The McCullochs (1975)

PG | 93 mins | Drama | May 1975

Director:

Max Baer

Writer:

Max Baer

Producer:

Max Baer

Cinematographer:

Fred Koenekamp

Editor:

David Berlatsky

Production Company:

Max Baer Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The McCullochs was the second film made by Max Baer Productions, Inc., and according to a 15 Nov 1974 DV article that listed the film's cost at "just under $1,000,000." The picture was financed from Max Baer Productions' percentage participation returns on its first film, Macon County Line (1974, see entry).
       An article in the 25 Jul 1974 issue of DV stated that Max Baer Productions intended to produce three films for the 1974-75 season, including J. J. McCulloch [released as The McCullochs ], Macon County Line II [released as Return to Macon County ] (1975, see entry), and The Tulip Garden; however the company appears to have produced only The McCullochs out of this trio of announced projects. The Macon County Line sequel was produced by American International Pictures with Max Baer Productions only participating in a percentage of revenues "from dollar one."
       The 15 Nov 1974 DV article stated that returns from The McCullochs would be invested in another project titled Shamrock, "a story of Texas and oil" in the years 1926-1958. However, Shamrock apparently never went into production. In his LAHExam review of the film, Richard Cuskelly noted that theater "marquees and ads call the film 'The Wild McCullochs.' But on screen it's simply The McCullochs. The blaring adjective must have been added later by executives fretting over limited box-office potential . . . "
       Although the film is set in Texas, it was apparently filmed entirely on location ... More Less

The McCullochs was the second film made by Max Baer Productions, Inc., and according to a 15 Nov 1974 DV article that listed the film's cost at "just under $1,000,000." The picture was financed from Max Baer Productions' percentage participation returns on its first film, Macon County Line (1974, see entry).
       An article in the 25 Jul 1974 issue of DV stated that Max Baer Productions intended to produce three films for the 1974-75 season, including J. J. McCulloch [released as The McCullochs ], Macon County Line II [released as Return to Macon County ] (1975, see entry), and The Tulip Garden; however the company appears to have produced only The McCullochs out of this trio of announced projects. The Macon County Line sequel was produced by American International Pictures with Max Baer Productions only participating in a percentage of revenues "from dollar one."
       The 15 Nov 1974 DV article stated that returns from The McCullochs would be invested in another project titled Shamrock, "a story of Texas and oil" in the years 1926-1958. However, Shamrock apparently never went into production. In his LAHExam review of the film, Richard Cuskelly noted that theater "marquees and ads call the film 'The Wild McCullochs.' But on screen it's simply The McCullochs. The blaring adjective must have been added later by executives fretting over limited box-office potential . . . "
       Although the film is set in Texas, it was apparently filmed entirely on location around Sacramento, CA, "where [Max] Baer grew up and knew a family like the McCullochs," wrote Kevin Thomas in his 10 Sep 1975 LAT review. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
25 Jul 1974.
---
Daily Variety
15 Nov 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Oct 1974
p. 18.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Nov 1974
p. 24.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jun 1975
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
10 Sep 1975
p. 17.
New York Times
4 Sep 1975
p. 31.
Variety
4 Jun 1975
p. 19.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Max Baer Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Scr
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Addl cam
Addl cam
Addl cam
Addl cam
Addl cam
Gaffer
Best boy
Key grip
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Asst prop master
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Composer
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom man
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles, opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod coord
Prod asst
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver/General op
Transportation asst
Transportation asst
Scr supv
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
J. J. McCulloch
The Wild McCullochs
Release Date:
May 1975
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 3 September 1975
Los Angeles opening: 10 September 1975
Production Date:
began 2 September 1974
Copyright Claimant:
Max Baer Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
2 May 1975
Copyright Number:
LP46692
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
93
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
24189
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

At a Texas saloon in 1949, trucking company owner J. J. McCulloch and his friend, Cliff Randall, have one of their periodic brawls. J. J. bests Randall, but the loser warns J. J. that one day he will lose to a better man. At home, J. J.’s wife, Hannah, demonstrates her love for him in spite of his drunken, fighting ways, and he displays his tenderness toward her. That night, racing a freight train in a McCulloch Trucking Company pickup truck, Toby Jordan crashes into an oncoming truck. When J. J. is informed of the accident, he rushes to the scene. Seeing Culver Robinson, one of his drivers, J. J. asks why he is there. The next morning, as J. J. and Hannah eat breakfast, their oldest son, R. J., tells them he is going to pick up his cap and gown for graduation. Upstairs, younger sons Steven and Gary McCulloch discuss Gary’s possible dates for a dance. Their sister, Ali McCulloch, sneaks in and douses Gary with a bowl of water. J. J. sends Missy, the family maid, upstairs to quiet the teenagers down. At his office, J. J. writes a check for $5,000 to Toby’s widow, and asks his friend and employee, George, to see that it gets to her. That evening, Ali arrives for R. J.’s after-graduation ceremony with Culver Robertson, and J. J. displays his dislike for the young man. Later, at a bar, J. J. tells George he is worried about Ali’s relationship with Culver, because she is eighteen and he is over thirty; but more importantly, he does not want his daughter to marry a truck driver. When J. J. informs Culver he ... +


