This is the reason I love doing this blog. I love it because I can bring films like this to your attention that I know many haven’t seen. Directed by George Roy Hill who also directed Paul Newman in ‘Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid’, this riotous comedy is one you will definitely watch again.
Paul Newman stars as Reggie Dunlop an ageing hockey player who plays for the minor-league side the Charleston Chiefs. His team are bottom of their league and are utterly hopeless, except for one player called Ned Braden (played by Michael Ontkean). Reggie is trying to turn the fortunes of the team arround but with no new players to bolster the team he is failing at every turn. He approaches the teams manager Joe McGrath (played by Strother Martin) who is more concerned with having the players do fashion shows to earn money than how well the team is playing. Joe eventually relents and buys three brothers called The Hanson Brothers (played by Steve & Jeff Carlson and Dave Hanson).
The three brothers are not what Reggie would consider decent players and is outraged at how much of a skinflint his boss has become. He doesn’t play the brothers at first, but when things start getting desperate he has no choice. To his surprise the brothers are animals on the ice, more concerned with fighting and brutalising the opponents than actually playing hockey. The Chiefs start winning, but the constant violence brings it’s own set of problems.
Everyone is on top form here, particularly Newman. You can tell he is having a whale of a time as Reggie. The script by Nancy Dowd is brilliant, and it still holds up today. I have watched this movie many times now and still find myself laughing out loud. Some of the quotes will have you laughing away, especially Reggie Dunlop’s first reaction on The Hanson Brothers. It’s definitely worth watching if you can find it.