The Gauntlet (1977)

R | 108 mins | Drama, Adventure | 21 December 1977

Director:

Clint Eastwood

Producer:

Robert Daley

Cinematographer:

Rexford Metz

Production Designer:

Allen E. Smith

Production Company:

Malpaso Company
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HISTORY

The 16 Jun 1977 HR noted that special effects on The Gauntlet alone took up $1.2 million of the film’s $5.5-million budget. Special effects expert Chuck Glaspar crashed a helicopter, collapsed a house with heavy gunfire, blew up a car, shot up a second car, and tore a bus to pieces with fusillades of thousands of bullets from 300 riflemen. Director Clint Eastwood had to make sure the cameras captured every act of destruction because, as Glaspar explained, “We couldn’t reshoot.”
       The 4 Apr 1977 HR reported that principal photography on The Gauntlet began on that day; while principal photography finished in NV and AZ in Jun 1977, the 27 Jun 1977 Box reported.
       The 18 Jan 1978 Var reported that the U.S. Catholic Conference gave The Gauntlet a “condemned” rating in its 15 Jan 1978 Film & Broadcasting Review because of the film’s “extravagant display of gunplay, a steady stream of verbal obscenity, and a bit of nudity and sex.”
       Though The Gauntlet was shot mostly in Phoenix, AZ, the Phoenix Film Critics Society voted it one of the year’s worst films, according to the 25 Jan 1978 Var.
       The Gauntlet made $24 million from worldwide theatrical bookings, according to the 14 Aug 1978 HR. ... More Less

The 16 Jun 1977 HR noted that special effects on The Gauntlet alone took up $1.2 million of the film’s $5.5-million budget. Special effects expert Chuck Glaspar crashed a helicopter, collapsed a house with heavy gunfire, blew up a car, shot up a second car, and tore a bus to pieces with fusillades of thousands of bullets from 300 riflemen. Director Clint Eastwood had to make sure the cameras captured every act of destruction because, as Glaspar explained, “We couldn’t reshoot.”
       The 4 Apr 1977 HR reported that principal photography on The Gauntlet began on that day; while principal photography finished in NV and AZ in Jun 1977, the 27 Jun 1977 Box reported.
       The 18 Jan 1978 Var reported that the U.S. Catholic Conference gave The Gauntlet a “condemned” rating in its 15 Jan 1978 Film & Broadcasting Review because of the film’s “extravagant display of gunplay, a steady stream of verbal obscenity, and a bit of nudity and sex.”
       Though The Gauntlet was shot mostly in Phoenix, AZ, the Phoenix Film Critics Society voted it one of the year’s worst films, according to the 25 Jan 1978 Var.
       The Gauntlet made $24 million from worldwide theatrical bookings, according to the 14 Aug 1978 HR.
More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
30 May 1977.
---
Box Office
27 Jun 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Apr 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jun 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Aug 1978
p. 1, 17.
LAHExam
23 Apr 1977
p.1.
Los Angeles Times
21 Dec 1977
p. 15.
New York Times
22 Dec 1977.
---
Variety
21 Dec 1977
p. 20.
Variety
18 Jan 1978.
---
Variety
25 Jan 1978.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Malpaso Company Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam asst
Cam asst
Key grip
2d grip
Best boy
Still photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Const coord
Prop master
COSTUMES
Cost supv
MUSIC
Mus scoring mixer
Mus ed
Jazz soloist
Jazz soloist
SOUND
Sd eff ed
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles & opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Transportation coord
First aid
Catering
Prod secy
Auditor
Secy to the prod
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Color by
DETAILS
Release Date:
21 December 1977
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 21 December 1977
Production Date:
began filming 4 April 1977
location shooting in NV and AZ completed in June 1977.
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Brothers, Inc.
Copyright Date:
21 March 1978
Copyright Number:
PA1189
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses/Prints
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
108
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
25016
SYNOPSIS

