Category Archives: Walter Matthau

Making Movies: Don Siegel At Work.

Don Siegel’s films are scattered throughout my list of all-time favorites — if I was to ever sit down and make such a list. Here are some photos I’ve come across while researching him for various things (some of these images have appeared on this blog before, but are worth repeating).

Up top, there’s Siegel directing Clint Eastwood in Two Mules For Sister Sara (1970). The original screenplay was by Budd Boetticher, who was supposed to direct (he ended up with only a story credit). Budd not happy with the finished film, which co-starred Shirley MacLaine. The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner called the picture “a solidly entertaining film that provides Clint Eastwood with his best, most substantial role to date; in it he is far better than he has ever been. In director Don Siegel, Eastwood has found what John Wayne found in John Ford and what Gary Cooper found in Frank Capra.” They’d make five movies together.

Here he is with Ronald Reagan and Vinveca Lindfors (Mrs. Siegel at the time) shooting Night Unto Night (1949).

Neville Brand and Dabbs Greer (?) get direction from Siegel on Riot In Cell Block 11 (1954).

Nick Adams and Siegel go over the script for Hell Is For Heroes (1962).

Siegel, Angie Dickinson, Claude Akins and John Cassavettes (back of his head) on the set of The Killers (1964).

With Eastwood on the set of Coogan’s Bluff (1968), their first picture together.

Andy Robinson goes over the script with Siegel on Dirty Harry (1971).

Siegel and Walter Matthau having a laugh on Charley Varrick (1973). I think Don’s wearing the same hat he has on in the photo from The Killers.

Eastwood and Siegel on location for Escape From Alcatraz (1979).

I was trying to find a picture of Siegel working on Baby Face Nelson (1957), one of his best, but had no luck. It’s highly underrated, probably because it’s almost impossible to see.


Filed under 1954, 1957, 1964, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1979, Angie Dickinson, Budd Boetticher, Clint Eastwood, Don Siegel, Nick Adams, Steve McQueen, Universal (-International), Walter Matthau

RIP, Jerry Stiller.

Gerald Isaac Stiller
(June 8, 1927 – May 11, 2020)

Jerry Stiller, surely one of the funniest men ever, has passed away at 92. Of course, he’s known for his incredible work on Seinfeld and King Of Queens, but I’ve always loved his part in one of my favorite 70s films, The Taking Of Pelham 123 (1974).

What a gift to the world this guy was!

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Filed under 1974, Walter Matthau

Blu-Ray News #289: King Creole (1958).

King_Creole_advertisement_-_Modern_Screen,_August_1958Directed by Michael Curtiz
Starring Elvis Presley, Carolyn Jones, Walter Matthau, Dolores Hart, Dean Jagger, Vic Morrow

Paramount has announced “Paramount Presents,” a new line of Blu-Ray releases and limited theatrical runs. Along with Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief (1957), they’ll be launching the line with King Creole (1958). One of Elvis’ better films, with one of his best performances (I’d say Flaming Star is his best), King Creole should make for a terrific Blu-Ray. It’s for a great cast — Carolyn Jones, Walter Matthau are both excellent, good songs (“Hard Headed Woman” is awesome) and fabulous B&W cinematography from Russell Harlan.

They’re promising deluxe packaging and a slew of extras. Watch for ’em in April.


Filed under 1958, Carolyn Jones, DVD/Blu-ray News, Elvis Presley, Paramount, Walter Matthau

Blu-Ray News #181: Charley Varrick (1973).

Directed by Don Siegel
Starring Walter Matthau, Andy Robinson, Joe Don Baker, John Vernon, Sheree North, Felicia Farr, Norman Fell, Woodrow Parfrey, William Schallert, Bob Steele

If Don Siegel had never made another movie — no Private Hell 36 (1954), no Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1956), no Dirty Harry (1971), no The Shootist (1976) — he’d be one of my favorite directors on the strength of Charley Varrick (1973) alone. This movie’s perfect in so many ways. A perfect crime picture. The cream of the crop of 70s action movies (and there’s some serious competition there). Flawlessly acted by an incredible cast. It’s in my Top 10 for sure.


And it’s finally coming to Blu-Ray here in the States from Kino Lorber. If you haven’t gotten an import already, you really need this. Essential!


Filed under 1973, Andy Robinson, Don Siegel, DVD/Blu-ray News, Joe Don Baker, Kino Lorber, Universal (-International), Walter Matthau

Blu-Ray News #149: Charley Varrick (1973).

