With not a sniff of a James Bond gadget, here are some of the best props to make it onto celluloid.
I gave myself two rules when approaching this subject first to ignore big rugby b***ards like Jason Leonard and secondly NO JAMES BOND. Yes Bond has fancy gadgets but we all know he did and me banging on about Odd Job’s bowler hat or Scaramanga’s fancy golden gun is not very interesting. Now I have given myself loads of pressure to actually be interesting, here goes.
Superman’s Specs – Superman (1978) – Richard Donner
Call me cynical but them specs are not fooling anyone. Clark Kent has the same face, the same shape, the same hair as Superman and seeing as Lois has been shagging him she’s not very observant for a reporter. Poor show if you ask me. At least Marvel comics were a bit more subtle, if you ran into someone whose first and last name started with the same letter then you’d better expect some fireworks.
Butch Coolidge’s Watch – Pulp Fiction (1994) – Quentin Tarantino
This vintage gold watch or “this uncomfortable piece of metal” was integral to the whole plot. It lived an interesting life through several generations of Butch’s family then up Capt. Koons’ a** in Korea and because of it’s importance he goes back to collect it after the betting sting. Had he not, he would not have killed Vincent Vega or run Marsellus Wallace over.
No-one criticised Steve McQueen too much when he was forever fiddling with s**t to draw the eye on every shot.
Brad Pit and Food – in Oceans Eleven (2001) – Steven Soderburgh
The cynic might say that he needs a good prop to detract from his lack of acting ability but I’d be more generous than that. He works well with what he’s got and no-one criticised Steve McQueen too much when he was forever fiddling with s**t to draw the eye on every shot. Well apart from Yul Brynner I suppose but who cares, McQueen was cool, Brynner was not. Watch Pitt’s Rusty Ryan and he’s forever munching on something. The official line is that Pitt thought his character would never have time to eat a meal therefore ate on the hoof all the time. There is also a gag at the end where he get’s heartburn and wangs the food away, which is a nice touch.
Floating Oriental Café –The Fifth Element (1997) – Luc Besson
If I lived in a flat like Corbin Dallas, which I don’t and if floating dim sum and noodle bars existed then I would be a lot fatter than I am now. I always thought that this was a nod to Blade Runner where Deckard eats similar fare in the bowels of the city. It’s a nice touch for foodies and in a film full of stylish touches it still stands out. The film’s plot though unfortunately sags a bit and has Chris Tucker in it. Oh dear.
Herbie – Herbie goes to Monte Carlo (1977) – Vincent McEveety
I wonder how many Beetles these films sold for VW? S**tloads I imagine. Variants were popular with the surfing set in the 60’s and 70’s but Beetles were cheaper and became vogue. I had one, it was truly horrible. Slow, cold, thirsty and going downhill in snow made the Cresta Run feel like taking a maiden aunt for a stroll in the park.
In one sentence “this is a knoife”, we cheer as the bad guy s**t’s himself at Mick’s fearlessness.
Crocodile Dundee’s Knife – Crocodile Dundee (1986) – Peter Faiman
Show me someone who does not love the scene where the mugger pulls the flick knife on Mick Dundee and gets with the “call that a knife” speech and I will show you someone with no spirit. In one sentence “this is a knoife”, we cheer as the bad guy s**t’s himself at Mick’s fearlessness and laugh as he cuts up the awful Michael Jackson style leather jacket.
Elmira Gulch’s pushbike in Wizard of Oz (1939) – Victor Fleming
I only include this because growing up (and beyond) any kid who had bike with any hint of sh**ness would get calls of “Dorothy!!” in a high pitched Miss Gulch voice. Kids eh?
Bob Falfa’s ’55 Chevy in American Graffiti (1973) – George Lucas
Such a beautiful car and a great film. Harrison Ford’s Falfa was an early Han Solo type. The film is heavy on style and the car, skull hanging from the rear view mirror and the big cowboy hat is an iconic image.
Child’s Ball in The Changeling (1980) – Peter Medak
This film is as scary as chuff. Bereaved composer George C. Scott moved to a large old New England house for some peace and quiet but starts to hear noises. A small colourful ball keeps rolling into view in the hallway as he tries to work so both spooked and annoyed he drives to a bridges and flings it into the river. As he returns it’s getting dark and as he enters the hallway the ball comes bouncing down the stairs. I always sh** my breeks at this point and scamper upstairs to hide under the duvet.
Max’s Wolf Costume in Where the Wild Things Are (2009) – Spike Jonze
This is a beautiful film, it really makes you think about your responsibilities and what you promise your kids. Last time I watched it the Beatle’s song “Don’t let me down” came to mind and I welled up a bit. Anyhoo the outfit Max wears get progressively more filthy and matted as the film progresses. It looks comfy as owt though and I think I want one for knocking about the house. If anyone knows where I can get one in Fat Yorkshireman sizes let me know.
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