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Jack Crabb is 121 years old as the film begins. A collector of oral histories asks him about his past. He recounts being captured and raised by indians, becoming a gunslinger, marrying an indian, watching her killed by General George Armstrong Custer, and becoming a scout for him at Little Big Horn. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Paul Scofield was considered for the role of Old Lodge Skins. Curiously, it was not until shortly before filming began that director Arthur Penn thought about using an actual Native American for this role - even though an important point made in Thomas Berger's original novel was that Caucasian actors are hardly ever convincing in such parts. See more »
When Jack Crabb is shown drunk during a heavy rainstorm shots alternate back and forth from being on an overcast day to being ones in bright sunshine. See more »
I am, beyond a doubt, the last of the old-timers. My name is Jack Crabb. And I am the sole white survivor of the Battle of Little Big Horn, uh, uh, popularly known as Custer's Last Stand.
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This will always be one of my favorite movies. I love long, episodic plots such as this. The character of Jack Crabb has such dimension and so grows from one incarnation to another, that he is worth watching from beginning to end. This was Dustin Hoffman in his pre-pretentious "I'm such a big star I won't listen to anyone" period and he is an absolute joy because he just plays the character as it should be played. I love that he can be cowardly one moment, confused the next, heroic the next. He goes through phases in his life. Of course, the neatest part of the whole movie is the portrayal of the Indians. They are multi-dimensional and wonderful in their acceptance and joy with their world. Maybe everyone should see this movie to see how these "human beings" have been driven from what they were to what they are now. I have a top ten list of movie moments and on it is the scene where old Lodge Skins goes off to die because it "is a good day." As he lies there a drop of rain hits him in the eye and he decides that "sometimes the magic doesn't work."
The death of Sunshine is also so sad. I visited the Custer Battlefields a few years after seeing the movie, and while the place is interesting historically, I just couldn't look at it in the same way. The narration of the ancient Jack to the overmatched reporter is a delight. I know that this is a novel, not pure history, but Thomas Berger must have known these people and this delicate, beautiful movie is certainly his legacy.
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