Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Timber Tramps|
Actors: Claude Akins, Leon Ames, Stanley Clements, Joseph Cotten, Robert Easton
Directors: Tay Garnett, Chuck D. Keen, Taylor Garnett
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama
Starring Claude Akins, Leon Ames, Joseph Cotten, Cesar Romero, Rosie Grier, Tab Hunter, Stubby Kaye, Eve Brent, Stanley Clements, Robert Easton and Patricia Medina. Claude Akins plays a tough, hard-drinking Alaska logging... more »
"We've got a hell of a lot of cash to drink up!"
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 06/16/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Based on the title Timber Tramps (1975), I was hoping for a racy sexcapade involving wooden trollops and the men who love them, but what I got was something completely different...the film lists two directors in Tay Garnett, whose main directing credits prior to this film involved television shows like `Rawhide', `Bonanza', and `The Untouchables', and Chuck D. Keen, who co-wrote the film Claws (1977), which was a rip of the earlier film Grizzly (1976), which was a rip of the immensely popular Spielberg film Jaws (1975)...animals gone crazy was a popular theme back in the mid to late 70's. The film stars Claude `Sheriff Lobo' Akins (actually, his middle name is Marion), Tab `The Sigh Guy' Hunter (Damn Yankees!, Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood), and Cesar `The Joker' Romero (Donovan's Reef, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes). Also appearing is a cast of luminaries including Leon Ames (Tora! Tora! Tora!, Claws), Eve Brent (Tarzan's Fight for Life), Stanley Clements (Tammy and the Doctor), Joseph `What the hell am I doing in this movie?' Cotton (Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons), former NFL star and knitting aficionado Roosevelt `Rosie' Grier (The Thing with Two Heads), and vaudevillian performer Stubby `Nicely-Nicely Johnson' Kaye (Guys and Dolls, Li'l Abner).
The movie begins with scenes of massive trees being felled...nothing like seeing old growth trees being hacked up to start a film (where's eco-minded Steven Seagal when you need him?). Shortly after this we meet Matt (Akins) and his partner Deacon (Ames) and learn these two roaming lumberjacks, known as `timber tramps', are between jobs, but Deacon has a lead on a new job, one at a logging camp run by a widow who is being pressured (by strong arm tactics and sabotage) to give up her assets to the greedy owners of a local sawmill (ten bucks says it's run by evil characters played by Romero and Cotton). Turns out the woman who runs the logging camp is Corey (Brent), and she and Matt have a history. Anyway, Matt gathers a team of colorful characters, including Redwood Rosenblum (Grier), Haulback Jack (Clements), and Swede Larson (Hunter). The men arrive at the site and, after a slight run in with Corey's son Pete (Matt calls him a hippy, tells him to get a haircut, and then throws him in the water), Matt takes on the job as the `Big Push', or the man who controls the logging activity and sets the pace. It's around this time two slimy character show up in Joe Richards (Romero) and Artie Fraiser (Cotton), owners of the earlier mentioned sawmill (someone owes me ten bucks) as they size up this new threat to their evil plans of taking over Corey's operation (her husband, who ran the biz, died about year earlier under mysterious circumstances). Anyway, from here we see lots of scene involving trees getting cut down, heavy machinery, while various elements are introduced to try and prevent the group from meeting their quota/deadline...will our plucky band be able to save the day? I guarantee after an hour and 28 minutes of this dreck you won't care...
The first thought into my mind after watching this film was that it was like one of those live action Disney films from the 70's, but on the ultra-repellant side. Perhaps someone was in need of a tax write-off as there are virtually no redeeming qualities about the movie. I think we were supposed to like Akins character, a hard drinking, crude, no nonsense type with a penchant for fighting and getting the job done, but he just came off as a dirty, belligerent, drunken, egotistical jerk...and the rest weren't much better. I think the movie meant to be a comedy with dramatic undertones, but it worked on neither level. An example of the comedy throughout the film can be seen after Matt throws the hippy into the water and Rosie Grier's character asks the floundering longhair if he wants a hand...to which the group on the dock begins to clap their hands...har har...get it? Man, that kind of material went out with spats and hoop skirts. There was an odd, but very much welcomed, scene where one of the crew gets mashed by a log that breaks its tether...who got squished? It didn't really matter as all were certainly worthy, but then this immediately segways into a protracted death scene much like one you'd see in a Bugs Bunny/Elmer Fudd cartoon. The subsequent funeral was a real mood killer, but it wasn't without purpose as it was used as a motivating factor to push the loggers to work even harder because `so and so would have wanted it that way'...ugh...and get a load of the lame, supposedly villainous characters played by Romero and Cotton...I think they were supposed to be portrayed as dandy dudes, in contrast to the gruff logging men (who referred to sawmill workers as `sliver pickers'), but they just came off as being really effeminate, especially Cotton's character, which made me think the two were more than just business partners, if you know what I mean. The acting is pretty lame, even for these guys, but the most painful aspect for me was the script...it was filled with some of the lamest material this side of Hee Haw...here's a fine example found near the end as Pete is talking to his mother about Matt's departure...'Will the tramp ever be back, Ma?', to which she replies, `In a lot of ways, he's never been gone' (About this time I was envious of the character that got the thousand pound log dropped on his head). I will say this about the script...it seems someone found a lumberjack dictionary, as a lot of colloquialisms are chucked about in an effort to add veracity to the proceedings. Another thing I found particularly annoying was the voice over narration throughout the film provided by the character of Deacon...seems the writers were unable to meld this information into the film, so they used a rather cheap tactic to distill great gobs of exposition. I guess I should say something about the music composed by Hoyt S. Curtin, the man responsible for whole lot of the music heard in Hanna Barbara cartoons including The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, along with a slew of others...how he got roped into this, I'll never know, but imagine listening to one of those cartoon themes for about an hour and half...and then let's not forget the kooky sound effects during the barroom brawl...it's like a live action cartoon! Argh! There are a couple of nice scenes of the Alaskan wilderness, along with some stock footage thrown in for padding...I'm usually not a big fan of the excessive use of stock footage, but it would have been helpful here, if only to take me away from the story.
The fullscreen picture on this New Star Video DVD release looks pretty shoddy, and I would bet the source material was a used VHS tape. The audio is a little better, but not by much. There is a menu and chapter stops, along with meager filmographies/biographies of some of the actors. Also included are some trailers from some crude looking direct to video features. Unless you're a Claude Akins completist (you know who you are), you be wise to avoid this piece of flotsom, unless you're looking for something to pop into the DVD player as a means to get rid of unwanted visitors...
By the way, it's too bad they don't show the DVD cover here as it's so incredibly cheap...someone took a still shot from the film, blew it up, and did some rather lame photoshopping...