Bruce Campbell: Remembering Roland the Intrepid Explorer

Bruce Campbell is a throwback to a bygone era of glamor in Hollywood. So, it was a no brainer when he portrayed the debonair Roland the Intrepid Explorer in 2001’s The Majestic with Jim Carrey.

Bruce Campbell is an interesting actor in that you get the sense that he would have been very happy starring in movies in the 30’s and 40’s. A throwback to the golden age of Hollywood, it really isn’t a surprise that he is a classic film buff either.

George Clooney is forever being cited as the “new Clark Gable.” While I understand that, he can’t come close to Gable’s performance in It Happened One Night. Don’t get me wrong, he was delightful in O, Brother Where Art Thou? but he doesn’t have a “larger than life” persona.

Back in the days of black and white film, movie stars were just that, movie stars. Every moment was a photo-op and everyone showed up at film premieres and press junkets dressed to the nines. Those days are gone.

Why am I bringing all of this up? Because of The Majestic. A 2001 film that stars Jim Carrey as Peter Appleton, a blacklisted writer during the McCarthy era that has an accident and ends up in a small town without any memory of his true identity. Bruce Campbell’s presence is very pivotal to Carrey’s character.

Peter watches a movie that he wrote (unbeknownst to him) at the Majestic theater called Sand Pirates of the Sahara. All of a sudden, he starts recalling dialogue resulting in an “a-ha” moment where he remembers who he is. The black and white feature that he is viewing stars none other than Bruce in the role of Roland the Intrepid Explorer.

Very meta (a film within a film) this portion of Frank Darabont’s production could be likened to Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo in a sense. The idea of a movie within a movie affecting a main character.

Looking like the son of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr or Errol Flynn, Campbell complete with a Clark Gable mustache is the personification of a heroic silver screen type. He even has a catchphrase of sorts with “Taste my steel, you dog!”

Sand Pirates of the Sahara has all the hallmarks of those old damsel in distress movies like King Solomon’s Mines where the leading lady is about to be absconded by the evil co-star. Of course, the hero has to rescue her from the clutches of an unsavory end.

Bruce Campbell clearly relishes his role and plays it to the hilt. There is sword play, snappy banter and yes, a cinematic embrace and kiss that gives Rhett and Scarlett a run for their money in Gone with the Wind.

Roland is a delight to watch. Even if you aren’t familiar with the films that I have mentioned you can definitely get an Indiana Jones, Raiders of the Lost Ark vibe from Sand Pirates. So that you can see what I mean, here is the segment.

Related Story: Bruce Campbell: Dashing trivia about the swashbuckling Jack of All Trades

Obviously, his time on Jack of All Trades helped with the sword fight. Sand Pirates is a nice change of pace for the actor and a must see for his fans.

Have you seen The Majestic? Do you think Bruce Campbell makes the perfect hero? Feel free to share your comments in the section below. We want to hear from you.

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