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|Index||17 reviews in total|
About twice a year they'd pack us into the gym on folding chairs and
a movie. The only one that stuck in my mind was "80 Steps to Jonah."
kid loved it, and universally declared it to be the best movie we'd ever
Was it really that good? Who knows? I've not seen it since then. But if you're looking for something to watch with kids in the middle-school age range, this one's a good bet.
In Nevada, chubby singer Wayne Newton (as Mark Jonah Winters) is
arrested for manslaughter, following a car accident. Considering the
opening crash, Mr. Newton is amazingly agile. He escapes from the
police and takes refuge at a home for blind children, obtaining the
place of an anticipated handyman (who never appears). Blind camp
counselor and budding sculptress Diana Ewing (as Tracy) is attracted to
Newton and sculpts his bust. The young blind children become attached
to Newton. They plant a garden, sing songs and trot together. There is
also a dog, who is put under a doghouse when the cameras are turned
Meanwhile, investigators search the area...
Presently known for his Las Vegas appearances, Newton has been a successful entertainer for 50 years. Considering this film, you'd be hard-pressed to explain his long-lasting appeal. A TV and recording star prompted to "youth" but always more popular with their parents, Newton is most unconvincing. Possibly, this would have looked better on television...
Apparently, the effort was to fashion Newton as a feature film star. Otherwise, it's difficult to explain why Gerd Oswald and the filmmakers didn't simply offer Sal Mineo the leading role. Billed as a "special guest star," Mr. Mineo drives the 1969 Charger in the opening. Mineo's main scene is later, in a flashback. As usual, he's excellent. The other "special guest star" is Mickey Rooney. Also appearing later (in one scene, with Mineo), Mr. Rooney can overplay at times and does so here as a wildly drunk driver...
The kids are alright. The stand-out role is given to Erin Moran (as Kim), who makes an memorable impression. Previously a regular on the adventure series "Daktari!", she will go on to greater TV glory on the nostalgic "Happy Days" series. There isn't much for the other children to do, although young veteran Butch Patrick (as Brian) has a good scene pretending to be blind; he's the kids' sighted helper. Newton is given an accomplished supporting cast, with Jo Van Fleet (as Nonna) getting the most screen time. The cast is probably the best reason to take "80 Steps to Jonah", today.
*** 80 Steps to Jonah (11/17/69) Gerd Oswald ~ Wayne Newton, Diana Ewing, Jo Van Fleet, Erin Moran
I uploaded my full recording of 80 Steps To Jonah at google video...
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3888172006497514701 Shows up in flash player at that link but if you click the download link you'll get a much clearer mp4 version (330MB)
I put it on my computer from an old VHS tape recording when I saw it years ago on TV. Then I converted it to wmv and mp4 formats for viewing.
Also have some musical scene clips from the movie up at you tube. Includes the scenes where Wayne Newton & kids sing With A Little Seed And Some Love. Also Wayne Newton playing guitar and singing If I Could Be To You What You Are To Me. And scene where Wayne's music is 'Night Rushes In'
I feel that there was excellent casting in this picture. Wayne Newton handled the lead quite well - he played it with heart, but resisted the temptation to make it overly sentimental. Not afraid of being upstaged by animals or children, he worked well with them to tell us a beautiful story. Brought to the foreground was how independent people with disabilities can really be. The music, too, was a definite plus!
I saw this on Cable years and years ago, and I think of it so often. It's like losing a good friend by moving away. I hate that I can't play it any time I want. I think I will write to the cable companies and find out how to request that it play. Every other movie plays over and over. This one should too. I take offense to the writer who said this was a bad Elvis-type movie. Wayne Newton was young then, and probably hadn't even been compared to Elvis at that time. This is a cute little family movie that makes you feel like there may be a little good in the world after all. Nowadays, you don't get too much of that. I sure hope I am able to get a copy of this movie. I would love to sit and watch it with my Grandson. Thank you for your time.
I haven't seen this movie in years but have always held onto the great feelings it gave me watching it. It's a wonderful, heartwarming film that I have told many people about over the years. My sister and I were talking about it just the other day too. I wasn't sure if she remembered it and when we started talking about it, it occurred to me that I could try and find it on line. I have wondered often how I could find it to purchase as well, if anyone knows, please let me know. thank you if you haven't seen this movie....do! and enjoy!
I saw this movie in the early 70s and have never forgotten it. It's a touching story with both serious and funny characters. Wayne Newton is great in his role as Mark Jonah Winters. The music throughout adds a lot to the story. The movie is entertaining and also teaches lessons in loyalty and justice. I highly recommend this movie!
Singer Elvis Presley made some real bad movies during the period of his life when he was appearing in movies, but those bad movies come across as great when compared to "80 Steps to Jonah", a failed attempt to make singer Wayne Newton a movie star. In fact, this movie often comes across as if it were a (bad) parody of a Presley movie. Though Newton did manage to show some acting chops years later with various small parts in movies, in his big screen debut he comes across as extremely underwhelming, with no flair or color to his performance. However, he isn't really to blame for the movie's failure. The script is pretty awful, extremely padded out and is filled with various clichés and plot turns you have seen many times before in other movies and television shows. And the songs are so sugary sweet that you'll be washing out your mouth with a strong drink. It's no wonder that its distributor, Warner Brothers, has pretty much buried this movie.
I recently ran across a letter that I sent to my mom on 11MAY70 from Da Nang, Viet Nam. 80 Steps must of made some kind of impression for this young Marine to write home about altho 32 years later I have no recall about the movie. I wrote "that it was a real family type film and a tear jerker, but a lot of guys really liked it" so now I need to go find a copy on video and see what impressed me so.
This movie really DID exist. For the longest time, I thought this movie was synthesized from my collective unconscious. I remember seeing this movie on some impossibly late program about 25 years ago and being genuinely moved by it. Unashamedly sentimental, yet not too saccharine treatment of a man on the lam who finds refuge at a summer camp for blind children. A surprisingly well-casted movie with a decent soundtrack that would definitely appeal to the "Grab-a-hanky" set. Not a movie I would go out of my way to see - except for the purpose of reminiscing about the first (and only) time I saw it - but, I would definitely watch it if it appeared on my television while channel-surfing.
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