Pairing wine with movies! See the trailers and hear the fascinating commentary for these movies, and many more, at Trailers From Hell. This week the TFH gurus spotlight a trio of films starring everyone’s favorite movie star. Get vaccinated – then watch James Garner.
Burt Kennedy – a guy who had a way with westerns – directed 1971’s Support Your Local Gunfighter. Borrowing the story outline from Yojimbo, the film gets along with a lead actor who was better looking than Toshiro Mifune, spoke English and knew how to work a punchline. Also, he didn’t bring a sword to a gunfight, although he did ride a donkey to one.
James Garner stars as an amiable con man who turns up in the mining town of Purgatory, Colorado, joining both sides in a bitter business feud and playing one off the other. His gambling addiction makes him go bust, but in the end it helps him find a fistful of dollars and a seat next to Suzanne Pleshette on the slow train to Denver. Warning: tattoo removal by dynamite is something the kids shouldn’t try at home.
Garner once owned a vineyard estate in the Santa Ynez Valley and reportedly bottled a Chardonnay, which he dubbed Chateau Jimbeaux. He sold the property a couple of decades ago, so good luck finding any remaining bottles for sale. California’s Three Finger Wine Company makes a Mumbo Jumbo Chardonnay, which at least is still available. Garner, however, chose marijuana as his drug of choice, not alcohol. So you might pair a nice fatty – or a choice gummy – with any film starring Garner.
Also from 1971, Skin Game stars Garner alongside Lou Gossett in another western played for laughs. The movie also plays slavery for laughs, which may not move the meters today like it did 40 years ago. Garner even commented upon the “jokes about slavery” aspect of the film. Then again, who ever thought anyone could make a comedy out of a Nazi prisoner of war camp? Seriously, there’s the guy who wrote the pitch for Hogan’s Heroes and the guy at CBS who green-lighted the project. Beyond that, I want to see a show of hands.
The team of Garner and Gossett took the confidence game to a new level, one in which the color of the game was indeed only skin deep. In wine, it’s the grape’s skin which gives the juice its color. Today’s wine industry is being scrutinized in several areas of the globe for allegedly engaging in forms of slavery to get the grapes grown and picked.
Valentina Passalacqua makes wine in Italy’s Puglia region, and is called a rising star in the natural wine world. Her Calcarius brand was selling like crazy last year, until news broke that her father was said to be engaged in exploiting his migrant vineyard workers. Is she complicit in crimes against society, or a victim of overreaching political correctness? The jury is out, but her distributors mostly bailed on her last summer.
The Americanization of Emily probably had more slash marks in its description than any other movie in 1964. A comedy/drama/romance/antiwar effort penned by Paddy Chayefsky, Emily viewed the American military through a Dr. Strangelove filter aimed at D-Day rather than doomsday.
An unhinged officer wants the first casualty at Normandy to be a sailor, thereby beefing up the Navy’s image. In steps Garner, who serves in that role by being shot while trying to get the hell off of Omaha Beach. He and his love interest, Julie Andrews, both said they felt Emily was the best of all the movies they had done. It’s hard to argue with them, but it’s also hard to look away from Victor/Victoria, which co-starred the pair and offers another slash to the game.
To honor the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion in 2019, the Boisset Collection released 6.6.44. The red wine is a blend of numerous grape varieties from all over France and California.