Thursday, February 21, 2019

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! THE LAST MILE starring Mickey Rooney! (1959)

After Mickey Rooney stopped being all cute and cuddly he did what would come naturally and took on a whole buncha these tough guy roles that made more'n a few b-films of the day look positively gnarly! Here's a good cheap one where Rooney plays a death row inmate that I'm sure woulda looked swell onna late movie back 1963 way, and believe it or not but it's not your average prison flick either!

THE LAST MILE's got what you'd expect from a prison flick like this what with the typical batch of inmates being introduced to you trying to ooze all that compassion and touchy-feel outta you like you'd kinda expect. There's the nice young guy who you get the feeling didn't deserve the chair because he's so sweet, the oldster waiting for a stay, the guy who went insane and is driving everyone else crazy in the process, the black guy who naturally just seems too good to be on death row and prays for everyone around him, and Rooney as the toughest and hardest of the bunch who makes the usual hard-as-nails type seem like Mister Rogers visiting a convent.

Naturally the main guard is a real sadistic jackoff who likes to taunt the doomed men while the others are better but still suffer from guilt by profession. The warden's the warden but he ain't anything you'd wanna care to root for if only because he da MAN! Believe-you-me, you're gonna have a hard time cheering for the nasty yet redeeming to your own sense of sticking-it-to-the-man prisoners or the guards who just don't have anything to 'em that you'd wanna root for!

The film starts off kinda slow-like what with alla the talking and details about what happens to the condemned before they get the jolt, but when Rooney leads the guys into a daring break it's excitement personified with the bad boys now in control and the guards whimpering and sniveling like nothing since the time I got caught with that medical encyclopedia in the bathroom. You might even start cheering when the guards get the tables turned and act like total namby pambies (I liked it when this particularly putrid 'un turns total pouty-pout and told Rooney to take the other guard as a human shield because he was much older!) and maybe you'll even give a standing ovation when Rooney toys with the most hated of the batch who also cracks up before getting his just desserts! Only Arch Hall Jr. coulda done better!

And the best part of it all is that the entire thing ends is a great cataclysm which really soothes your soul in a nice way even if you kinda wish everything woulda ended up a whole lot more GORY (I know I would, but this was 1959 and quite a few years before moom pitchers became "freer"). A hot 'un for sure...worth an eyeballing on your fave local low-budget station or even TCM which is where Bill Shute got his copy from!


si said...
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si said...

Hello, I wanted to send you a record for it to be reviewed. Is that possible?

Christopher Stigliano said...
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Bill S. said...

I thought you would enjoy this film!
Mickey Rooney was on a roll during this period. Next, he was a crooked labor leader in THE BIG OPERATOR (with Mamie Van Doren, Steve Cochran, and Ray Danton!), then he played The Devil in Albert Zugsmith's infamous THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ADAM AND EVER, and then he was in an interesting low-budget re-write of BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK (in the Spencer Tracy role) called PLATINUM HIGH SCHOOL. The recent book (2015) THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MICKEY ROONEY spells out all the bad career moves and personal dirty linen in detail. I've never been much of a fan of Elizabeth Taylor, but after reading this book, I'll forever have one particular image of her in my mind, an image that I cannot un-see now that I know it, an image that would get Rooney arrested today and should have gotten him arrested in the early 40's or whenever it was. With Rooney, he'd probably already forgotten the incident six hours after it happened and probably done something even more debauched before sundown that day! He might have been short, but he was extremely larger than life!


Christopher Stigliano said...

Send it to Christopher Stigliano, 701 North Hermitage Road, Suite 23, Hermitage PA 16148. If I like it I will review it, if not I will spare everyone the gory details.