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An old man looks back 60 years to a road trip from rural Mississippi to Memphis, a horse race, and his own coming of age. Lucius's grandfather gets the first automobile in the area, a bright yellow Winton Flyer. While he's away, the plantation handyman, Boon Hogganbeck, conspires to borrow the car, taking Lucius with him. Stowed away is Ned, a mulatto and Lucius's putative cousin. The three head for Memphis, where Boon's sweetheart works in a whorehouse, where Ned trades the car for a racehorse, and where Lucius discovers the world of adults - from racism and vice to possibilities for honor and courage. Is there redemption for reivers, rascals, and rapscallions? Written by
When Boon, Ned and Lucius begin their trip to Memphis in the Winton the beginning of the scene is filmed in a traveling shot. As the journey proceeds we hear noticeably on the soundtrack the camera truck's motor in addition to the Winton's. See more »
And so we were three, three reivers high-tailing it for Memphis. Oh, "reivers". That's an old-fashioned word from my childhood. In plain English, I'm afraid it meant "thieves".
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I personally rank this film, based on William Faulkner's last novel, among my favorites. Not that I would rank it as a "great" film, but it's a lot of fun. It's true that McQueen may have been in fact older than his character was supposed to be, but his attitude and style seems to bring it off. Mitch Vogel, as the young boy Lucius, who is lured into stealing his grandfather's (Will Geer) new Winton Flyer automobile for a wild weekend in Memphis by Boone Hoggenbeck (McQueen) is completely believable as a kid who wants the adventure, but has to be drawn into it because he respects his grandfather so much. Rupert Crosse as McQueen's other reiver (thief) in this caper adds an extra comic relief as the one who gets them into a real fix in Memphis. Ordinarily I hate movies with running narration, but the narration in this by Burgess Meredith as the grown old Lucius, remembering his exciting weekend in Memphis, adds a real touch of poignancy to this tale of youth lost. Additionally, Sharon Farrell as McQueen's prostitute girlfriend, Clifton James as a vicious southern sheriff, and Juano Hernandez as a kindly old black farmer add real dimension to the film. Throw in a beautiful score by John Williams (his first film score) and you've got the makings of a warm, charming story, accurately drawn, from the turn of the century. The scene at the film's end, where the grandfather has a heart-to-heart talk with the boy, is wonderful, and very "authentic." The director, Mark Rydell, did a terrific job. I've seen this movie many times, and it never fails to entertain me.
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