Night Flight Remembers Leonard Nimoy

By on February 27, 2015

Night Flight joins the mourning chorus of netizen voices today remembering the versatile actor Leonard Nimoy, who died, age 83, after, it has to be said, he lived long and prospered. He is, of course, best known to multiple generations of Trekkies for his role as as the pointy-eared Spock on TV’s celebrated sixties space opera Star Trek.

Shortly after the end of that series, Nimoy made many attempts to expand his horizons and fill out his lengthy filmography by taking on sometimes small but memorable roles like that of the malevolent mercenary named Orville Miller in the 1971 MGM comedy-western Catlow, where he plays a sharpshooter who can “kill a man at a thousand yards.”

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Based on a 1963 novel by the prolific Louis L’Amour, and directed by Sam Wanamaker — whose own impressive credentials during a long and storied career includes both founding and rebuilding the Globe Theater in London, and being awarded an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire the year he died, in 1993 — Catlow is sad-to-say mostly forgotten except to its legion of fans who think this oft-crude revisionist relic is ripe for rediscovery. Nimoy himself thought it worthy of mention in both of his autobiographies, however, referring to his experience working on the film as “one of the happiest of his life.”

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Catlow was lensed primarily in Almeria, Spain, where so many of those so-called spaghetti and paella-westerns were shot during the sixties and seventies, and we have to say, Nimoy looks both tan and fit, sporting a dark neatly-trimmed beard, and he even appears in the buff taking a bath in a memorable and somewhat cringeworthy scene. Unfortunately, the narrative tone of the trailer gives the viewer the impression this is a somewhat stark actioner, packed with lots of shootouts and angry Seri Indians, but all-in-all it’s actually a rather light-hearted raw-hewned and occasionally ribald western romp that won’t likely be showing up in too may of Nimoy’s in memoriams, but we at Night Flight thought it should be considered worthy of a few moments of your time.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.