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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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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Beautifully filmed, the movie creates the same edge-of-your-seat tension to see the outcome as the book by Harry Lawton, and, indeed, the real events must have engendered.
Too bad Hollywood once again played with the truth. While much of the film appears to fairly closely follow history, with a few excusable abbreviations, two crucial incidents and Redford's character are Hollywood inventions. They add to the drama and mystery of the sad story, but considering most people know only the history they see on film, it's a shame to see the truth corrupted.
Blake is outstanding. Redford is uncomfortable trying on the cowboy persona at that early stage. Ross is completely unbelievable as an Indian.
The movie captures the essence of this turn-of-the-last-century western environment transitioning from horse & buggy to automobile, from cowboy to urbanite, from the remaining blend of Indian autonomy side-by-side with encroaching white man encroachment and ultimate domination.
The fact that it took several posses of 75+ men on horse, with supplies, days and nights of tracking to catch up with one Indian on foot without more than a rifle, a few shells and only what food he could scrounge, speaks volumes for the Indian-vs-white fight for survival and the tactics used.
Quietly intense, the movie is dramatic, captivating, and over-ridingly sad at the unavoidable outcome of the decidedly unbalanced "battle."
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