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|Index||12 reviews in total|
'Kid Blue' is a very odd movie. In many ways a very old fashioned western,
but with Dennis Hopper playing a long haired, pseudo-hippie character. It
doesn't know whether to be hip or square, and suffers for it. Still, like
most of Hopper's overlooked Seventies movies it's worth a
Hopper plays Bickford Waner aka Kid Blue, train robber. Tired of his lack of success at crime he relocates to a small town, gets a real job for the first time in his life, and attempts to fit in. He isn't very successful. In between being harassed by the cruel local sheriff, 'Mean John' Simpson (the legendary Ben Johnson), and one of his fellow boarding house occupant's, Drummer (Ralph Waite of 'Five Easy Pieces' and 'The Waltons'), he tries to find a way to live his life without resorting to his old ways. He befriends some local Indians, the eccentric Preacher Bob (Peter Boyle, 'Joe', 'Taxi Driver') who juggles Christianity with building a flying machine, and a local couple, Reese and Molly Ford (the God-like Warren Oates, and Lee Purcell).
The Fords have the most impact on his life, especially when the beautiful Molly makes a move on him, and the enigmatic Reese starts telling him about the "old timey Greeks" who weren't ashamed to say they loved each other, and then suggests they share a bath together. The scenes between these two screen legends, Hopper and Oates, are priceless and easily the high point of the movie. Sadly, this is the only movie they ever made together
Another added kick is seeing Oates and Johnson, who played the Gortch brothers in Peckinpah's classic 'The Wild Bunch', reunited in very different roles. Also in the supporting cast are fine character actors like Warren Finnerty and Clifton James, who both worked with Hopper and Ralph Waite in the wonderful prison drama 'Cool Hand Luke', and M. Emmet Walsh ('Blade Runner', 'Blood Simple',etc).
'Kid Blue' is NOT one of the great lost westerns, but it IS an eminently watchable curio that any Seventies film buff will be entertained by, especially if they admire the consistently good work of the late Warren Oates, or have any curiosity about Dennis Hopper's undervalued post-'Easy Rider', pre-'Apocalypse Now' movies, which also include such strong performances as 'Tracks' and Wim Wenders 'The American Friend'.
The "Kid" has always been a recurring character in western lore. Here he gets a whole movie to himself. Hopper is excellent as the train robber trying to settle down. An unpredictable storyline starts with a very funny robbery and never goes entirely where you'd expect. (Good stuff: 7/10)
The first half of this seemed kind of slow to me and a couple of times
I only watched about 10 minutes of it when it came on IFC, telling
myself I'd rather watch it all the way through from the beginning.
I was glad I did. Bickner (Hopper) is a godless, but sincere former outlaw trying to live a straight life under tough conditions and a mean sheriff in a small town where the factory turned out to be his only hope for work.
Though I thought it a bit slow at first, about halfway through, I found I was into it and the ending actually made me smile.
My favorite line is easily Hopper's when he tells Warren Oates, "A man's gotta kill his own snakes.", which I found to have meaning on multiple levels.
This very pointed satire on the end of the "old west" and the
concurrent growth of capitalism is set in Dime Box, Texas at the
beginning of the 20th century. Dime Box is a real town in central Texas
but here it is set on the Mexican border, where the new industry in
town is a factory manufacturing ashtrays with a Mexican flag and an
American flag stuck into them, symbolizing hands across the border
(when a buck is concerned.) One of the funny bits I remember is Dennis
Hopper asking what an ashtray is for, and he is told for putting
cigarette and cigar ashes in, and he replies that people smoke
outdoors, why do they need something to put the ashes in?
So he is something of an innocent, even though a former outlaw who has decided to go straight, move to town, and join the 20th century. He gets many lessons in capitalism, Native American spirituality vs Christianity, modern sexuality, and, since this was made in the early 70s, the attitude of law enforcement toward young, long-haired males. I haven't seen this in over 30 years but saw it several times in theater then and laughed every time.
It has such a great cast, particularly the males, Hopper, Boyle, Oates, Ben Johnson, all as adept at comedy as drama. Sure would like to see this get a DVD release!
There are a lot of Hopper films out there that too few people have seen, especially his lost decade of the 70s. Kid Blue is in the top 5 of my favorite Hopper films. 30 seconds into the movie I already laughed. I also melted many times that Hopper was on screen, his blue eyes and beautiful smile (yes I'm a tad obsessed). He was just so frickin cute in this film. His mannerisms and facial expressions show what a great actor he was (and wish he still was). But movie memories like from Kid Blue stay in my mind even during his bad movies of the year 2000s. Watch Kid Blue if you get lucky enough to find it on cable, I think you will like it.
This film really clicked with me. One of the first times I had seen Peter Boyle and Dennis Hopper. Really enjoyed it. I had just graduated from college. I got to see it in a sneak preview. I have looked for it ever since to see it again.
If you like Dennis Hopper, you like this kind of introspective crazy
thing about life, so watch it :)
This is not a classical 50s or 60s Western - this is about how the Old West may well have been for real. No superstunts a'la "Matrix" her for sure, but there is some funny action!
I am only now starting to appreciate the 70s way of making odd movies, with all the less than adequately brainy, all computer tricks, and no substance material coming to our screens these days.
