Everyone figures Lou Ford, a small-town, Montana, deputy sheriff, to be a normal, good-old-boy kind of regular Joe. But no one knows about "the sickness" that drives him to kill. Written by
An overlooked Jim Thompson adaptation that gets it right
The low budget and the talent of Burt Kennedy (working in a rare venture outside the western genre) add to the striking atmosphere of this largely unseen, barely released Jim Thompson adaptation. After the critically lauded Fat City, Stacy Keach had quite a few star turns in alternative fare during the 70s, of which this is among the best (though his decade-wrapper with The Ninth Configuration is awfully hard to beat.)
Susan Tyrell rejoins him here after her acclaimed Fat City turn, with many terrific character actors throughout the cast. Technical work is top-drawer with the William Fraker photography as good as ever.
One of the first budget DVD's released, (naturally unletterboxed) the Panavision cries out for a redo. Sadly, the small resurgence in Thompson adaptations in the early 90s ended rather quickly; still plenty of great material there for dedicated crime filmmakers.
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