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The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin

The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin is a 1967 American Western comedy film directed by James Neilson and starring Roddy McDowall, Suzanne Pleshette and Karl Malden. The film is based on the novel By the Great Horn Spoon! by Sid Fleischman. The songs were written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman and the theme song was written by Mel Leven and George Bruns.

The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin
The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin.jpg
Directed byJames Neilson
Screenplay byLowell S. Hawley
Based onBy the Great Horn Spoon!
by Sid Fleischman
StarringRoddy McDowall
Suzanne Pleshette
Karl Malden
Music byRichard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman
Mel Leven and George Bruns (songs)
George Bruns (score)
CinematographyEdward Colman
Edited byMarsh Hendry
Distributed byBuena Vista Distribution
Release date
  • March 8, 1967 (1967-03-08) (United States)
Running time
108 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,900,000 (US/ Canada)[1]


In 1848, after Arabella Flagg is orphaned in Boston, her young brother Jack and the family's former butler Eric "Bullwhip" Griffin stow away aboard a ship bound for San Francisco, where the gold rush has begun. Griffin gets work as the ship's cook.

A swindler and thief, Judge Higgins, steals a map to a gold mine belonging to Quentin Bartlett, an actor who is among the ship's passengers. Griffin, Jack and Bartlett all pursue the crooked judge while Arabella arrives in town and takes a job as a dancehall girl to make ends meet.

Griffin encounters a beefy bully, Mountain Ox, and lashes out a punch that flattens him. "Bullwhip" becomes his new nickname. Inspired by the incident, Griffin enters a prizefighting match and wins the money. He also wins Arabella's affection, while Judge Higgins, caught trying to steal the fight's receipts, quivers behind bars as a lynch mob for him forms outside.



Howard Thompson of The New York Times graded the film as "Okay, no more," adding that "as a Western spoof, the picture is slow, overdrawn and tame to the point of gentility. Surely young Disney fans wouldn't have cringed at some slambang, Gold Rush vigor, plus a little 'Ruggles of Red Gap' flavoring."[2] Arthur D. Murphy of Variety called the film "a lively, entertaining comedy spoof of the California Gold Rush era. Zesty direction, wild performances, firstrate production values and broad comedy angles make this Walt Disney production particularly strong for all age audiences."[3] Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Everyone turns in winning performances, but they don't get much help from Lowell S. Hawley's routine script, which too often emphasizes dialog at the expense of action, or from James Neilson's equally pedestrian direction."[4] The Monthly Film Bulletin stated, "A pity that some scenes are played for more than they are worth, but there's enough liveliness here to keep all but the most sophisticated youngsters happy."[5]

The film currently holds a score of 43% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 7 reviews.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1967", Variety, 3 January 1968 p 25. Please note these figures refer to rentals accruing to the distributors.
  2. ^ Thompson, Howard (March 9, 1967). "Bullwhip Griffin". The New York Times. 43.
  3. ^ Murphy, Arthur D. (March 1, 1967). "Film Reviews: The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin". Variety. p 6, 13.
  4. ^ Thomas, Kevin (March 17, 1967). "'Bullwhip Griffin' in Multiple Engagement". Los Angeles Times. Part IV, p. 14.
  5. ^ "The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 35 (408): 7. January 1968.
  6. ^ "The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 15, 2019.

External linksEdit