When Phoenix, Arizona, police detective Ben Shockley walks out of a bar at dawn and drives to work, his former partner, Josephson, greets him with the news that Commissioner Blakelock wants to see him immediately. Blakelock tells Ben to fly to Las Vegas and bring back a prisoner named Gus Mally—"a nothing witness for a nothing trial." At the Las Vegas jail Ben discovers that the "fellow” named Gus Mally is actually a high-priced hooker named "Augusta Mally." Gus is lying in her cell, too sick to move, but Ben sees that she put cigarette ashes in her coffee, an old convict trick to get out of work. Gus wonders aloud why the Phoenix police sent such a bum to pick her up. When Ben warns that he will shoot her if she tries to run, Gus tells him it doesn't matter because somebody else will kill her anyway, and kill him, too. She says there is a betting line of fifty-to-one against her. Told that the jail will take an hour or so to process Gus out of the system, Ben goes to a nearby casino for lunch. On a tout board, someone has written that "Mally No Show" is fifty-to-one in the tenth race at Santa Anita in California. The tout tells Ben the line started at twenty-to-one and kept going up, which means the smart money says Mally doesn't have a chance. Before Ben leaves, the line goes up to seventy-five-to-one, which angers him because "somebody's betting I can't do my job." Back at the jail, Gus refuses to leave, so Ben and an ambulance driver strap her down on a gurney for the trip to ... +


