Sam Whiskey (1969) – A Review
Sam Whiskey (Burt Reynolds) is one lovable rogue who’s always finding himself embroiled in adventure. He finds himself in one really strange one when widow Angie Dickinson convinces him to enter the Denver Mint and put back stolen gold.
Yep, you heard that right. Whiskey’s job is to retrieve stolen gold bars from a sunken riverboat and somehow sneak them back into the mint to replace the fake ones that have been stored there for years. Pretty nutty huh?
Whiskey needs help with this task, so he recruits blacksmith Ossie Davis and inventor Clint Walker to help him pull off this….backwards heist.
Sam Whiskey is an amiable, light comedic romp. If you’re hoping to see a tense, action-filled shoot-em up then you’ll be disappointed. This is more of a breezy yarn that’s moseys along powered more by the charismatic cast than anything else.
For such a bizarre caper, there’s really not a lot of complicated planning or execution of it – or at least the amount that I was hoping to see. It’s pretty straight forward with the retrieval of the sunken gold, Reynolds masquerading as a government inspector and the trio silently trying to get the bars back into the vault behind the backs of guards.
This is early mustache-less Burt and his usual charm is present. You can see his trademark easy-going persona that will be featured in his more popular films years later.
Davis and Walker are both likable and they are enjoyable to watch. They play against type, with Walker being a bit of the nerdy inventor and Davis being more of the silent tough guy out of the trio. The three of them make a fun group and you enjoy hanging out with them. Once the heist starts to unfold the three have less to do with each other and the sparks that kept things entertaining for the first half of the movie kind of seeps away.
There’s a bunch of bandits who are following our heroes and are planning to rob them. They’re meant to provide an additional threat and be another obstacle for them to overcome, but those scenes don’t inject much worthwhile danger or raise the stakes. They’re pretty forgettable scenes and Burt and the guys survive them without much work. They could have really just dropped all that stuff and it would not have affected anything.
William Schallert is the man in charge of the bank. I’ll tell you, this guy pops up in a crazy amount of roles!
For such a routine role Dickinson has a bit of fun with it, playing a bit more ditzy than I had expected and her sexy persona is played just as much for laughs. She looks fantastic and also comes very close to doing a nude scene – for fans who are looking for that. (Ok, I’ll admit I wouldn’t have complained).
Apparently she did film a nude scene for the movie, but it was cropped out to avoid an R rating, which was newly implemented by the MPAA at the time of its release.
I can’t say I have any desire to watch Sam Whiskey again. It’s not a mandatory movie I’d say you should see, but if you’re looking for some light entertainment with no stakes and just want to watch some charismatic actors in a disposable flick, then it works. Too bad it’s not any more than that.