Directed by Don Siegel
Starring Walter Matthau, Joe Don Baker, Felicia Farr, Andy Robinson, Sheree North, Norman Fell, William Schallert, John Vernon, Bob Steele

I love the good old US of A, but there’s one thing where the rest of the world has us beat — outside the US, you can find a Blu-Ray of Don Siegel’s incredible Charley Varrick (1973). Still no hi-def release here, and our only DVD release was full-frame. No wonder the rest of the world hates us. I’ve proclaimed my undying love for this movie many times before, it’s one of my favorites, easy, from one of my favorite directors.


So when I saw it pop up on, I was overjoyed. This time, Indicator/Powerhouse Films in the UK have announced Charley Varrick on Blu-Ray coming in January with a slew of terrific-sounding extras. The Indicator/Powerhouse release is limited to 3,000 copies. Essentially, this thing is essentially essential.

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Filed under 1973, Andy Robinson, Don Siegel, DVD/Blu-ray News, Joe Don Baker, Universal (-International), Walter Matthau, William Schallert

Blu-ray News #54: The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three (1974).


Directed by Joseph Sargent
Starring Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam. Hector Elizondo, James Broderick, Dick O’Neill, Jerry Stiller, Kenneth McMillan, Doris Roberts, Tony Roberts

The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three (1974) has one of the greatest assemblages of New York character actors ever, and it shows how to seamlessly weave humor into a suspense film — without diluting the suspense. And David Shire’s score is just terrific.


Mr. Blue (Robert Shaw): “Now, then, ladies and gentlemen, do you see this gun? It fires 750 rounds of 9-millimeter ammunition per minute. In other words, if all of you simultaneously were to rush me, not a single one of you would get any closer than you are right now. I do hope I’ve made myself understood.”

This is a movie I appreciate a little more every time I see it. Since catching its first network TV airing (with its dialogue looped, edited and just plain monkeyed with to a crazy degree), it’s become one of my favorite films of the 70s.

Kino Lorber will release a special edition Blu-ray in July, packed with interviews, commentaries and other cool stuff. Can’t wait. “Gesundheit.”

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Filed under 1974, DVD/Blu-ray News, Kino Lorber, Robert Shaw, Walter Matthau

Screening: Don Siegel Triple Feature At The Mahoning Drive-In.


Boy, what a great night this will be for those fortunate enough to be there. A tribute to director Don Siegel, at a drive-in, featuring three of his finest films: Coogan’s Bluff (1967), Charley Varrick (1973) and The Killers (1964).

charley varrick LC1

Don Siegel Triple Feature
Friday, July 17, beginning at dusk
General Admission: $10.00
Children’s Admission: $7.00

Coogan's Bluff LC1

The Mahoning Drive-In Theater
635 Seneca Road, just of Rte. 443
Lehighton, PA 18235

One of my favorite filmmakers. Three of his best pictures. All in 35mm on “the largest CinemaScope screen in Pennsylvania.” Sounds like heaven.

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Filed under 1964, 1968, 1973, Andy Robinson, Angie Dickinson, Clint Eastwood, Don Siegel, Lalo Schifrin, Lee Marvin, Screenings, Walter Matthau

RIP, Joseph Sargent.


Joseph Sargent
(July 22, 1925 – December 22, 2014)

Just saw that director Joseph Sargent has passed away after a long, distinguished career as a TV director (he did that great Kojack pilot movie).

But for me, a couple of his features stand out. First is Tobruk (1967), the Leo Gordon-scripted war picture starring Rock Hudson and George Peppard. Then there’s the terrific The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three (1974). It’s got one of the greatest assemblages of New York character actors ever, and it shows how to seamlessly weave humor into a suspense film — without diluting the suspense. It’s one I drag out every so often and just marvel at. “Gesundheit.”



Filed under 1974, Robert Shaw, Walter Matthau

Blu-Ray News #16: Charley Varrick (1973).


Charley Varrick (1973) is one of the best crime films ever made. It’s one of the best films of the 70s, period. And Don Siegel is one of the best directors to ever crawl behind a camera.

With all that said, the fact that the Koch folks in Germany have announced a March 2015 Blu-ray release for it is some of the best news I’ve heard in quite some time.


Filed under 1973, Don Siegel, DVD/Blu-ray News, Walter Matthau

Happy Birthday, Walter Matthau.

Walter Matthau

(October 1, 1920 – July 1, 2000)

Here’s Walter Matthau in Don Siegel’s Charley Varrick (1973), which I hold up as one of the best films of the 70s.

Matthau’s list of terrific movies goes on and on and on.

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Filed under 1973, Don Siegel, Walter Matthau