McQ (1974)

PG | 111-113 or 116 mins | Drama | 1974

Director:

John Sturges

Writer:

Lawrence Roman

Cinematographer:

Harry Stradling, Jr.

Editor:

William Ziegler

Production Designer:

Walter Simonds

Production Companies:

Batjac, Levy-Gardner
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HISTORY

Actor Fred Waugh’s name is misspelled as “Fred Waug” in opening credits. Though a 19 Dec 1973 HR news brief reported that actress June Foray “recorded voices” for the film, she was not credited.
       A 19 Dec 1972 HR news item stated that a drug heist in New York, NY, closely resembled the heist described in Lawrence Roman’s screenplay for McQ . Allegedly, news of the heist, in which heroin was stolen from the New York Police Department, was announced the evening of 14 Dec 1972, and, earlier that day, Roman had turned in a revision of McQ to Levy-Gardner-Laven Productions.
       A 26 Mar 1973 HR news item announced that John Sturges would direct the film in late Apr 1973, and John Wayne would star. According to an article in the Mar 1974 issue of Motor Trend magazine, the lead role marked John Wayne’s first time playing a policeman.
       Filming was delayed until 4 Jun 1973 as indicated by an 8 Jun 1973 HR production chart listing. According to a Warner Bros., Inc. press book at AMPAS library, the shoot took place on location in Seattle, WA, for six weeks, followed by three weeks in Ocean Shores, WA, on the Olympic Peninsula. Seattle locations included Puget Sound marinas, the Seattle Coliseum, and a downtown municipal building where police headquarters was staged. Ocean Shores, situated on the Quinault Indian Reservation, served as the location for the film’s climactic car chase and shootout on the beach.
       The Mar 1974 Motor Trend article reported that stuntman Hal Needham was injured in Los Angeles, CA, ... More Less

Actor Fred Waugh’s name is misspelled as “Fred Waug” in opening credits. Though a 19 Dec 1973 HR news brief reported that actress June Foray “recorded voices” for the film, she was not credited.
       A 19 Dec 1972 HR news item stated that a drug heist in New York, NY, closely resembled the heist described in Lawrence Roman’s screenplay for McQ . Allegedly, news of the heist, in which heroin was stolen from the New York Police Department, was announced the evening of 14 Dec 1972, and, earlier that day, Roman had turned in a revision of McQ to Levy-Gardner-Laven Productions.
       A 26 Mar 1973 HR news item announced that John Sturges would direct the film in late Apr 1973, and John Wayne would star. According to an article in the Mar 1974 issue of Motor Trend magazine, the lead role marked John Wayne’s first time playing a policeman.
       Filming was delayed until 4 Jun 1973 as indicated by an 8 Jun 1973 HR production chart listing. According to a Warner Bros., Inc. press book at AMPAS library, the shoot took place on location in Seattle, WA, for six weeks, followed by three weeks in Ocean Shores, WA, on the Olympic Peninsula. Seattle locations included Puget Sound marinas, the Seattle Coliseum, and a downtown municipal building where police headquarters was staged. Ocean Shores, situated on the Quinault Indian Reservation, served as the location for the film’s climactic car chase and shootout on the beach.
       The Mar 1974 Motor Trend article reported that stuntman Hal Needham was injured in Los Angeles, CA, while practicing a driving stunt for the action sequence on the beach. Needham had designed a “cannon” to be placed behind the driver’s seat of a car driven by one of LaSalle’s thugs. When triggered, a “charge of black powder” would cause a powerful thrust, sending the car into the air. Experimenting with the device, Needham admittedly placed too much explosive powder into the cannon and sent himself twenty-five feet into the air. When the car landed, Needham’s back was broken upon impact. The stuntman, who claimed he had never before been badly hurt while working on a film, also lost several teeth and suffered from a punctured lung as a result of the accident. Gary McLarty, a stunt driver, flew to Washington to take Needham’s place. While driving through shallow ocean water at a speed of 75 miles per hour, McLarty triggered the cannon, causing the car to flip over “six times.” Fred Waugh, who played the role of “Bodyguard” in the film, also served as a stunt driver, wearing a “camera helmet” on his head to capture the point-of-view of “McQ” during the chase. Filmmakers paid the company Stunts Unlimited, co-founded by Needham, around $30,000 for their work on the production.
       Warner Bros. press materials at AMPAS library reported that the Apollo Motor Home Company was launching a tie-in campaign, having purchased full-page advertisements in the 28 Jan 1974 issue of Time magazine, the Feb 1974 issue of Fortune , and twelve additional “outdoor magazines.” Press materials also mentioned that a featurette for McQ aired 28 Jan 1974 after National Broadcasting Company’s “Monday Night Movie.”
       Though the film opened to mostly negative reviews, a 4 Mar 1974 Box article announced that the National Screen Council awarded McQ with their “Blue Ribbon Award” for the month of Jan 1974, based on the film’s quality and “suitability for family entertainment.” A 25 Jan 1974 HR reviewer called the film “lifeless,” and Nora Sayre echoed the sentiment in a 7 Feb 1974 NYT review, referring to McQ as “wildly undramatic.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
4 Feb 1974
p. 4662.
Box Office
4 Mar 1974.
---
Daily Variety
20 Oct 1972.
---
Daily Variety
23 Feb 1973.
---
Daily Variety
21 May 1973.
---
Daily Variety
14 Jun 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 1972.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Feb 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Mar 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jun 1973
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jun 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Aug 1973
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jan 1974
p. 3, 14.
LAHExam
1 Feb 1974.
---
Los Angeles Times
1 Feb 1974
Section IV, p. 11.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
13 Feb 1974
p. 74.
Motor Trend
Mar 1974
pp. 54-56.
New York Times
7 Feb 1974
p. 46.
Time
11 Feb 1974.
---
Variety
25 Oct 1972.
---
Variety
21 Feb 1973.
---
Variety
23 Jan 1974
p. 14.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT

PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
Co-prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Addl cam op
Cam asst
2d unit cam asst
Addl cam asst
Key grip
2d grip
Crab dolly
Best boy
Elec asst
Stillman
Spec still photog
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
COSTUMES
Ward woman
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
1st asst spec eff
Title by
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Transportation coord
Prod coord
Asst to the prods
Casting
Casting
Asst, Seattle casting
Exec prod's secy
Prod secy
Dir's secy
WB auditor
Loc auditor
Driver
Driver, Cinemobile
Honeywagon driver
Caterer
Driver/Cook
Seattle legman
DETAILS
Release Date:
1974
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 1 February 1974
New York opening: 6 February 1974
Production Date:
4 June--mid August 1974 in Seattle, WA
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Brothers, Inc.
Copyright Date:
1 February 1974
Copyright Number:
LP43741
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
111-113 or 116
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On the streets of Seattle, Washington, Stan Boyle shoots two policemen then abandons his car, heading to a diner where the cook addresses him as “Sergeant” and asks after his police partner, Lieutenant Lon McQ. Soon after, Stan drops a briefcase into an open car window; however, as he walks away, an unseen driver shoots Stan in the back. On his houseboat, McQ receives word from J. C., a police detective, that Stan is at the hospital. McQ orders J. C. to pull files on Manny Santiago and to check Stan’s log. Before they hang up, J. C. adds that two other policemen were shot that morning, and the police captain, Ed Kosterman, suspects militants are responsible for the killings. Leaving the dock, McQ turns just as a man shoots at him. McQ returns fire, gunning the man down. Police arrive and McQ identifies the shooter as Paddy Samuels, a hired killer. That day, McQ joins Stan’s wife, Lois, at the hospital and learns that Stan’s condition is critical. Lois tells McQ that Stan received an important call the night before and had to cancel their date. When McQ arrives at the police station, a radical hippie, taken in for questioning regarding the shootings, heckles the lieutenant, and McQ responds by kicking him in the legs. In the cafeteria, McQ meets with Kosterman and rejects his theory that radicals were behind the murders, especially because Paddy Samuels was hired to kill McQ at the same time. Kosterman forbids McQ from working on the investigation, claiming that he is too close to Stan to remain objective. At his office, Manny Santiago speaks with his lawyer, Bob Mahoney, who ... +


