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Glen Campbell and Joe Nameth, both in their career primes, give surprisingly creditable acting performances about two Marines just back from the Viet-Nam War finding their places back in society. The theme of this film is somewhat out-dated, yet with the current war in Iraq raging on, maybe it's not as out-dated as I think. Campbell is Norwood and has the major role, while Joe Nameth has more like a guest staring part. Campbell embarks on a road trip and meets a host of different people. Trish Sterling looks beautiful, but is really wasted here. Coogan's Bluff still rates as her best on-screen role. I saw this film as a young teenager at the Cinema Theater on Miami Beach. I remember liking it a lot and sort of wondering if I would one day be living this type of experience myself. With the draft and the war, this film was very realistic for the times, now not so much. Yet, it's an enjoyable film on the same take as Bus Riley's Back in Town.
Having previously done True Grit, star Glen Campbell had something of a reunion with some of that movie's people: screenwriter Marguerite Roberts with her once again adapting from Charles Portis' novel, producer Hal Wallis, and co-star Kim Darby. Since neither of them have John Wayne around this time, Ms. Darby acquits herself quite nicely as the romantic lead while Campbell at least sings some good songs and puts more of his personality around to make up for his lacking acting skills. Making his debut here is Joe Namath-a hot football star at the time-who also uses his persona to mask his lesser thespian talents. Much of the supporting cast, like Tisha Sterling, Meredith MacRae, Leigh French, Pat Hingle, and Billy Curtis provide welcome turns. Dom DeLuise is especially hilarious as Glen's brother-in-law. Only real irritating presence was Carol Lynley as Laverne...actually, Yvonne-a real stick-in-the-mud complainer and I really hated it when she mentioned New Orleans, which is a two-hour drive from where I live, as her home. In summary, Norwood is an amiable pleaser of a comedy. Directed by Jack Haley Jr. whose father Jack Haley Sr. has a nice cameo. P.S. Sorry to hear of Mr. Campbell's recent revelation of Alzheimer's. Hope he doesn't suffer too much from it.
All the makings of a decent movie, at the time the world's most popular athlete and the world's most popular singer come together in a so-so movie. Namath's acting made Glen's Oscar caliber! I love Glen Campbell and that had a lot to do with the 8 rating I gave it. If Glen wasn't in it, I'd have given it a 3. If you can find the soundtrack, get it instead! Dom Delouise is in this movie if that helps your judgement and Kim Darby plays a weaker, pregnant Madie Ross(True Grit). Watch it anyway!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A romantic comedy tailored for Glen Campbell and Kim Darby, at the time popular co-stars of TRUE GRIT. Darby is the better actor of the two, but gets the worst lines and her character is unbelievable; Campbell is barely adequate in an undemanding role of a would be country and western singer who criss crosses the country chasing $70 that Joe Namath owes him. Namath's film debut is forgettable and negligible. In fact, the whole movie drips away from the memory as it plays out. A few good moments, with fun cameos appearances by Pat Hingle and a deliciously foul mouthed Carol Lynley. Meredith McRae provides the appropriate attitude of bubbly fun that seems lost on the other players, and director Jack Haley Jr. just lets the movie putter out. Jack Haley Sr. appears in a few scenes in his final movie role. A few decent pop tunes were written by Mac Davis. Campbell stopped making movies after this, thank goodness.
Some of the people from in front of and behind the camera of True Grit
bring us this easy going country story starring Glen Campbell and Kim
Darby. It's not quite in the same caliber as True Grit however.
Glen Campbell is returning from Vietnam to his home in the metropolis of Ralph, Texas which is a stone's throw from the Arkansas border. He goes his separate ways from Joe Namath a fellow Marine and returns home to his sister Leigh French and drip of a brother-in-law Dom DeLuise. Glen is never without his guitar and never turns down a song request. However he'd like to make a living at it and hopes to get a big break on the Louisiana Hayride country radio show, a rival of sorts to the Grand Ole Opry.
After that it's an episodic adventure with him delivering a stolen car from conman Pat Hingle to New York, of course Glen doesn't find out it's stolen until he's on the road. During the course of the film he gets involved with would be actress Carol Lynley, hippie chick Tisha Sterling, and eager young bride Kim Darby. Guess whom he winds up with.
