SE40 Week 8 – Robert Duvall is the Man

This week we learned that the main man who appeared in the greatest number of movies on the AFI list of best American movies is none other than Robert Duvall. How did he do it? Well, he played Boo Radley in To Kill A Mockingbird:


And he absolutely digested the scenery in this great scene from Apocalypse Now, which is quite entertaining even if you haven’t seen the film:

He played Consigliere Tom Hagen in The Godfather and The Godfather Part II:


He was also in Network and MASH, the movie not the TV show. My favourite bit of resultant trivia is the story of the MASH theme song “Suicide Is Painless”. Robert Altman, the film’s director, wanted the song for a scene, and he wanted the lyrics to be really, really stupid. He deemed himself not stupid enough for the task, so he had his 14-year old son Mike write up some lyrics, which he supposedly did in five minutes. Here’s a sample:

The sword of time will pierce our skins
It doesn’t hurt when it begins
But as it works its way on in
The pain grows stronger…watch it grin, but…
A brave man once requested me
To answer questions that are key
Is it to be or not to be
And I replied ‘oh why ask me?’

Pretty damned stupid, but still better than anything a certain Chad Kroeger might ever conjure up. A funny thing happened, though. MASH the movie became a huge hit, and spawned one of the longest-running, most beloved, and critically acclaimed TV shows of all time. And the song worked so well that they decided to use it as the theme for both the movie and the TV show. And! It somehow charted, and even made it to number one on the UK singles chart in 1980. And, let’s be honest, it’s not a good song. Altman later claimed that he had been paid around $70,000 for directing the movie, while he son managed to pull in north of a cool million dollars in royalties for the song. Cashing in is painless. Here’s the song, enjoy:

Harrison Ford would have tied Duvall had The Empire Strikes Back made the list. But it didn’t. West Side Story, but not The Empire Strikes Back? Okay… Someone on the internet made a list with which I disagree! If I had more business savvy and no integrity I would now treat you to a list called TOP SEVEN FILMS THAT SHOULD HAVE MADE THE AFI TOP 100 LIST (you won’t believe number four isn’t there!), requiring you to click through twenty different pages to find out that I think Touch of Evil is underrated and that musicals are stupid. You are welcome.

3 thoughts on “SE40 Week 8 – Robert Duvall is the Man

  1. What a coincidence, I happen to be on a Robert Duvall kick right now and in the last two weeks I watched all of those great films. I can’t decide which I loved most BUT, I can say that he’s most handsome as Boo.


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