On the streets of Seattle, Washington, Stan Boyle shoots two policemen then abandons his car, heading to a diner where the cook addresses him as “Sergeant” and asks after his police partner, Lieutenant Lon McQ. Soon after, Stan drops a briefcase into an open car window; however, as he walks away, an unseen driver shoots Stan in the back. On his houseboat, McQ receives word from J. C., a police detective, that Stan is at the hospital. McQ orders J. C. to pull files on Manny Santiago and to check Stan’s log. Before they hang up, J. C. adds that two other policemen were shot that morning, and the police captain, Ed Kosterman, suspects militants are responsible for the killings. Leaving the dock, McQ turns just as a man shoots at him. McQ returns fire, gunning the man down. Police arrive and McQ identifies the shooter as Paddy Samuels, a hired killer. That day, McQ joins Stan’s wife, Lois, at the hospital and learns that Stan’s condition is critical. Lois tells McQ that Stan received an important call the night before and had to cancel their date. When McQ arrives at the police station, a radical hippie, taken in for questioning regarding the shootings, heckles the lieutenant, and McQ responds by kicking him in the legs. In the cafeteria, McQ meets with Kosterman and rejects his theory that radicals were behind the murders, especially because Paddy Samuels was hired to kill McQ at the same time. Kosterman forbids McQ from working on the investigation, claiming that he is too close to Stan to remain objective. At his office, Manny Santiago speaks with his lawyer, Bob Mahoney, who warns that Stan’s murder might be traced back to him. Santiago confidently responds that he didn’t shoot Stan himself. Staking out a warehouse, McQ snaps photographs of Santiago speaking with a thug, Freddy LaSalle, and follows them to a restaurant. There, in the bathroom, McQ approaches Santiago from behind, places him in a headlock, and accuses him of sending Paddy Samuels to the dock that morning. Later, Kosterman and his colleague, Frank Toms, reprimand McQ for the attack on Santiago, and Kosterman reiterates that McQ is not allowed to work on the investigation of Stan’s murder; in response, McQ quits. Returning to his boat, McQ finds Lois, who thanks him for holding her hand at Stan’s funeral. He offers her a drink, and Lois cries, suggesting they run away together. McQ goes to the office of his friend Pinky, a private detective, and offers to pay him in order to work as an investigator under Pinky’s license. After Pinky agrees, McQ visits his ex-wife, Elaine Forrester, at her home and asks for a loan of $5000. Elaine’s husband, Walter, appears, agreeing to lend McQ the money. At a basketball game, McQ pays off an informant named Rosey, who tells him that Santiago has brought in LaSalle and two other thugs from out of town to organize a large heist. Outside the game, McQ runs into a drug dealer and takes his stash of narcotics. He then goes to the home of Myra, one of Stan’s informants, and bribes her for information using the cocaine he stole. They sleep together, and the next day Myra tells McQ that Santiago’s men are planning to steal drugs that have been confiscated by the police. At the station, McQ questions Steve, a man who runs the supply room of the property department. As narcotics officers remove confiscated drugs from the supply room, planning to destroy them, Steve tells McQ that the drugs are worth over $2 million. McQ follows the police truck full of narcotics to a hospital. There, in the basement, the narcotics officers begin to throw boxes of drugs into the furnace but LaSalle appears, dressed as a maintenance person, along with two other thugs, and orders them to drop the boxes at gunpoint. Santiago’s thugs hide the narcotics in laundry baskets and push them out of the basement. McQ spots the thugs in the hallway and follows them. Turning a corner, LaSalle wields a rifle and shoots at McQ. A gunfight ensues, and the thugs steal away in a laundry truck. McQ follows in his car, cutting through side streets and eventually catching up with the truck on the highway. When he stops the vehicle at an exit, McQ finds that it is the wrong truck and sees the one he was following still on the highway. Back at the station, McQ debriefs with Toms and