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Harry Collings returns home to his farm after drifting with his friend, Arch. His wife, who had given up on him, reluctantly allows him to stay, and soon believes that all will be well again. But then Harry has to make a difficult decision regarding his loyalties and priorities. Written by
Steve Harkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
After the success of Easy Rider (1969), Universal Pictures hit upon the idea of letting young filmmakers make "semi-independent" films for low budgets in hopes of generating similar profits. The idea was to make five movies for low budgets ($1 million or less), not interfere in the filmmaking process and give the directors final cut. The other movies were: The Last Movie (1971), Taking Off (1971), Silent Running (1972), American Graffiti (1973). See more »
I had forgotten about renting "Hired Hand" until I saw the DVD in my mailbox. Looking at the printing on the disk, I shook my head, thinking the movie had to have been a mistake. But the whole film simply embraced my senses and I didn't want them to let go, even as the film ended.
Visually, it was no typical Western, Spaghetti or traditional. In fact, this isn't the kind of movie to watch if you're into the drama of the shoot-out or chase. Emotionally, it captured nuances and a sensitivity that the likes of masters John Ford and Sergio Leone steered clear of. Please, watch this film in its completely, and then play it with the commentary of director Peter Fonda. He adds some interesting information, including that the voice of Larry Hagman was even used for just a moment at one point in the film.
The characters gallop far from the typical. The movie simply looks western, but doesn't feel western. Nor do the sounds, as the music was beautifully atmospheric. This film should have been included for submission to the Academy Awards. The cinematography might make some feel somewhat put off by the layers of fades and dissolves, but relax and let yourself become absorbed by the acting, writing and production.
Overall, this movie, while it has an incredible climax, lives through subtlety, which is captured by a director who seems to been a labor of love.
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