Holdenville, Oklahoma native Clu Gulager was an extremely busy and prolific actor (over 160 TV and movie credits) who worked right up to his death at 93 in August 2022. Even if he never quite graduated to the A list of Hollywood actors, he will always be remembered for starring roles in two iconic TV westerns, The Tall Man (1960-62), as Billy the Kid, and The Virginian (1963-68) as Sheriff Emmett Ryker as well as several cult movies. Among them are his feature film debut opposite Lee Marvin as a pair of sociopathic hit men in the 1964 remake of The Killers, directed by Don Siegel, The Return of the Living Dead (1985), Dan O’Bannon’s macabre zombie comedy, and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985). Other notable roles include memorable parts in the Paul Newman racetrack drama Winning (1969), Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show (1971) and McQ (1974), a John Wayne cop thriller, but if American audiences had been given an opportunity to see him in the 1974 Swedish film Gangsterfilmen (U.S. title: Gangster Film aka A Stranger Came by Train), they would surely rank it right up there with his intimidating but off-the-wall performance in The Killers, which should have made him a major star.
No, I am not referring to the 1961 musical by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse, which enjoyed successful stage productions in London and Broadway before being adapted for the screen in 1966. I’m talking about the 1970 satire, Fermate il Mondo…Voglio Scendere! (the title translates as Stop the World…I Want to Get Off! In English), which was the directorial debut of Italian actor Giancarlo Cobelli, based on a screenplay he wrote with fellow thespians Giancarlo Badessi and Laura Betti, a close friend and frequent collaborator with Pier Paolo Pasolini. The film is a frenzied attack on consumerism and the Italian media but its bursting-at-the-seams energy emanates not so much from outrage as it does from a madcap sense of anarchy.