Howdy all you Supercultists out there on the interwebz! I’m Bad Movie Professor Cameron Coker (BS in “Alan Rickman” with a minor in “Pulling off a Quigley”) and I’ll be posting my hype-tacular speeches every week along with some long lost speeches from past Supercult Shows!
This week Supercult practices a little cinematic necromancy by sacrificing 3 mustaches and an autographed photo of Alan Rickman in Galaxy Quest in order to bring you Quigley Down Under!
American Cowboy and expert sharpshooter Matthew Quigley is no stranger to the Wild West, but the west has never been as wild or as west as it is now! Now Quigley has taken a job in the Australian outback and is getting accustomed to the local wildlife, the local shady business practices, and of course, the local ladies! There’s a price on his head. A girl on his mind. And a twinkle in his eye. This is Quigley Down Under!
Released in 1990, Quigley Down Under is a Western in every sense of the word. It’s got the hats, the horses, the guns, and even the mustaches. The one thing it doesn’t have is the West, since it’s set primarily in Australia, but that’s sort of the point. Westerns were the most popular film genre in America from the early 20th century up into the 1960’s. The Westerns came in every flavor of sub-genre from Spaghetti Westerns, and Classical Westerns, to the obvious Fantasy, Horror, and Martial Arts Westerns, all the way to the bizarre Electric Westerns, Curry Westerns, Acid Westerns, and even Pornographic Westerns. However, by the 1990’s the flow of audiences into the theatres, and therefore the flow of Westerns out of studios, had slowed to a trickle. The closest thing the 90’s had to a true Western film was Back to the Future Part III, where Doc Brown spends an almost idiotic amount of time inventing steam powered refrigerators and time traveling, flying train engines.
So, when Australian director Simon Wincer, who would go on to direct cultural milestones like Free Willy, the Phantom, and Crocodile Dundee 3, took up the torch and decided to create a “Neo-Western”, it only made sense to take the tried and true formula and drip it in the Outback. The Outback has everything that you need in a Western: dangerous wildlife, lawless ruffians, potentially hostile native tribes, and plenty of rough and tumble wilderness to get lost in. The only problem is that that’s about all that the Outback, and the script, has to offer.
Quigley Down Under stars Tom Selleck as Quigley, Laura San Giacomo as Crazy Cora, an American girl with a Tragic past who’s gone just crazy enough to be annoying but not so crazy that Quigley can’t eventually fall in love with her, and Alan Rickman as the dubious employer Marston who has an incurable hatred of the Aborigines. All this means that Quigley Down Under has a respectable cast of mains who have enough chemistry, poise, and polish that they can rock their roles and make us actually care about 2 Americans and a Brit having an old fashioned shoot out in Australia.
The sharpshooting rifle used by Tom Selleck in the film is a modified replica of an 1874 Sharps Buffalo Rifle, a style of rifle that really was capable of nailing targets from over 1,000 yards. Three rifles were built for the film: one to shoot, one to use as a bludgeon in fight scenes, and a spare in case either of those first two broke from shoot or bludgeoning too hard. The rifles are such a integral props that Sharps Rifles are now so inseparably related to Quigley Down Under that they are commonly nicknamed “Quigley guns”. Sales of Sharps Rifles increased by over 1000% after the film’s release, especially in the US and Australia. The film even led snipers to refer to the act of killing two targets with a single bullet as ‘a Quigley’. Spoiler Alert.
However, a good cast can’t fix a bad movie, and let’s be very clear: Quigley Down Under is not a good film. The screenwriter John Hill is said to have begun writing in 1978, about 22 years prior to the movie’s debut. 1978 might’ve been a good time for an Australian Western about Magnum P.I. defending the Aborigines from Professor Snape, but in the 90’s we’ve gotta call it what it is. Quigley Down Under is one man’s dream to resurrect a dying genre. It’s a cinematic zombie, a film that ran out of original ideas two decades before it even came out. A zombie with Alan Rickman and some cool guns perhaps, but a diseased, rotting corpse, one sharp blow to the brain away from a happy ending nonetheless.
Quigley Down Under has an IMDB rating of 6.8 and a 56% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s a $18 million film that barely made it past $21 million in the box office! It’s an Australian Western with no Australians in it! It’s a quickly forgotten blip on a dying genre’s already flat EKG line! It’s a bad, bad, bad movie…but damn those are some awesome looking mustaches.
God created all men. Sam Colt made them equal. Then Supercult made fun of their movies!
The Supercult Show is proud to present Quigley Down Under!