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A disenchanted young Professor of Semantics at a California college learns of a distant relative's death in Missouri. He journeys cross-country to the funeral, then decides to spend the summer there and work as a laborer for a power-line company. In time, he meets a girl and falls in love but then faces an important decision as to which direction he wants his life to go. Written by
This is an unusual film for Michael Douglas, and kind of "lost". I wonder if it was ever even released? I rather doubt it's even available on video or DVD today: your only shot at seeing it is late at night on same cable station. Which is how I saw it, many years ago.
Adam is a late 20s college professor having a sort of early mid-life crisis when he decides to spontaneously attend a family funeral in the Midwest. Away from his intellectual/liberal environment and hedonistic lifestyle, he finds life in the small town surprisingly warm and embracing. In time, he has a working class job (light years from his cushy teaching job), friends (Joe Don Baker) and a cute girlfriend for whom he has the major hots, but who is "saving herself for marriage." Adam becomes, for this one summer anyhow, so immersed in this simple down-to-earth lifestyle that he decides to marry the girlfriend and buy a house.
At this point, the film takes a sharp detour...as if ashamed suddenly of the idea that simple hard work, good friends and a loving marriage might be exactly what spoiled pretentious Adam needed all along. So he abruptly decides to "chuck it all" when sent on a mission to buy vanilla ice cream for his fiancé's bridal shower...and skedaddles out of town in his sports car, presumably never to be seen again. (Or maybe to return to his unhappy life as a swinging college teacher.) No closure on the presumably broken-hearted fiancé, who had to be humiliated by his disappearance, or his confused and hurt friends.
For some reason this film has stuck in my mind all these years. I think because up until the final couple of minutes, it almost seems like a pre-Reagan paean to family values...which would have made "Adam" a real oddity in 1970. Some good supporting work from supporting actors. This film also foreshadows the 80s film, "Amber Waves of Grain" with Kurt Russell and Mare Winningham, about a spoiled actor who becomes a farm worker.
If you are up late at night and this comes on...watch it. Something different, and you get to see a very young Michael Douglas.
(BTW: No, the title makes no sense at all.)
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