At a Texas saloon in 1949, trucking company owner J. J. McCulloch and his friend, Cliff Randall, have one of their periodic brawls. J. J. bests Randall, but the loser warns J. J. that one day he will lose to a better man. At home, J. J.’s wife, Hannah, demonstrates her love for him in spite of his drunken, fighting ways, and he displays his tenderness toward her. That night, racing a freight train in a McCulloch Trucking Company pickup truck, Toby Jordan crashes into an oncoming truck. When J. J. is informed of the accident, he rushes to the scene. Seeing Culver Robinson, one of his drivers, J. J. asks why he is there. The next morning, as J. J. and Hannah eat breakfast, their oldest son, R. J., tells them he is going to pick up his cap and gown for graduation. Upstairs, younger sons Steven and Gary McCulloch discuss Gary’s possible dates for a dance. Their sister, Ali McCulloch, sneaks in and douses Gary with a bowl of water. J. J. sends Missy, the family maid, upstairs to quiet the teenagers down. At his office, J. J. writes a check for $5,000 to Toby’s widow, and asks his friend and employee, George, to see that it gets to her. That evening, Ali arrives for R. J.’s after-graduation ceremony with Culver Robertson, and J. J. displays his dislike for the young man. Later, at a bar, J. J. tells George he is worried about Ali’s relationship with Culver, because she is eighteen and he is over thirty; but more importantly, he does not want his daughter to marry a truck driver. When J. J. informs Culver he does not want him to see his daughter anymore, Culver responds that he should take up the issue with Ali. When son Steven McCulloch comes home with a bloody nose, J. J. does not care if Steven won or lost, but demands to know whether the boy stood up for what he believed in. However, Steven confesses he did not fight back, and J. J. smacks him across the face. As Ali and Gary arrive home and hear J. J. hitting Steven, their mother warns them not to speak against their father. She sends Ali to her room, and Gary tells his mother that his father’s actions are wrong. As R. J. prepares to leave town to join the Air Force, he tells his fiancé, Marsha, that he will marry her when he returns from basic training. However, while R. J. is in boot camp, newspapers announce the beginning of the Korean conflict. J. J. gives Steven lessons in boxing, but the young man begins to drink to escape his inner demons. Friends Ted and Al invite Gary McCulloch to a party where they play strip poker with girls, and improve their odds by using a marked deck. However, the girls win, forcing the young men to take off all their clothes. The next evening, Gary and Ali attend the town’s annual hayride. J. J. expresses to Hannah his concern about Ali dating Culver Robinson. He intends to put a stop to it. On the hayride, when Culver tells Ali he loves her, they have sex. Ali later confesses her actions to a priest, Father Gurkin, who admonishes her that it is improper to have sexual relations outside of marriage. When she insists she has done anything wrong, the priest forbids her from having absolution and taking Holy Communion unless she recognizes her sin. Later, when Culver returns from his trucking route, he is told that J. J. intends to transfer him to Jackson, Mississippi. Culver tells J. J. he intends to go on seeing Ali, and will quit before he goes to Jackson. Ali tells her mother why she did not take Communion, and asks how she and J. J. dealt with these issues before they were married. Hannah explains that she and J. J. had sex only once when they were seventeen, but she felt so guilty they did not have sex again until after they were married. Ali intends to marry Culver, but she wants her father’s approval. The next day, a drunken Steven McCulloch gets into his car, and as he is about to drive off, another driver bumps into his rear fender. Steven gets into a confrontation with the man and starts hitting him. R. J. arrives home from basic training, and at dinner tells his family he may be sent to Korea. After dinner, R. J. thanks his father for pushing him to do things he did not want to do, because it prepared him for the challenges of military training. As they talk, two policemen arrive to inform J. J. that the man Steven fought with is dead, and there is an arrest warrant out for him. Steven turns himself in. The district attorney informs J. J. that Steven feels the man’s death is J. J.’s fault, because he would not have raised a hand if his father had not taught him how to fight. J. J. asks what is the best they can hope for, and the attorney suggests that he plea to manslaughter and take a year in prison. J. J. assents to the plea bargain. As time passes, R. J. is sent to Korea, and Ali persuades Culver to inform J. J. of their upcoming marriage. When Steven’s mother tells him they are trying to arrange an early parole, he doesn’t want it, and renews his insistence that the ultimate responsibility for the other driver’s death rests with J. J., who is only interested in protecting the McCulloch name. Later, as J. J., Hannah, and George swap stories about old times together, a telegram arrives informing them of R. J.’s death in Korea. Steven is allowed to attend the funeral in the custody of sheriff’s deputies. Afterward, before being driven back to jail, Steven asks his father, “Just keep duckin’, huh?” At the wake, Gary informs his father that he wants to move out of the McCulloch house and be on his own. He tells J. J. that R. J. wanted to be like him, and now R. J. is dead. Steven allowed J. J. to mold him against his will, and is now in jail. Furthermore, J. J. will not allow Culver to marry Ali. Therefore, Gary wants to leave before J. J. takes over his life, too. Without reacting, J. J. tells Gary good-bye and asks his guests if they want another drink. Hannah comes into the room with a wire recording and asks J. J. to listen, even though she was not supposed to share it. It is a recording from R. J., talking about his life in Korea, telling his mother he loves her, and also loves his dad, but has never been able to say so. Now he may never get the chance, but he wishes he could have, and that his father would have responded in kind instead of just shaking hands. Devastated, J. J. leaves the room. Hannah follows, confessing that she does not know if he ever loved any of them. J. J. tells her she’ll never know how much, but he has spent fifty years putting his pants on one leg at a time, and tomorrow morning he will get up and do the same. The next day, at the bar, J. J. stares at Culver. Culver’s friend tries to persuade him to leave, but Culver announces he is not going anywhere. J. J. tells Culver that Hannah has told him what has gone on between him and Ali, and that Culver is going to marry his daughter. Culver answers that he does not intend to have J. J. telling him what to do, and when J. J. threatens to beat him, Culver challenges him. As news of the ensuing fight spreads, the town turns out to watch the confrontation. In the end, Culver knocks J. J. off his feet, but announces that his future father-in law has won. With a black eye, several stitches, and an unsteady gait, J. J. walks his daughter down the aisle. +

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

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