In 1909, when young Paiute Indian Willie Boy returns to his California reservation to be with Lola, whose father disapproves of him, a killing in self defense takes place, triggering a massive man hunt for Willie.
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Based on true events, Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here, tells the story of one of the last Western manhunts, in 1909. Willie Boy, a Native American, kills his girlfriend's father in self defense, and the two go on the run, pursued by a search posse led by Sheriff Christopher Cooper. Written by
Jon Hertzberg <email@example.com>
Abraham Polonsky said to a USC film class at the time that he purposely shot and edited the manhunt sequences with characters moving in all directions across the screen, rather than in the usual way wherein both the runners and pursuers would move in the same direction across the shots (i.e. left to right) to enhance the impression of urgent suspense in a chase. Instead Polonsky was looking for a different feel for the audience, of the characters wandering, feeling their way through the landscape. He implied he was willing to sacrifice some suspense to externalize the characters' confusion. Polanski also said that for Katharine Ross' brief, artfully lit nude shot, he exposed the film correctly but then produced a high-contrast copy of the same film frames with deep blacks and transparent lights, then bi-packed both pieces of films together to rephotograph. The high contrast overlay ensured that the shadows on Katherine's body were black -- so that the image could not reveal more in the shadows than it was supposed to. See more »
Willie Boy's original clothing and Cooper's haircut are more 1960s that 1900s. See more »
Did you see that crazy Calvert go by?
Ate his dust.
When did you get back to Banning, Willie Boy?
Five o'clock freight.
Goin' to the fiesta?
Is that where you're goin', Tom?
Trailin' Mr. Calvert with a tow just in case he breaks down - or breaks his neck.
Well, I guess that's where I'm goin'.
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I consider Robert Blake's performance in this movie to be one of his best, and this comes from someone who has always thought he was a fine actor. Robert Redford, too, shines here as the sheriff, and almost all the supporting cast keeps up with the two male leads.
Blake's character is a Paiute Indian who is the object of a manhunt which is sensationalized by the press because of its concurrence with a visit by President Taft. The sheriff is pressured into hunting down the Indian and the girl he loves but whose father has forbidden the match.
It's a good solid early-1900s Western with much better-than-average acting. But it's not so much an action film as it is a character study -- of Blake's character and, to a lesser degree, Redford's. It brings to life the racism and exploitation that white Europeans brought with them to America.
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