Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Hollywood Suicide #3: Al Mulock
Al Mulock, probably the ugliest so far of our “Hollywood Suicides.” As a fixture in Spaghetti Westerns, he might seem an unlikely fit for the series. But Mulock rates as a Hollywood ghost by virtue of his brief appearance in John Huston’s Reflections in a Golden Eye, if nothing else. That ugly mug burned itself onto celluoid most famously, however, as the blabber-mouthed, one-armed bounty hunter in Il Buono, il brutto, il cattivo (The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly).
The clip above comes from Italian Youtube (if you haven't already figured that out). Translated, Tuco's (Eli Wallach) last words to the stiff run something like "When you're gonna shoot, shoot. Don't talk." Without that scene, and Mulock's final contribution to backlot lore, the Canadian-born bit player would no doubt be lost to oblivion by now.
Mickey Knox, screenwriter for Once Upon a Time in the West, witnessed Mulock’s 1968 suicide in Gidaux, Spain, during production of that film. From Knox’s book The Good, The Bad, & the Dolce Vita (Nation Books):
“The film had a large crew and our base was in Gidaux, a small, hot, dusty village that had minimal accomodations. Most of us were staying in a three-story building that passed as an 'accomodation.' We had returned from a location shoot, some distance from the village, and I happened to glance out the window to see what looked like a body shooting by⎯it was a body, and it belonged to an actor who appeared only in the opening sequence of the movie.
He was still wearing his western costume and Leone, upon hearing of the suicide, told the production manager, 'get the man’s costume before they take him away.' The actor hadn’t completed his role and they needed someone to fill in, but that would be no problem if they had the dead man’s costume. Anyone about the same height and shape would do.
Actually, the man was not quite dead, but Leone didn’t ask if he was still alive. He was only concerned for the next day’s shooting. What actually killed the actor was the ride in a production car over a bumpy road to a distant hospital. He should never have been moved. A broken rib pierced his lung during the drive. We later learned that the actor was a drug addict and couldn’t get a fix in Gidaux. Desperate, he went up to the roof and took a dive.”