“Detective Lt. Brannigan is in London . . . God Save the Queen!”
Tough Chicago cop Lieutenant Jim Brannigan (John Wayne) tracks fleeing criminal Ben Larkin (John Vernon) across the Atlantic to the streets of London. Here, he finds the British police resent his unconventional methods.
Richard Attenborough plays Commander Swann, the Scotland Yard police officer whose job it is to make sure the visiting American cop plays by the book.
Brannigan’s assigned liaison officer, Detective Sergeant Jennifer Thatcher (the lovely Judy Geeson) quotes her father, saying there are only three things wrong with Yanks: They are overpaid, over-sexed and over here.
Brannigan is essentially a Western movie transported to London, with red double-deckers instead of stagecoaches and hangovers from Swinging London.
It’s also a blatant rip-off of Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry (1971), which Wayne bitterly regretted turning down after seeing the film.
Despite lots of talk about how reckless Jim Brannigan is, everything he does in the film is fairly reasonable. He does wreck a good deal of public property, but it’s all in the service of getting killers off the streets.
In the end, the Duke’s ten-gallon charisma carries the movie, and Attenborough looks fairly gobsmacked by acting with such a living legend.
Lt James Brannigan
Jimmy the Bet
Kathryn Leigh Scott