into the hallway, but he shoots through the door and escapes. As Carlo flees, the brothers find a bather in Tony’s bathtub and Russell tosses an electric shaver into the water. The bather directs them to an adjacent building, which is being torn down. Although Margie fears for their lives and Calvin has second thoughts about pursuing Tony, Russell reminds his brother that Tony holds the key to The Blue Grotto. Leaving Margie behind, the brothers enter the building and are ambushed by the bather, who has pursued them there with his gun, but the man falls down the stairwell to his death. As a wrecking ball demolishes the building, the Dion brothers corner Tony, demanding their money, and a gunfight ensues, leaving Russell severely wounded. Seeking revenge, Calvin goes after Tony and kills him in a fistfight. Although Calvin tries to save Russell, the brother wishes Calvin well with The Blue Grotto and dies. In the dust of the decomposed building, Calvin staggers away with the counterfeit cash. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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