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Richard C. Sarafian
When Etta Place (Elizabeth Montgomery) and Jack Maddox (Robert Foxworth) reach the abandoned schoolhouse where Etta taught, she sees an old bicycle leaning against the railing. If you listen to the music here, you can hear "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" playing slowly. This was the theme song to "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969) and played extensively throughout the scene where Etta and Butch ride this bike. See more »
She came in two days ago - hied over to Amy Wilkens'. Didn't place her at first until they caught her rolling a customer. Hold your face up. Yeah, she's your one all right. I would have taken her to Denver myself, except it's a long ride and I heard you were in the field and... Hey, what I mean, if you want to hear a story, give me a few minutes with her and I'll have her confessin'!
Put her back in your corral, Mr. Spence.
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I'm not ashamed to admit that I spotted this film in the television listings and watched it on the title alone; about six months previously I had seen 'Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid' and been shaken to my core by it in a way that the vast majority of movies never achieve - enough to go and do some serious research into Butch Cassidy and his period. So I came to this picture armed with far more knowledge of the actual period than the average audience at which it was aimed, and mentally braced for a horrid disappointment, yet irresistably drawn by the need to know what had been made of the subject matter I had come to hold so dear.
I had probably better say now that, yes, this film *is* total and complete historical hokum. Not only were the events in question never recorded as happening, but major plot points on which the action revolves are contradicted by known historical fact. The famous Tiffany watch worn by Etta Place was indeed a cherished present - from *Cassidy*, not from her lover. And the secret entrance to the hideout at Hole-in-the-Wall had been public knowledge since before Cassidy's time. And yet, somehow, it *doesn't matter*. The name 'Sundance' has nothing to do with dancing sunlight - it was the name of a jail in which the young Harry 'Sundance Kid' Longabaugh was once imprisoned - yet the scene in which Etta describes her lover in such tender terms is in its context somehow right and true.
The film purports to chronicle the further tribulations of the schoolteacher Etta Place after the deaths of her lover the Sundance Kid and his partner Butch Cassidy in South America. As history, it is totally unfounded. As fiction, however, I found it unexpectedly enthralling. In fact, I was hoping just as desperately as Etta, halfway through, that what I had been led to believe was false - that history could be rewritten. As a story of constancy and love against all hope, it touched some deep chord in me for which I had not been prepared.
Later on, I also watched 'Butch & Sundance: the Early Years'. While I believe the latter film is generally more highly-rated, and certainly much better-known, I found 'Mrs Sundance' infinitely superior. I cared about this film; I felt nothing for 'The Early Years'. As a sequel, it is 'Mrs Sundance' that recaptures the potent blend of humour, desperation and loyalties that has made its predecessor so rightly renowned.
I rated this film at a 6, because that is all I can honestly say that it deserves as a piece of work in its own right. On my personal scale of enjoyment I have to confess that it is probably up there on an 8, 9 or even 10.
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