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The Good, The Bad & The Badass: Scott Glenn

04.17.2017

Scott Glenn

Scott Glenn has been in some pretty outstanding films. One of his earliest was Robert Altman’s NASHVILLE, and he also turned up in a small (but important) part in Francis Ford Coppola’s APOCALYPSE NOW, leading to his break-out turn as John Travolta’s rival in URBAN COWBOY. At this point, Glenn got the star build-up, but for whatever reason it never quite panned out for him. Michael Mann’s THE KEEP was ruined in post-production, WILD GEESE II was too cheap, SILVERADO opened opposite BACK TO THE FUTURE, THE RIGHT STUFF, for reasons that are still unclear, never caught-on, etc.

Even still, Glenn kept on truckin’, reinventing himself as a character actor, with scene-stealing parts in THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, his role as Jack Crawford in THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, and more. Glenn, at seventy-six, is still built like a boxer (the profile photo is from a recent spread in GQ), making his role as Stick in Netflix’s “Daredevil” a perfect vehicle to introduce him to a new generation, while his ongoing part on HBO’s “The Leftovers” demands a more cerebral approach. All things considered, Glenn seems to be busier than ever, and is still a badass even as he approaches his eighties!

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His Best Work

While Glenn has been in better movies, his performance as Alan Shepard in Philip Kaufman’s THE RIGHT STUFF ranks (along with SILVERADO) as our best glimpse at what he would have been like as a movie star. Mixing a kind of Gary Cooper-esque stoicism with occasional flashes of an impish sense of humor, Gleen steals every scene from his heavy-duty co-stars, which include Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid and Fred Ward. It’s a great performance in a movie that’s too often ignored.

His Most Overrated Work

Scott Glenn is so solid that I honestly couldn’t find anything on his filmography I’d call overrated. That said, one strange inclusion is his starring role in the original MAN ON FIRE, where he played Creasey, who was later, famously, played by Denzel Washington. Given that so few people have seen it, many would be tempted to think that it must be an underrated gem, but while Glenn is awesome, this weird, pretentious actioner (the eighties Euro-arthouse direction is laughable considering the plot) is best left unexplored.

His Most Underrated Film

Michael Mann’s THE KEEP is like a ninety-minute trailer for an amazing six hour film. Apparently, a much longer cut of the movie would have been released, had the VFX artist not died midway through production, leaving a mess behind that rendered most of the practical fx unusable, meaning the final product was highly compromised. Mann, to this day, refuses to discuss it or restore it, although you can buy it digitally on iTunes (no disc version exists- except on laserdisc). It’s worth checking out for Glenn's mystical performance as the hero, as well as a young Gabriel Byrne and young(er) Ian McKellen in prominent roles, as well as the monumentally great score by Tangerine Dream. It doesn’t make much sense, but it’s pretty to look at.

His Most Badass Moment

John Frankenheimer’s THE CHALLENGE is a movie I suspect most of you haven’t seen or even heard of. There’s a reason for that, with this Japan-set modern-day samurai tale being such a flop in 1982 it was sold to network TV under a new title, SWORD OF THE NINJA, despite Toshiro Mifune as Glenn’s co-star. As a worn-out boxer sent to Japan to steal a priceless sword only to do an about-face when learning the ways of the samurai, Glenn gives it his all but the movie never comes to life - except in the last twenty-minutes. Here, Frankenkeimer, who seemed to be on autopilot the rest of the movie, comes to life, staging an insane assault on a Tokyo headquarters, with Glenn two fisting machine guns while Mifune uses a bow and a sword. It all culminates in an insane mano-a-mano sword fight between Glenn and the main baddie, where an out-matched Glenn uses office supplies to help defeat his opponent (with choreography by Steven Seagal- here billed as Steve), all the while Jerry Goldsmith’s score pumps in the background. It’s a wicked finale to a not-so-great movie, but it stands as one of Glenn’s best on-screen moments.

His Five Best Roles

5. Daredevil
4. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
3. THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER
2. SILVERADO
1. THE RIGHT STUFF

Up Next

Glenn’s already signed-on to continue as Stick for “The Defenders”, and presumably more “Daredevil” after that. In terms of features, none have been announced, but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see him turn up in a juicy character part in something fairly prominent pretty soon.

Extra Tidbit: Does anyone else think THE RIGHT STUFF would be a goof candidate for Best Movie You Never Saw, it is it too well-known?
Source: JoBlo.com

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