Friday, September 15, 2006


One of the world's biggest badasses turns 78 today. When it comes to kicking ass, taking names and being charismatic, it's difficult to beat Henry Silva, who has probably killed as many actors on film as anyone. Born in Brooklyn this day in 1928, Silva is reportedly of Puerto Rican heritage, yet he has played several different ethnicities, including Italian, Native American, Mexican and even Japanese in THE RETURN OF MR. MOTO. He once appeared with the Rat Pack (OCEAN'S ELEVEN) and Jerry Lewis (CINDERFELLA) in the same year. He acted in a Roger Corman movie, THE SECRET INVASION, which THE DIRTY DOZEN ripped off three years later. He's been in a billion TV shows. In the 1970s, he spent a lot of time in Europe, where he starred in many westerns and crime dramas. He played Killer Kane to Pamela Hensley's luscious Princess Ardala in BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY. More recently, he voiced Bane in the BATMAN cartoon series and played a memorable supporting role in GHOST DOG.

To produce this amazing video, somebody has edited clips and samples from various Silva movies and scored them with a Motorhead song. It's NSFW, but, what the hell, it's the weekend anyway. Crank those speakers and let the awesomeness of Henry Silva wash over you, motherfucker.


Anonymous said...

What would you say is your favourite Henry Silva performance? I can't remember what the first thing I saw him in was....probably a toss up between SHOOT, WIPEOUT, or BUCK ROGERS. I liked his damned near unkillable hitman in SHARKY'S MACHINE - particularly the close-quarters shooting exchange with Bernie Casey - and he leant a nice bit of villainy to both CODE OF SILENCE and ABOVE THE LAW in later years. He also proved how funny he could be (by playing it straight) in both ALLIGATOR and AMAZON WOMEN ON THE MOON ("Bullshit - or Not!")

Funny, but if you back at look at some of his early 1950s roles when he's only in the tiniest of roles he got to play gentle men. In terms of performances probably my own pick for his best would be HAIL MAFIA when he was paired opposite Jack Klugman. It was an extremely well thought out performance, very different from most of what I had seen him in before and as such proved to be a great pleasure.

Marty McKee said...

I think BUCK ROGERS is probably the first thing I ever saw him in, or at least the first thing in which he made an impact on me. Michael Ansara took over his role in the TV series. ABOVE THE LAW and CODE OF SILENCE gave him his last really meaty roles. I should have mentioned JOHNNY COOL, which is a cool (pardon the pun) gangster movie with an all-star cast and a swinging Billy May score. Silva stars as "Johnny Cool" in a film that tracks his beginnings as an Italian youth all the way through to his violent demise. He's also quite menacing in SHARKY'S MACHINE ("The guy's a fuckin' ghost."). On TV, he played a particularly nasty kidnapper on THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO who spits on Michael Douglas when he is apprehended.

Uncle Larry said...

Silva was in Ghost Dog? Dang it. I gotta' watch that again.

"He lived by the gun and by the knife . . . Johnny Cooooool!"

Anonymous said...

Robert is right, McKee. You need to watch HAIL! MAFIA. It's the movie that made Silva a star in Europe...and it's got Jack Klugman in one of his least typical characterizations. Very good movie.

Marty McKee said...

I've been thinking about moving that to the top of the stack!