27 April 2013 4:01 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Gene Hackman and Al Pacino are a winning combination in Jerry Schatzberg's blue-collar road movie from 1973

The 1973 Palme d'Or at Cannes was shared by two disparate, odd-couple road movies: Alan Bridges's The Hireling, in which chauffeur Robert Shaw drives rich widow Sarah Miles on visits to English cathedrals, and Jerry Schatzberg's Scarecrow, starring Gene Hackman (recently released violent convict) and Al Pacino (recently signed-off gentle merchant seaman) who meet in California and set out to hitchhike to Pittsburgh where they intend to open a car wash. Both films are largely forgotten now, but neither is without merit.

Scarecrow, an elliptical mixture of the tough (Pacino is raped on a prison farm) and the whimsical (the title tells us that scarecrows are successful because crows find them funny), is the best film in Schatzberg's small but interesting oeuvre. The magnificent cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond has dusty images of »

- Philip French

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