By Kyle Shea
I doubt there is a single person in the world who does not know who John Wayne was. He starred in over 140 films, including in a number of Westerns. Some of these include: “True Grit,” “Sands of Iwo Jima,” “The Longest Day,” “The Searchers,” “Island in the Sky,” the 1960s version of “The Alamo” and “The Cowboys.” His last performance was in “The Shootist,” although he did voice a character (Garindan) in “Star Wars: A New Hope.” He died in 1979—missed but never forgotten.
In 1975, John Wayne starred in “Brannigan,” a film about Chicago Police Detective Jim Brannigan who goes to London to bring a notorious crime boss back to America. Upon arriving in the English capital, the crime boss is kidnapped, and a ransom is demanded for his release. So Brannigan must join forces with local law enforcement to find the crime boss, rescue him and bring him back to the United States to face justice for his crime.
John Wayne plays the main character Jim Brannigan. Judy Geeson plays a police officer who escorts Brannigan around London. The leading police officer in London is played by Richard Attenborough, and the crime boss is played by John Vernon. One especially good performance in the movie is by Daniel Pilon. He plays a hitman targeting Brannigan, and there were a few scenes where it almost looked like he was going to succeed.
In the movie, Jim Brannigan carries a double-action .38 Colt Diamondback as a side arm. First produced in 1966, it was popular with civilians and law enforcement. It has a four-inch long barrel and carries six .38 special rounds through a cylinder system. Other Colt Diamondback models shoot .22 Long Rifle ammunition.
The opening credit scene of the movie has the camera scanning the .38 Colt diamondback up and down, with some close ups as well. One scene where Brannigan uses the .38 Colt Diamondback is when he is confronted by a bad guy in a car. He dodges the car a few times before he shoots the villain through the windshield with his revolver. Throughout the movie, Richard Attenborough’s character gives Brannigan a hard time for having the gun and the two square off a few times over it.
Other guns in the movie include a Colt Detective Special used by Richard Attenborough’s character, Sir Charles Swann. Daniel Pilon’s character uses a Mauser M712—the select-fire “Schnellfeuer.” Some mobsters are seen using an M1911 (not an “A1”) and a Walther P38K (The shorty P38 pistol). In one scene, a trap set for Jim Brannigan involves a double-barreled shotgun, which is tied to a string attached to a door.
“Brannigan” isn’t a great movie by any means, but it is still enjoyable to watch. John Wayne is great, of course, but the other actors are good as well. The setting in London is nice, and the action scenes are well done, including a fun car chase. John Vernon and Daniel Pilon both play villains very well, and Richard Attenborough does a nice job as a British police chief. In general, “Brannigan” is a gem to add to your John Wayne collection.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V23N1 (January 2019)