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Author Topic: The Survivalists! (Robin Williams/Walter Matthau) Columbia Pictures, Optical Super 8
Osi Osgood
Film God

Posts: 10204
From: Mountian Home, ID.
Registered: Jul 2005

 - posted January 31, 2010 10:24 PM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've always loved the drole Walter Matthau, and I was surprised to find that this film was released as an optical sound feature. It is ... The Survivors!!

The film begins with that mid eighties Columbia Pictures logo, (I always liked that one)

After a peppy theme song, we go with Robin Williams, executive, as he goes into his office building, only to be fired by his boss's parrot!

In a daze, Robin then goes to a gas station owned by Sonny (Walter Matthau), inadvertantly allowing the gas he's pumping into his car to spill onto the ground, being lit by one of Sonny's ciggarettes.

They both go to the unemployment office (seperately). Sonny finds out that he can't get unemployment insurance because he is not an employee, he's the owner.

They both finally end up meeting at a diner, which ends up getting robbed (Jerry Reed, who palys an unemployed hitman). They foil the robbery, but Robin is hit. Whilenin the hospital, Robin is annoyed at a pundit on the TV saying that he and Sonny were idiots for trying to foil the robbery. Robin moons the TV, and then decides to do a rebuttal to the commentary.

Sonny arrives home only to see Robin doing the rebuttal and naming Sonny by name.

The killer ... also watches the program.

He goes to Sonny's house to kill Sonny, but Robin ends up at the house and luckily, they take the killer down. They take him to the police station and think that they're problems are over.

Robin's girlfriend leaves him, seeing Robin going off the deep end, as he has enrolled in a survivalist group out in the mountians.

The Killer ... is let out of jail.

He soon tracks down Sonny, who convinces him to not kill them if they'll promise top keep they're mouths shut. He agrees as long as Robin will agree to it. They track down Robin in the mountians and convince him to call the killer. Instead of ending the situation, Robin eggs it on, demanding that the killer come to the mountians for a showdown.

The killer packs his bags and soothes his wife, (whoi thinks that he's constantly gone because he's having an affair) ...

The killer soon arrives. Walter tries to convince Robin to handle it peacefully, but has to tie Robin to a chair. It doesn't work.They are soon blowing away everything but each other. The survivalist group hears of thier battle and soon decides to make it thier own. They come up with a plan together to get out of there and it at first works, but the survivalists are soon after them again.

They do survive when it turns out that the atache case which was supposed to carry the plans for taking over the world after it all goes to hell is actually full of stocks and bonds to mature in thirty years!

With the survivlaist chasing after the leader that betrayed them, our "hero's" are allowed to leave, but Robin has to get out of the car as he's having a mental breakdown, tearing off all but his boxers, (its the middle of winter). Sonny calms him down, telling him that it will all be alright and they walk back to the car together.


This film originally opened to terrible reviews, but this comedy was quite hard to classify, as it had two different styles of comedy involved, Walter's drool deadpan humor and Robin's off the wall. This has a lot of levels to it. Social commentary about the then recession, (and eeerily making the film not age at all, especially with the survivalists/neo nazi's of today). Walter trying to deal with a woman from India that he can hardly understand at the unemployment office and the hypocrisy of the survivalist leader who's just out to make a buck. Even the wild dash to arm yourselves seeing that the world is going to hell in a handbasket mentality ... all very modern. Heck, this film could have been released today!

Here's some great lines from the film ...

Confessing to his wife that he's a hitman]
Jack: So you see, I'm not out there committing adultery. I'm out there committing murder.
Betty: Oh, thank God!

Donald and Jack in a shoot-out to the death]
Donald: Jaaaack?
Jack: Yeah?
Donald: Time out, OK?
Jack: Time out?
Donald: Time out.
Jack: What do you mean, 'time out?'
Donald: You're not gonna believe this. I was in a hurry when I left the cabin this morning, and, well, silly me, I got the wrong bullets.

Donald: You shot my gun god damn it! You're not supposed to shoot a person's gun! Oh, now that pisses me off! You know how much one of these cost?

Donald Quinelle: What kind of man gives cigarettes to trees?

Sonny Paluso: You think Wes is God, don't you.
Donald Quinelle: No, not God, Just an ordinary man. Maybe a little ahead of his time, but just an ordinary man.
Sonny Paluso: Wes is an asshole.
Donald Quinelle: Blasphemy! Oh, you'll smoke a turd in hell for that!

Donald Quinelle: OK, Mr. Honky Mo-Fo... take your best shot!

Jack: I was raised a strict Southern Baptist. I place a high value on human life... $20,000 minimum.

Donald Quinelle: I'm sorry I'm gonna have to blow a large hole in your skivvy heart.

Donald: [dressed in a face-obscuring, hooded, fur-lined parka] I feel like a gynecologist for a grizzly bear.

Donald: Well, I was nervous.
Jack: What about me?
Donald: Oh, come off it, man. You're so cool, you piss ice cubes.
Jack: It's a hereditary thing in my family, y'know. Uhh, nerves, colitis, y'know.
Donald: Colitis? Y'know, that must be horrible being a professional killer with colitis.
Jack: Yeah, that's what...
Donald: They hear you coming, don't they?


I'd say the color on this specific print is a 9 out of 10, with a very slight fade. As with many optical features, some sections seem slightly more faded while other sections are literally spot on.


As with all these optical prints, being that they were printed from first generation (of the years release) negatives, and not dupes, the contrast, grain and such are spectacular.


This print is as sharp as any 16MM print that your likely to see, but thats the great aspect of the optical sound Super 8 features. They are always a delight to watch and are never a strain on your eyes to watch.


This has quite a sharp loud optical soundtrack. It seems that by the late 70's into the 80's, they perfected these optical soundtracks and while the best of them are slightly under a magnetic track in audio quality, this one certianly isn't far off.

This film fits nicely onto three very full 600ft reels. Films running time is approximately 104 minutes.

A nice comedy if you get the chance to find a copy, but I just ran into the first one I've ever seen, so it might be a while, but it is full of a great number of good laughs! Worth hunting down!


"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Stewart John Boyle
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 170
From: Glasgow,Scotland
Registered: Oct 2009

 - posted February 01, 2010 01:46 PM      Profile for Stewart John Boyle   Email Stewart John Boyle   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I love reading your reviews Osi.
Walter Matthau,is one of the all time greats,The Taking Of Pelham 123,fantastic..
Happy Memory`s [Smile]

I`ve, seen things you people wouldn`t believe,

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