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Don Murray plays a down-and-out drunken "redskin" rodeo clown accused
of murder (wow) in this early 1970s noble-loner flick. The movie is
worth checking out if you're interested in either Don Murray or Rip
Torn. Both of them give performances that sometimes go over the top,
but there are fine, more subtle moments as well. Don Murray's drunken
Indian dance is quite strange. The film seems dated in many ways (akin
to the Billy Jack movies), but it's not bad.
Note: The film's credits list Christopher Knight of the Brady Bunch, and I had read somewhere else that he did this movie, but I didn't see him in it anywhere.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I can only describe this as a grindhouse character drama. No blood-n-guts, no sex, not much violence, only one car chase and that is accompanied by a flute solo. At first Greg was like, is this a TV show? But the tawdry, down-home texture of the thing screams Metro Cinema, and it gives off a faint margin of exploitation-film energy and grit. Former-alcoholic rodeo clown Don Murray moves in with his old friend Rip Torn to straighten out, only to be accused of murder and theft by locals who are prejudiced against his Native American pedigree. In the end he is proved innocent, his accusers are shamed, and he relieves Torn of his beat-up wife. The thing is though, I don't think Don Murray is really native. You certainly can't tell by looking. This really takes the edge off the racial commentary, like a "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" starring Steve McQueen in blackface. There's a little bit of feeling for the Southern wildman milieu, at least; the male performers seem to know why they're there even if we don't.
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