Glen's singing of several country/western ballads makes the film easy to take and glosses over a lot of his lack of acting ability. Had he come along thirty years earlier Campbell might have been a good singing cowboy star, but those days have passed. No real plot in Norwood just a series of incidents on his journey to New York and back.
Whatever else it is Norwood is not True Grit, but Glen Campbell fans might like it.
Glen Campbell once said that he was so bad as an actor that he made
John Wayne's performance in True Grit seem Oscar worthy (Wayne's only
Best Actor award). In Norwood, Glen Campbell does not have any real
talent around him to overcome his weaknesses. Lets face it, the chicken
that is carried around provided the most credible performance in the
While there is some talent in the movie, none if it surfaces. Some reviewers suggest that simply buying the Norwood soundtrack would be better for those who like Glen Campbell's music. I would point out that there may be a reason that the Norwood soundtrack tanked on the charts while almost all of Campbell's records were selling at the time. There may be a reason. (If you do want the Norwood soundtrack, try to find the "I'll Paint You A Song" album, which has the Norwood soundtrack as well as the Theme from True Grit).
So, why 8 stars? First, Glen Campbell gets 8 stars as a starting point because he was a true icon at the time. Second, the movie is really so bad that it becomes good. The jokes fall flat, but the serious parts are hilarious. It is worth watching when you just want some mindless humor and mind-numbing music.
Hillbilly comedy casts Glen Campbell as Norwood, a U.S. Marine returned home from service, who finds life changed--and not for the better--in his Texas hometown. He has his sights on playing guitar and singing country music for a program called the Louisiana Hayride, and travels cross-country to New York City for an audition (this section of the movie, with Norwood in a cowboy hat walking the big city streets, feels like a G-rated version of "Midnight Cowboy"). The details in this scrubbed-clean scenario aren't rich and the characters Norwood meets on his journey aren't vividly drawn. Feature film debut for director Jack Haley, Jr. has warmth and a big heart, but no substance. Campbell keeps his face slack (like a rube) and his manners polite, and he's appealing if fidgety. Producer Hal B. Wallis reunites Campbell with his "True Grit" co-star Kim Darby, and the two have a warm rapport (especially in the scene at the food counter). Football star Joe Namath makes his acting debut as a soldier, Billy Curtis is fun as a little person who becomes Norwood's traveling companion, and there's also a college-educated chicken (don't ask). Adapted from a novel by Charles Portis (the author of "True Grit") from "Grit"'s screenwriter, Marguerite Roberts; however, there's nothing gritty about this yokel fantasy, which is completely out-of-touch with reality and presented only as escapist fare. ** from ****
The only reason I'm aware of Norwood is that I graduated high school in NC in 1970. Our senior class was traditionally treated to a movie on a school morning in the week of commencement. The newfangled Park Theater (long since closed) on the east side of Burlington (now a Hispanic colony) was showing Norwood by night, so that's what we sat and watched. I appreciate the few details other posters made about the Vietnam war and Kim Darby's unwed motherhood. The movie almost sounds interesting, but it wasn't. Glen Campbell was a good musician but a joke as an actor. Broadway Joe looked great, of course, but aside from an occasional cameo on the Love Boat . . . Well, he was an even better quarterback than Campbell was a guitarist. Where'd Kim Darby go? She might have been Molly Ringwald's mother.
I just wrote a long, long review of Sam Peckinpah's The Getaway and I
have just about ten lines of blathering left in me, so here goes! I saw
Norwood over thirty years ago on ABC and I still have a fond memory of
it. I barely remember the plot, but I do know I thought the story of a
just-back-from-Vietnam soldier (Glen Campbell) on some sort of road
trip was a pleasant use of my time.
The film has an interesting cast including Kim Darby, Joe Namath, and Tisha Sterling. There is a moment where Campbell says the "S" word and Darby scolds him for his bad language (ABC bleeped out the word, but you could tell exactly what he said).
I won't fool you--this is all I remember, but I intend to add it to my mail-order movie rental queue--not super high on priority, but above The Notebook!
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