Monday, July 16, 2007

Hound Dog

THE GLOVE is an odd little drive-in movie. Despite its R rating, it's not particularly exploitative--it doesn't contain any nudity, profanity or excessive violence. Come to think of it, how the hell did THE GLOVE earn an R? It's not a fast-paced, hard-driving movie. In fact, it just kinda meanders along from one scene to the next. It was directed by an actor, Ross Hagen, well known for trashy movies like WONDER WOMEN and THE SIDEHACKERS, and he allows his performers to take their time and add an occasional flourish. Hagen's direction is leisurely that, amazingly, there's a scene in which character actor Keenan Wynn is trading dialogue with star John Saxon. Wynn blows his line, but instead of cutting, Hagen lets the scene continue with Wynn and Saxon laughing, Wynn turning to look off-camera, then looking back at Saxon to repeat the line and continue the scene. It's bizarre and makes no sense within the context of the film, but it certainly is one of those moments that makes THE GLOVE memorable.

Saxon (not long after MOONSHINE COUNTY EXPRESS) stars as down-on-his-luck bounty hunter Sam Kellogg, who stands to lose custody of his daughter if he doesn't come up with some quick bread to pay off his back alimony. Opportunity falls from the sky in the form of hulking ex-con Victor Hale (former football star Rosey Grier), a pissed-off brute who's laying the smackdown on some prison guards who beat him up in the joint. Not content to wallop these apes with his fists, Victor has gotten hold of an old-fashioned riot glove--a five-pound metal gauntlet--that he uses to cause some serious damage to the faces and skulls of his victims. Weary of roughing up homosexual check bouncers for a $300 fee and with a $20,000 reward on the line, Sam puts all his effort into one final case, hoping he can stop Victor's rampage before The Glove can stop him.

Two great disappointments right off the bat. First off, the glove used by Grier looks nothing like the one pictured on the video box, which sports sharp metal spikes. And, secondly, if you're going to call your movie THE GLOVE, it had damn well better showcase a glove. We only really see Grier use it twice, near the beginning of the film, and it doesn't really come into play until the climax, where Grier freely gives it up to Saxon. There are also long stretches in which Grier doesn't even appear, as Hagen chooses to develop a relationship between Kellogg and a red-haired beauty named Sheila Michaels (auburn-tressed Joanna Cassidy). Still, any movie with Saxon in a leading role is going to be worth watching on some level, and there's an occasional action scene or appearance by a familiar character actor to jolt you out of your slumber.

Nothing in THE GLOVE quite lives up to its hilarious theme song, sung by jazz great Ernie Andrews and featuring some of the most overwrought nonsense lyrics on record. Remember: you can't escape the kiss and the rape of...The Glove!

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