STUNT MAN: The Autobiography of Yakima Canutt by Yakima with Oliver Drake Canutt

STUNT MAN: The Autobiography of Yakima Canutt

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

All our lives most of us have been watching Yakima Canutt in the movies and never known it. By general agreement, he's the greatest stunt man who ever fell from a horse or took a punch from Duke Wayne's stand-in. The World's Champion rodeo rider, c. World War I, Canutt was a natural for early cowboy silents, but he didn't begin to distinguish himself till Wayne's first cowboy flicks, doubling as villain and stand-in for Wayne--and often seen on the screen chasing himself as hero and baddie. One of his greatest stunts was in Stagecoach where, as an Indian, he leaped onto the back of the galloping coach team, was shot by Wayne, and fell under the horses with the coach passing over him--a completely unfaked ""gag."" In Gone with the Wind he was Rhett Butler driving Scarlett out of burning Atlanta, and later he was both Scarlett driving a team through Shantytown at night and the villain who leaps out and grabs her traces. Canutt is most famed for his second-unit work on the chariot race in Ben-Hur (described in greatest detail here), but he also devised the incredible jousting tournament in Ivanhoe, the battles of El Cid in Spain and of Chinese Gordon at Khartoum--not to mention bloody gladiatorial moments in Spartacus, the gorilla episodes of Mogambo, etc. A happy, crusty memoir for fans of special effects and spectacular expense.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1979
Publisher: Walker