It's all about real people doing mundane things, at times doing stupid things, and occasionally doing even really stupid, but outright spectacular things.
Nothing is sacred, and conservatives will have to hate this piece, that leaves no legend untouched, and shows the old West at its end in its transition to modern times, in which even steam power can already be made out to be relic some day, but not quite yet. Modern times is a comin! The characters are simply everyday people, hypocritical, twisted, evil, a little nice at times, always mean in a way, denuded of social grace as well as soap and water, except when it serves the purpose of getting closer.
This is not a classical Western - this is about how the Old West may well have been for real, spitting, sex, and all.
So stuff your dreamworld, because if you want to be a honky cowboy, you may think twice after seeing this one.
Boring? Yes, there are boring stretches in this movie. But that too were the good old times. So change your pace and watch a true classic of the 70s Western genre. Did I say a classic, when I said before it isn't? Actually, this one is a classic - just a different kind.
I saw this movie when it first came out in the theater in 1973.
Everyone I knew who saw it loved it. Then it disappeared. Vanished.
Gone. Never available on VHS nor DVD, so your chances of ever seeing
this great movie are nil. However, as I write this in November 2005,
the movie is available on Comcast On-Demand Free Movies!
With a memorable supporting cast including Peter Boyle, Warren Oates, Ben Johnson and the beautiful, young Lee Purcell, Dennis Hopper turns in one of his best performances. You'll never forget Ben Johnson as Mean John Simpson. Nor Peter Boyle as the ascetic high-tech, high-flying Preacher. Although it is set in Texas around the turn of the century, the social commentary that is critical of religion, racial prejudice, the establishment's compulsion to force conformity on everyone, the inequality in the workplace, and the hypocrisy of the elite ruling class and their control of law enforcement, is still relevant today. Perhaps even more so than when it was released in 1973. With comedic undertones, the movie manages to combine action/violence, drama and an implied steamy sex scene without ever becoming too serious. It pits the individual against the mores and values of the group (in this case the town of Dimebox, Texas and it's biggest employer, the All American Western Novelty Company). And guess who wins?
Don't miss this movie if you have Comcast Digital. It's available until March 2006.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Even avid Dennis Hopper fans may not have seen or heard of this one, a
turn of the century Western in which Hopper's character Bick Waner,
tries to turn his back on a life of crime and go straight. Things go
inauspiciously for him as one job after another goes down in flames,
either due to his temper or the whims of his boss. However once it
becomes known that he's the former outlaw and train robber Kid Blue,
the die is cast and The Kid decides to pull one last job.
It was cool to see some of the stellar character actors of the era here - Warren Oates as a wistful dreamer of the ancient Greeks with their notions of man love, Ben Johnson as an arrogant sheriff, and Peter Boyle in an early role as Preacher Bob, an eccentric inventor with unusual insights into the gospels. The film has an interesting share of comedic elements, mostly involving Boyle's character and an Indian named Old Coyote (Jose Torvay), who's made it his mission to get 'pushed under the water' by the preacher. For those not in the know, he wants to be baptized so he can claim his earthly riches.
There's no pretense of Western film greatness with this flick, but it is entertaining enough, taking place in the old West town of Dime Box, home of the Great American Ceramic Novelty Company. The story sheds light on the dawning of American capitalism and how small, dusty towns of the era managed to get lucky when an aspiring businessman made his enterprise the center of town life. One has to get a kick out of Reese Ford's (Oates) purchase of a new fangled steel bathtub for $12.29 (without freight charges), as the film tiptoes around the edges of homo-eroticism when Hopper and Oates climb into the tub together to relive the ancient Greek baths. Personally, getting soaped down by the lovely Molly Ford (Lee Purcell) would be a much better deal.
Best line of advice comes from Old Coyote discussing menu options with his Indian cohorts and Kid Blue - "If you're hungry, don't eat cow sh_t". I'll be keeping that in mind.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Dear fans of 70s American movies,
Kid Blue is a nice little eccentric (or should I use the often used word quirky?) Western (?) from the 70s. Some of the movies Dennis Hopper did early in his career are really worth checking out. The film has a pretty stellar cast - Hopper, Warren Oates, Peter Boyle, Janice Rule, Ben Johnson and Lee Purcell.
A small time robber played by Hopper decides to turn a new leaf and goes to an American small town (called Dime Box) in search of a job in the early 20th century. Over there, he comes across an eccentric bunch of characters including a melancholic factory worker (Oates), his flirtatious wife (Purcell), an unconventional preacher (Boyle) and a strict sheriff (Johnson).
The film is very liberal in spirit and deals with a variety of themes like the beginning of mass production, the ending of the old West, racism against native Indians and the binding force of evangelical Christianity. The anarchic ending underlines the film's stance against mass production. Despite the light-hearted tone, the film pulls no stops in portraying the violence and narrow mindedness that was prevalent during the period.
Dennis Hopper is very likable as the innocent, open-minded and big-hearted robber. Warren Oates plays a rare subdued role. Boyle wasn't really convincing as the over the top preacher. Purcell was unremarkable.
The film begins with a hilarious train robbery scene. I recommend it.
Best Regards, Pimpin.
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