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 ... See full summary »
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
Douglas stars as a big city California college professor who realizes his life is pretty unfulfilled. His cushy college job is pretty boring and he's tired of waking up Monday with what's her name Sunday. He's lived a very pampered life from rich parents as everything in his life came on a silver platter and he's taken far too many things for granted. While visiting his parents, he overhears his mother on the telephone ordering flowers to be sent to a recently deceased relative's funeral in a small Missouri town. It dawns on him to get away from it all, drive across the country and get to know his virtually unknown relatives.
As soon as he goes to the funeral he's touched even though the locals treat him like he just stepped off the mother ship. Feeling like he's finally home he gets a bush-clearing job and despite being over educated and underpaid his life is new again. At the funeral he meets a popular local girl (played by Lee Purcell) who immediately sets her sights on Douglas; she wants a husband and her parents are ready for a son-in-law. The two fall in love but he soon discovers someone else once again controls his life, this time by his soon to be in-laws all neatly packaged and planned. Even though he truly loves his girl he isn't sure if he's ready to settle down and be rooted in another town just yet.
If the movie were made today it would probably be made into a comedy with Ice Cube so I'm very happy that it was made during the time it was. The plot tackled important issues and it was meant to be a drama.
The movie includes a wonderful cast, including Michael Douglas and Lee Purcell of course. Other standouts include Joe Don Baker as Douglas' logger co-worker whose big dream is becoming a TV repairman or the meddling future in-laws played by Louise Latham and Charles Aidman.
Also check out the really good song "Elijah Rise Up" by Danny O'Keefe.
I was only able to find this title on VHS about 10 years ago as an out-of-print special order. It would be very nice having it on DVD, as it's a great collection to any fan of Michael Douglas, the 70's or just great acting. Interestingly in this movie Douglas plays a professor was released in 1970 and the other Douglas' movie "Summertree" in 1971 in which he played a college student, one year later.
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