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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This under-rated gem of an anti-Western deserved much better than it got. Abrahom Polonsky's return to film-making was swept under the carpet, as are so many heartfelt, thoughtful films (even in 1969). Robert Blake, with the exception of In Cold Blood and Electra Glide in Blue was never more determined or intense as Willie. Redford gives a subtle and layered performance. Katharine Ross is gorgeous but doesn't look like a Native American (her eyes are bluer than Paul Newman's).
An 8 out of 10. Best performance = Robert Blake with able support from Barry Sullivan, Susan Clark, and Charles McGraw. I'm sure this flick must have it's own cult following by now. If not, it should.
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