11 years ago today, actor, nay, cultural icon, Charles Bronson, left us all too soon. In his memory, I'm posting one of his best, if not THE best movie of his career.
- The movie was shot in 38 days in September 1974 in New Orleans, of which the final fight took more than a week alone.
- Charles Bronson was nearly 53 when he appeared in this movie.
- Charles Bronson's Chaney is a man of few words, speaking barely 500 of them in the entire course of the film.
- Originally Chaney was supposed to be a much younger man, played by Jan-Michael Vincent. Bronson and Vincent co-starred in an earlier movie, The Mechanic (1972).
- The producers were going to release the film under the title "The Street Fighter", but when the Shin'ichi "Sonny" Chiba film of the same name came out first (The Streetfighter (1974)), they reverted to the original screenplay title.
- This movie was retitled 'The Streetfighter' for its original UK theatrical release so that it wouldn't be confused with Charles Dickens 'Hard Times' story of the same name. This was despite the fact that there apparently hadn't been a filmed version of this Dickens novel for sixty years, since Hard Times (1915). However, Hard Times (1977), a new version, was made and released within a couple of years of this film debuting.
- The nickname of James Coburn's Spencer Weed character was Speed.
- James Coburn also worked with Charles Bronson two other classics: The Magnificent Seven (1960) & The Great Escape (1963)
- Charles Bronson's street-fighter Chaney character is said to punch like the way a mule kicks.
- Roger Ebert in his October 14, 1975 review of Hard Times in the Chicago Sun-Times called it "a powerful, brutal film containing a definitive Charles Bronson performance."
- First time director Walter Hill remembers that Bronson "was in remarkable physical condition for a guy his age; I think he was about 52 at the time. He had excellent coordination, and a splendid build. His one problem was that he was a smoker, so he didn’t have a lot of stamina. I mean, he probably could have kicked anybody’s a$$ on that movie, but he couldn’t fight much longer than 30 or 40 seconds."
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