When Phoenix, Arizona, police detective Ben Shockley walks out of a bar at dawn and drives to work, his former partner, Josephson, greets him with the news that Commissioner Blakelock wants to see him immediately. Blakelock tells Ben to fly to Las Vegas and bring back a prisoner named Gus Mally—"a nothing witness for a nothing trial." At the Las Vegas jail Ben discovers that the "fellow” named Gus Mally is actually a high-priced hooker named "Augusta Mally." Gus is lying in her cell, too sick to move, but Ben sees that she put cigarette ashes in her coffee, an old convict trick to get out of work. Gus wonders aloud why the Phoenix police sent such a bum to pick her up. When Ben warns that he will shoot her if she tries to run, Gus tells him it doesn't matter because somebody else will kill her anyway, and kill him, too. She says there is a betting line of fifty-to-one against her. Told that the jail will take an hour or so to process Gus out of the system, Ben goes to a nearby casino for lunch. On a tout board, someone has written that "Mally No Show" is fifty-to-one in the tenth race at Santa Anita in California. The tout tells Ben the line started at twenty-to-one and kept going up, which means the smart money says Mally doesn't have a chance. Before Ben leaves, the line goes up to seventy-five-to-one, which angers him because "somebody's betting I can't do my job." Back at the jail, Gus refuses to leave, so Ben and an ambulance driver strap her down on a gurney for the trip to the airport. He tells the desk sergeant to have a rent-a-car company leave a car nearby for him. When the ambulance arrives at the car on an out-of-the way street, Ben asks the driver to check if the keys are in it while he readies Gus for the transfer. The rent-a-car explodes when the driver turns the key. Realizing now that the Mob is trying to stop him, Ben drives the ambulance away and heads straight to Phoenix rather than the airport. A car pulls up behind him and someone starts shooting. Ben hands Gus his gun and tells her to shoot back. She fires through the back window of the ambulance into the windshield of the other car, forcing it into a ditch. Gus then puts the gun to Ben's head and tells him to stop and let her out. They fight over the gun, causing Ben to nearly lose control of the car. Gus almost falls out when the passenger door swings open, but he jerks her back inside seconds before a telephone pole smashes the door off its hinges. Gus tells him that her house is nearby and they can go there. Inside the house, as Gus changes out of her jail outfit, Ben calls and asks Blakelock to contact the Las Vegas police and have them send two cars: an escape vehicle and a decoy. While they wait, Gus tries to entice Ben so that she can get his gun again, but he pushes her away. She ducks into the bathroom. Outside, a dozen police cars pull up and a man on a bullhorn tells everyone in the house to come out with their hands up. Realizing that Gus has locked the bathroom door, Ben shoots the lock, which signals to the cops outside to start firing at the house. Ben drops to the floor as thousands of bullets whiz around him, tearing up the house and everything in it. He discovers that Gus has escaped through a small passage behind a wallboard. Slipping down under the house, he finds a long drain leading more than a hundred feet away, and as the house falls down under the rain of bullets, he makes his way to a nearby gully. Gus is waiting for him. They calmly hold hands and walk away from the house. At a nearby diner, they take a constable hostage in his patrol car. Ben displays his badge and I.D., but the constable doesn't believe they are real. He recognizes Ben and Gus as two of the felons the police are looking for. When Ben asks him what kind of call came over the radio, the constable says it was for four "armed and dangerous men." Ben guesses that someone in the police department is an informant for the Mob. He tells the officer to drive them to the Arizona-Nevada border. Now that he knows who Gus is, the constable tries to torment and humiliate her by asking intimate questions, but Gus throws it back at him. Then she challenges Ben. Did he call the same person from her house that he called the first time? Why did the cops have the wrong message, and who gave it? As night falls, they approach the Arizona border, and Ben tells the constable to pull over and let them out. As Ben and Gus run into the desert to hide, the constable drives around the bend toward the border where several men are waiting with automatic weapons. They open fire on the patrol car, shooting it to pieces, then get back into their own cars and drive off. That night, sitting at a fire in a cave, Ben and Gus argue. She believes the reason he was picked for this dangerous mission was that somebody wanted to get rid of him. When Ben responds that he was picked because "I always get the job done," she reminds him that he was picked for a job that isn't supposed to get done. Early the next morning, Ben looks closer at the warrant he is carrying for her arrest. It lists her as a witness in the Angelo DeLuca trial. He asks her how she knows DeLuca. Gus says DeLuca set her up with some twisted police official who shoved his pistol into her rectum and masturbated. The man she describes matches Blakelock. A motorcycle gang pulls up outside the cave. Ben orders them to leave, then shoots a hole in one biker's gas tank and steals another's motorcycle. With Gus on the back, Ben rides toward Phoenix. At a phone booth outside a café, Ben calls Josephson to tell him that Blakelock is behind the efforts to stop Gus from testifying. Josephson tells Ben there's an all-points bulletin out on him. At that moment, a helicopter hovers above Ben and a gunman begins shooting. Ben jumps back on the bike and tries to elude the helicopter on dirt roads along a string of power-line towers and through a series of tunnels. After a long chase, the helicopter strikes a power line and crashes. Seeing a passing freight train heading in the general direction of Phoenix, Ben and Gus jump aboard a boxcar, inside of which are hiding three of the bikers. Getting the jump on Ben, they beat him and tie him up. Gus lures the two male bikers away by baring her breasts and calling them fairies. While they try to rape her, Ben gets loose, retrieves his gun and throws all three bikers off the train. After Ben and Gus reach a small town and learn that the express bus to Phoenix arrives at three o'clock, they check into a motel. Ben calls Josephson to say he is coming into Phoenix on a bus and wants Blakelock to know his exact route. In their time left before the bus arrives, Ben tells Gus that becoming a cop had once seemed like the right thing to do, but his life went sour because he never got the big case or found the right woman. He tells her she can leave now and go into hiding, but Gus insists on sticking with him. She calls Bernie, a Las Vegas bookie friend, to get the latest odds on Mally No Show. When he says 100-to-one, she bets the last $5,000 she has in the bank, and Bernie knows she is good for it. When the bus arrives at three o'clock, Ben orders the driver and the passengers to disembark. At a metal shop, he welds together several large pieces of thick steel all around the bus’s steering wheel, with a slot in front to see through. Meanwhile, Blakelock is talking with Feyderspiel, the assistant district attorney handling the DeLuca trial. Feyderspiel has a plan to trick Josephson into stopping the bus on the edge of town and offering to sneak Ben and the witness in his car to City Hall, where they can then be ambushed. However, Blakelock has already set up a gauntlet of hundreds of armed Phoenix cops along the route. Feyderspiel's plan goes awry when, as Ben stops to talk with Josephson, an over-eager sniper kills Josephson and forces Ben back on the bus. In Phoenix, the police open up with thousands of bullets, tearing the bus to shreds. Finally, as the bus climbs up the several steps to City Hall, the tires blow out. Ben gets out with his hands up and brings Gus behind him, telling the closest policemen that he has a witness for Courtroom G. Blakelock runs through the officers screaming, "Kill him!" As Blakelock grabs a policeman's pistol, Ben grabs Feyderspiel as a shield. Blakelock kills the assistant district attorney and wounds Ben. Gus grabs Ben's fallen gun and kills Blakelock. Then, protected by hundreds of cops, Ben and Gus walk toward the courthouse hand in hand. +

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

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