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Adapted from the short story by acclaimed writer Katherine Anne Porter (Ship of Fools?), THE JILTING OF GRANNY WEATHERALL reminds us of the plight of many women who wait for life to claim them, rather than seek life out for themselves.
Henry Fonda plays Elegant John, an old trucker who steals back his prized rig in California and takes off with almost no money. His Kenworth tractor has the name Eleanor on it. Elegant John once met Eleanor Roosevelt. He pulls a Fruehauf van with a "sunroof". Why is he called Elegant John? Well, sonny, if you drive five million miles without being late or having a wreck, you deserve to be called Elegant. Elegant John picks up Bible-thumping hitchhiker Beebo Crozier, who is going to Florida to learn motel management. Elegant John stops and gets fuel. Beebo reluctantly pays for fuel. The two stop at a whorehouse for truckers at Cheyenne, Wyoming, a possible homage to Fonda's movie The Cheyenne Social Club. The prostitutes are about to be raided, and the madam hires Elegant John to take them to the coast of South Carolina to start another prostitution business. Thus Elegant John's trip will be coast to coast. They go through Kansas and have a commotion near Springfield, Missouri, with Dub Taylor's character Harley Davidson. After that, there's a truck stop dancing scene to the music of Orleans' "Still the One", which is pop rock in a country sort of way. The movie claims that it's a compliment for a truck driver to be called a cowboy, but I've seen where an out-of-place, amateur, careless truck driver is called a cowboy or a cotton picker. There's a great Smokey roadblock in Georgia to stop them. Will Elegant John's Kenworth plow through a bunch of old Mopars? Will Elegant John live to see the Atlantic Ocean? And what is Beebo going to do with his life, now that it has taken an unexpected turn? This movie is just a hodgepodge of elements thrown together for drive-in fare.
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