Red Zone Cuba (1966) (part 8 of 9)
Eventually, it’s night, and the hobos are still driving. Since the lighting here is so dim that I can barely see their decrepit faces, this is without a doubt the sweetest moment in the whole movie. Then it’s daytime again and we’re looking at a train coming down the tracks. The three hobos decide to ditch the convertible, so they park and walk over to the train.
They hear a whistle blow, and Cook helpfully yells, “Hey, Griffin, the train’s movin’ out!” Hey, is that what a whistle means? We see the three of them run alongside the train as Griffin yells at them to grab on. They proceed to hang onto the side of the train for a while until Griffin tells them to climb up on top.
Next, we find the three of them walking on “top” of the moving train. Curiously, the camera only shoots them from the waist up here. I wonder why. Then we see the three of them climbing out of a stationary box car. This means, I guess, that we’ve just seen the incident that the Gazette Guy was interviewing John Carradine about in this movie’s “teaser”. Hey, if an event like this isn’t worth a write-up in the local newspaper, then I don’t know what is.
I’m not really sure where they’re supposed to be now, but the Three Hobos of Orient Are walk over to a big pipe, and Cook says they need transportation. Griffin, for no reason I can possibly fathom, has suddenly turned over a new leaf and decided that they’re going to “go legit!” In fact, he’s decided they will become too legit to quit. He says, “I don’t want any more bulls [?] chasin’ me!” No idea what that means.
We get an abrupt close-up of the ring on Landis’ hand, and Griffin demands that Landis hand it over. Landis refuses, saying, “My dad gave it to me!” What is this, the watch from Pulp Fiction? Griffin replies, “I don’t care if Moses gave it to you! [!!] Give me the ring!” Well, as a matter of fact, Mr. Smartypants, his father is Moses. So what do you have to say for yourself now? Hmm?
Landis continues to resist, so Griffin takes off his belt [!] and starts whipping Landis [!!]. Yes, this is the kind of behavior that’s considered “going legit” in Griffin’s world. Landis runs up a rockpile to try to get away, but Griffin grabs him and the two tussle. Hilariously, as they fight, we get a close-up of Cook and he’s got a really huge smile on his face [??]. I guess he’s got money riding on this fight or something.
Landis grabs the belt away, but Griffin continues to pound him in the stomach and face. Once Landis is subdued, Griffin pulls the ring off his hand. Hilariously, Griffin and Landis then return to their normal, nonchalant selves as they calmly climb down the rockpile. I know Griffin just beat the crap out of Landis, but we should all just let bygones be bygones, am I right?
We then cut to a place called All-American Auto Wrecking. A guy in another beat-up pickup truck (I mean, what else do you drive when you run an auto wrecking place?) pulls up, then helps a little girl out of the passenger seat. He hands her a paper bag and says, “Candy, take these groceries into the house!” Yes, Candy, run! Get out of this movie while you still can!
To some oddly suspenseful music, we watch the guy walk over and start working on an engine. Just then, the Three Hobos appear and Griffin asks, “Got somethin’ cheap?” He holds up Landis’ ring and the junkyard owner is suddenly a certified jewel appraiser as he remarks it’s “worth a few bucks.”
Cut to the car that the junkyard owner sells them, where we see an odd bit of business where Cook pulls a jacket out of the back seat [?] and Griffin snatches it away from him. Okay, whatever. The Three Hobos pile into the car while the junkyard owner continues to obsessively stare at Landis’ ring. Yeah, take care, Frodo. Griffin gets in the car, and in a nice, hilarious jump cut, the car suddenly moves backwards three inches before it starts up and they take off.
Eventually, the car drives over to a ranch while some supermarket-style Muzak plays in the background. There’s a house on the ranch, and in the window, we see a woman dressed in all black watching them approach. She walks out to meet them, revealing she’s got one of those early 60’s hairdos where her hair is shellacked against her face. Griffin walks up and says, “Ruby Chastain?” That’s right, it’s Chastain’s widow, and they’re now at the legendary tungsten ranch he told them about earlier.
Griffin says they knew her husband and Landis says, “We was with him in Cuba!” So she happily invites them inside. The next thing we know, we’re watching through the window as Ruby serves them dinner, and they all chow down. I guess invading Cuba and escaping from a POW camp can sure work up the appetite.
Ruby sits down with them, but doesn’t eat, and just stares out the window looking despondent. “I didn’t want him to go!” she cries. “But Bailey’s… well, he had ideas!” And in this movie, those are in short supply. She comments how “headstrong” he was, and as you would expect, accompanying this line is a close-up of Cook obliviously stuffing his face.
Griffin comments that he can’t believe Bailey Chastain left a “pretty girl like you” to fight in Cuba, but she says, “His grandparents meant a lot to him!” And he wanted to do something to pay them back for helping him through college, namely, overthrowing Castro. Maybe next time he should just send them an FTD floral bouquet. She says that Bailey wanted her to move into town while he was gone, but she insisted on staying at the ranch. “This is my home!” she says, but then she admits to getting “lonely”.
Then we cut to a close-up of Landis as Cook says, “Well, uh, no use letting that stuff in the hills go to waste!” Or the stuff on his plate either, apparently. Jesus, at the rate this guy is going he might eat his way through all the tungsten, too. Ruby says they still owe some money on the ranch, but adds, “I’d be willing to divide with you!” This finally gets Cook to stop stuffing his face. I kid you not, he actually freezes with the fork still inside his wide-open mouth [!].
Griffin asks where the tungsten mine is, and Ruby tells him, but she quickly returns to that digressing thing she does so well. “Maybe he won’t come back,” she says. “I never knew I would miss him so!” Griffin blandly says he wanted to “bring Bailey home. He couldn’t make it.” Uh, yeah, like he asked to take a rain check on it or something. You assholes totally deserted him and left him to die. Anyway, with that tender sentiment expressed, Griffin goes back to stuffing his face.
She says that if there’s anything valuable in that mine, they’ll find it. She then says that they’ll have to take along food, water, and a couple of shovels. When Landis asks if there’s anything else they might need, Ruby says, “There’s a Geiger Counter here someplace!” I have no clue what that would be for. They decide to worry about that in the morning, so Ruby gets some quilts and it looks like all the hobos will be sleeping out in the barn tonight.
It’s the next day, oh wait, I guess it’s “the middle of the night”. But don’t let all that sunlight fool you. Anyway, all Three Hobos are sleeping on patio chairs. Hilariously, Griffin has one all to himself, but Cook and Landis are sharing [!] one. Griffin wakes up and walks outside, where he lights up a cigarette and decides to stroll around the house, looking through all the windows. Finally, he looks right into Ruby’s bedroom. Yes, that’s right, he’s repaying her kindness by becoming a chain-smoking Peeping Tom and spying on her in bed. She starts to wake up, so Griffin quickly walks away. And on that cliffhanger, we fade out.