Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

The Steagle is Quite Boring

Cleveland Press November 6, 1971

"The Steagle" is another movie about alienation and not a very good one. With so much alienation on screen is it any wonder that audiences are beginning to feel alienated?

This latest piece stars Richard Benjamin, a one-time fine actor who has lately gone through his roles by assuming several fixed, predetermined expressions rather than by acting.

In "The Steagle" he plays a Walter Mitty-type character who finally gets a chance to act out his fantasies.

Benjamin is a professor (English literature) whose dreams are about professional sports, war and old movies.

The time is 1962 and the Cuban Missile crisis has left him and his associates in a state of anxiety. While his colleagues and his wife (who goes to bed in curlers) wonder if they will wake up the next morning, the professor heads for California -- along the way doing all the things he has wanted to do.

He looks up an old girlfriend in Chicago and beds down with her daughter, passes himself off as being connected with the movies, seduces an airline stewardess and in Hollywood finds an old cowboy star.

This last bit is the best in the film with Chill Wills playing the old timer. Wills lives in his past and Benjamin easily joins him there.

The two invade a movie studio lot at 3 a.m. and in a wild and imaginative sequence become two super soldiers who fight the battle to end all battles -- mowing down the enemies of two world wars, Indians, Orientals and the forces of Napoleon.

"The Steagle" lacks any kind of coherence, jumping from episode to episode. And since few of them are that good and the whole is confusing, the movie ends up as quite a bore.