MovieChat Forums > Charley VarrickĀ (1973) Discussion > 'I expected Clint Eastwood.'

'I expected Clint Eastwood.'




Molly (Joe Don Baker) enters the house of the photographer Jewell Everett (Sheree North) while she is busy to fabricate the fake passports for Varrick and his partner.

Jewell, without looking up: "This is really a *beep* lock."
Molly: "I am Molly."
Jewell:"And I was expecting Clint Eastwood."

Some kind of (not-really) inside joke at that time?

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Eastwood was planned to do this movie, I believe. Varrick's role, though.



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This is largely the same ensemble used in the Dirty Harry series, so yes, probably an inside joke.

Poor Albert Popwell gets "Popped well" in those movies, too. He's the "punk" Eastwood says "Well, do ya, punk" the first time in "Dirty Harry."
Come to think of it, Andy Robinson is just as creepy as the killer in that one.
John Vernon (Boyle) and Woodrow Parfrey (Young) are in that movie, too!

Miss Everett's line is actually: "Yeah; I didn't figure you for Clint Eastwood."

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Eastwood may have been offered the role of Charley Varrick, but it was all wrong for him, he was right to turn it down.

The whole point of "Charley Varrick" is that Charley is older, not very muscular...he can't possibly beat the hulking Molly in a fight. So the whole thing is "brains versus brawn," Charley must outfox Molly to kill him. (Same with the other mob guys, and also the murderous younger Harmon.)

This made Walter Matthau perfect casting. I've read Donald Sutherland was considered, but Matthau had a much more normal, wry, likeable presence.

Though the opening scenes of "Charley Varrick" are set in New Mexico, it was all filmed near Reno...the "New Mexico" scenes were filmed in a series of towns SOUTH of Reno and the open fields nearby.

And director Don Siegel RETURNED to the Reno area for two more movies:

The Shootist(1976)...John Wayne rides into view out of mountains a bit north of where Varrick blew up Nadine. No scenes filmed in Reno proper, but a few in Carson City to the south.

Jinxed (1981)...Don Siegel's final film returns him to Reno, some shady charaacters, and one or two "Charley Varrick" cast members.

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Eastwood would have been a more plausible seducer of hot thirty something secretaries though...

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Eastwood would have been a more plausible seducer of hot thirty something secretaries though...

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Ha.

True...but I was around then and a Matthau fan and I vividly remember he got a little press around the time of Charley Varrick in making a list of "male movie stars women find sexy."

Matthau was on a list(lower down) with Paul Newman and Steve McQueen and Eastwood, but he was on the list. I think the pollsters said women liked Matthau for his "comfortable six-pack-kind-of-guy" appeal.

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That hot woman was Mrs. Jack Lemmon...until Lemmon died. Pretty odd doing a post love scene with your pal's WIFE.

But the movie was smart. We saw no sex and I don't think we even saw them kiss. Plus, the photo of John Vernon on the woman's nightstand demonstrated that she was ALREADY bedding a pretty unattractive man. Matthau was cuter.

And she likely figured she was giving the guy the last night of sex of his soon to be ended life....

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Incorrect. She says, "That's what I call a hell of a lock." And when Baker says, "I'm Molly," she replies, "Yeah, I didn't figure you for Clint eastwood."

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Not long ago screenwriter Josh Olsen revealed that "Varrick" was originally written for Donald Sutherland but the change was made to Matthau as he was more bankable.

I always thought of this as a likely Eastwood vehicle mainly because of Siegel's direction and the supporting cast that turned up in many other Eastwood pictures.

The thing I took away from this picture is that Matthau could just as easily have carried the Dirty Harry film.
Imagine the impact of the "do you feel lucky" speech coming out of Walter.

In addition to his performance in "Charley Varrick" I'd hold up "The Laughing Policeman" as more evidence of Matthau's ability to handle any role he tackled.

Conversely I don't know if I could see Eastwood as one of the "Sunshine Boys"

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Walter Matthau's son Charlie claims that Matthau was offered "Dirty Harry."

But it seems that about 40 ranking male actors of the time were also offered the role. Often, scripts aren't sent out "to one actor, one at a time" but to ALL actors, and then things narrow down to who is available and who the director wants.

Frank Sinatra was actually signed to play Dirty Harry(though the movie had a different title), but backed out over a hand injury. Next, Paul Newman turned it down("too right wing.") Those are "actual offers" before Eastwood got the role.

But I have also read that Harry was offered to : Steve McQueen(who found it too close to "Bullitt"), Walter Matthau, John Wayne, Robert Mitchum and Bill Cosby! Frankly, I can see any and all of those guys in the role.

When Sinatra had the part, Harry was an old cop facing retirement. Eastwood considered graying his hair for the role, but had it "younged down" -- a lucky break. Thus he could do all those sequels and grow old in the role. Sinatra, Wayne, Mitchum...all would have been too old for the sequels.

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Walter Matthau was a very good, well-respected star during his time. He came up "the hard way" as a character actor, and then was hot from about 1968(The Odd Couple) through 1980. Rather like Michael Caine and Gene Hackman, Matthau's movies didn't always hit, but he had ENOUGH hits(The Sunshine Boys, The Bad News Bears, House Calls) to remain bankable for quite some time.

And he was a good actor, a lot of presence.

"Charley Varrick" was the first of three-in-a-row attempts by Matthau to "break the comedy mold" by making serious crime thrillers: he made "Charley Varrick" "The Laughing Policeman" and "Pelham 123" in order. All three were really good movies(though Policeman was a little weaker). And they didn't do well, and back to "The Sunshine Boys" and "The Bad News Bears" he went.

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you people drone on and on about the most useless drivel

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Says you ... WTFs your problem ? Jerk.

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Lol! And yet..here you are reading it.


"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it." Norman Maclean

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