Kosterman, suggesting that one of the officers who was recently shot may have been leaking information about the confiscated drugs. Kosterman reminds McQ that he no longer works there and commands him to return his gun. Leaving the station, McQ acquires an unlicensed 9mm automatic pistol from a weapons dealer nearby. That evening, Lois admits to McQ that she and Stan were experiencing marital problems before he died and confesses to having romantic feelings for McQ. Before they can kiss, however, Toms arrives at Lois’s home and tells McQ that he needs to back off from the case despite agreeing that Kosterman’s approach is uninformed. Later that night, McQ breaks into Santiago’s office and finds the drugs moments before Santiago and his thugs appear. Santiago angrily informs McQ that the drugs were switched before his men intercepted the police at the hospital; therefore, Santiago’s thugs stole sugar and the drugs are still at large. Santiago insists he did not kill Stan and suggests perhaps Stan knew about the plan to switch the drugs. Suspicious of Kosterman, McQ orders Pinky to investigate the police captain. At a nightclub, McQ coerces Rosey to tell him what he knows about corrupt police. Rosey suggests Stan may have been involved with the stolen drugs, but McQ defends his ex-partner. Outside her home, Myra admits to McQ that she knows nothing of Stan’s involvement with drugs, and he leaves. Moments later, a masked man arrives on her doorstep and shoots Myra dead. That night, Pinky calls McQ at the office to alert him of Myra’s murder. Driving away from the office, McQ is cornered by two large trucks in an alley. The large vehicles repeatedly crash into both ends of McQ’s car until police sirens sound and they speed away. At the hospital, a doctor confirms that McQ is bruised but otherwise unharmed. As McQ leaves the hospital, J. C. secretly follows him and sends notification to Kosterman. In a parking lot full of impounded vehicles, McQ grabs the 9mm gun from the trunk of his car and finds white powder on the backseat, tasting it to determine if the substance is an illegal narcotic. Kosterman and J. C. arrive, backed by several policemen, and order McQ to make himself visible. At the same time, Pinky parks his car outside the lot, joining the police. J. C. states that stolen drugs were found in McQ’s car, and McQ is hiding out in the parking lot. Kosterman sends Pinky away and orders McQ to surrender. McQ commandeers a police car and breaks out of the lot, with two police cars in pursuit. Soon after, McQ turns a corner and gets out of the car, allowing it to roll down the street as he sneaks out of view. The following morning, McQ appears at Lois’s home where they load luggage into her car and drive away. McQ explains that Stan was stealing narcotics from the police property department, stashing it in McQ’s car, and selling it later. He then accuses Lois of participating in the scheme and later partnering with Kosterman, who arranged for her husband to be killed. McQ throws Lois’ luggage out the window until she orders him to stop at the last bag, saying it contains the drugs worth $2 million. Noticing a car in the rearview Mirror, McQ orders Lois to turn onto a side road. Stopping near a beach, Lois calls out to the driver behind them to turn around, but McQ shoots and kills the man. Approaching the car, McQ recognizes the driver as his former colleague, Frank Toms. Meanwhile, Santiago and his thugs arrive and pursue McQ as he and Lois drive away. McQ leads them in a chase down the beach, driving into the ocean. From inside their speeding cars, McQ and Santiago’s thugs shoot at each other, causing the vehicles to fail. Still alive, Santiago calls out to McQ, demanding the drugs. When McQ shoots, Santiago offers him $1 million in exchange. McQ throws out the suitcase to lure Santiago and his two remaining thugs, and shoots all three in an ensuing gunfight, allowing the drugs to wash into the sea. Kosterman and J. C. join McQ at the crime scene. When Kosterman asks McQ to return to his old job, J. C. explains that he was hired to follow him as part of the police force’s internal security program. Satisfied, McQ suggests they get a drink. +

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

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