Forgotten Films: Hannibal Brooks (1969)
After being nominated for Best Supporting Actor for the landmark BONNIE & CLYDE, Michael J. Pollard was poised as one of the stars for the next film generation. His pixie face and hesitant pose had already been seen on TV as Bob Denver’s beatnik cousin on THE MANY LOVES OF DOBIE GILLIS as well as an episode of STAR TREK. He was friends with Janis Joplin and part of the late 60’s cultural nexus. I even have a rare 1968 AMT “Michael J. Pollard Flower Power Car,” a model 1936 Ford decked out in paisley — I’d love to know how AMT put together that toy deal. Studios weren’t sure what to do with him, which explains how he ended up in HANNIBAL BROOKS, directed by Michael Winner a few years before he would strike career gold and ignominy with DEATH WISH (1974).
The story is ostensibly about soldiers Pollard and Oliver Reed transporting an elephant across war torn Europe. Here’s a mod, revealing promo for the film focusing on Pollard’s eccentricity. I used to see the soundtrack at Tower Records and was always tempted to buy it just for the cover and poster blurb ( “It’s an elephant story. It’s a super story…”). Plus, French cine-music maestro Francis Lai provided the very late 60’s score. I still haven’t seen this obscure film, but I will soon. I did meet Michael Pollard and told him about my Flower Power Car. He nodded and grinned that impish grin.