|Index||9 reviews in total|
Susan George gave an excellent performance in this film, over powering Timothy Bottoms, and Bo Hopkins. Susan George with her excellent British acting background gave class to this SMALL TOWN IN TEXAS. Lots of small town police corruption with daring bike and car racing and a close miss of a train. This film is going to be another classic film collection. It is worth viewing and the Texas locations and photography are fantastic.
A Small Town In Texas is a film that I put high on the list of genre action films that were a staple at drive-in's during the '1970's and '80's. The car action is great with real stunts. A great cast of film supporting actors and the always cool directing of the late Jack Starrett. Bo Hopkins is great as the sheriff, Morgan Woodward as the corrupt rich local, John Karlen and Clay Tanner as deputies, Susan George as the girlfriend is '70's hot!,Art Hindle is always good and Buck Flower steals the show as a cussin', spittin', tough-as-nails hick who helps Timothy Bottoms against the crooked law man. I hope a DVD release will be in the near future.
Folks who dig car chases and car crashes will find a fair bit to enjoy
here; "A Small Town in Texas" is particularly enjoyable when it gets
down to the vehicular stunt aspect. As for the rest, well, it's
definitely a formula script (by William W. Norton), with engaging but
familiar types of characters. Actor / director Jack Starrett
("Slaughter", "Cleopatra Jones") guides it with his customary
efficiency, and does the expectedly solid job of capturing life in the
South. Our hero is likable enough (although, after a while, you wish
he'd shut up about going to California) and our villain is very much a
Timothy Bottoms stars as Poke Jackson, who tangles with his sheriff nemesis Duke Calley (Bo Hopkins), the man who set him up (resulting in Poke spending five years in jail) and stole Pokes' girl Mary Lee (Susan George) in the process. Poke, who reconnects with Mary Lee and the son (Mark Silva) that they had together, ends up witnessing a crime in which the crooked Duke is involved. So now Poke is obliged to take it on the lam and evade Duke (who now wants Poke dead) and his deputies.
Nicely shot in Panavision by Robert C. Jessup, this features a wonderful score by Charles Bernstein, is sufficiently rousing when it gets to its more action oriented scenes, and has some poignant moments as well as some humorous ones. The capable supporting cast includes Morgan Woodward as local fat cat C.J. Crane, John Karlen and Clay Tanner as deputies, Art Hindle and Hank Rolike as Pokes' good friends Boogie and Cleotus, and the always very amusing George 'Buck' Flower (who doesn't appear until late into the movie) as Pokes' ornery old uncle. Bottoms and Hopkins make for fun adversaries, and George is of course lovely to look at. Director Starrett has a cameo as the drunken Buford Tyler.
Nothing special but still a good example of this type of "hicksploitation" entertainment.
Seven out of 10.
These cool seventies movies, courtesy of Mr Arkoff, set a cool trend in the movie world for me. If you expect a lot of gore in this, you'll be plenty disappointed. What we have is a fatal love triangle. I like any Bottoms actor, they're all good. Timothy my favourite, makes a meal of the role, throwing in a naturalistic and lovable performance, as an ex con, Poke Jackson, framed, who's just got out of prison, now about to rub the same guy up the wrong way, small town local sheriff, the corrupt Duke (Hopkins in another nasty piece of work). Duke has been makin' it with Bottom's old lady, Mary Lee (the versatile Susan George) who you kind of get the feeling, she's wasted in this. Duke is about to give Poke a second serving of misjustice by setting him up again for a murder of important figure at a country fair, and this time properly doing the job. So the other half has Bottoms fleeing the cops, which culminates in a couple of cool car and bike chases, and god, can Bottoms ride. Bottoms is funny too: Helium voice scene, and we take guilty delight seeing both nemesis go at each other, where in the end, only one can walk away. Great action, and revenge that never gets old, plus sincere performances, make this a gem of a seventies movie, though it's not great, but definitely a golden 70's find.
This movie was a cross between BILLY JACK, DUKES OF HAZZARD and that's it.
It was a fun movie. Tim Bottoms is always a good person to watch act.
ending was sudden and typical of that decade of movies.
If it's on, see it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ex-con and former high school football star Poke Jackson (a solid and
likable performance by Timothy Bottoms) returns to his small country
home town only to discover that his old flame Mary Lee (a fine and
charming portrayal by Susan George) is now involved with the corrupt
sheriff Duke (Bo Hopkins in peak slimy form), who also was responsible
for sending Poke up the river in the first place.
Director Jack Starrett, working from a compelling script by William A. Norton, keeps the engrossing and entertaining story moving along at a steady pace, offers a strong and flavorsome rural redneck hamlet atmosphere, and stages several exciting action set pieces with his trademark rip-snorting gusto. Bottoms and George display a winning and convincing chemistry as the personable main characters; they receive able support from Morgan Woodward as flinty local bigwig C.J. Crane, John Karlen as bumbling deputy Lenny, Art Hindle as amiable grease monkey Boogie, and George "Buck" Flower in an especially lively and funny turn as scruffy hick hell-raiser Bull Parker. Both Charles Bernstein's spirited harmonic score and Robert C. Jessup's sharp widescreen cinematography are up to par. A fun flick.
In the 1970s there were a lot of these grade-B, drive-in type movies
set in rural Southern locations. Typically, there was a sheriff, a
youngish protagonist, lots of car chase action, and some kind of
conflict involving the sheriff and protagonist. "A Small Town In Texas"
clicks all these boxes. And so the underlying idea here isn't original.
Yet, the down-home rural atmosphere seems fairly realistic, as the movie was filmed in and around small towns near Austin. Male characters are generally good ole boys with minimal education; and the women are fairly inconspicuous. The main character is Poke (Timothy Bottoms), a local hick just out of prison who has a score to settle with Sheriff Duke (Bo Hopkins). The corn pone dialogue is about what you would expect for local yokels. There's some fairly good suspense in the second half. And part of the plot involves corruption surrounding a political event.
The script has several major problems, apart from being unoriginal. First, the inciting incident is postponed too long, so that the plot's first thirty minutes meanders. Second, the scriptwriter overuses the car chase cliché; here there are three, complete with inept cops and screeching tires. Third, the script leaves dangling the subplot involving character C.J. Crane.
Casting is less than ideal. Bo Hopkins seems to have become typecast. Timothy Bottoms looks too young to play a hardened criminal, though his performance here is acceptable. Secondary characters seem more like two-dimensional stick figures. I really like that mournful score, played at the beginning and at the end. Cinematography and production design are okay, but the film's color seems highly muted.
Life in a small, rural town in the American South, combined with some contrived drama sums up the premise of this film. "Macon County Line" is much better. But "A Small Town In Texas" is acceptable if other similar movies are unavailable.
This obscure (to me anyway) film has a lot of problems. All the characters
are either one dimensional, annoying, or cliched. It's overlong, boring,
and has a script that spends the first half meandering around endlessly,
then gets hopelessly predictable.
In its defence I will say that it is less dated than many films from the 1970s, and is occasionally entertaining or amusing (mainly me laughing at the dolts who populate this film). And its handful of action scenes are decent...though I suspect they may seem better than they really are because even the most inept stunts would seem exciting compared to the generally mundane tone of the film.
You could do worse, but you could do much better too.
Haven't seen this movie for well over 20 years, when I was only about 12. Even at such a young age, I picked up on the fact that the realism of the town depicted is extremely far-fetched; the police department in a town of this size (remember, this is a "Small" Town in Texas) would have a fleet of 6 or 8 vehicles at the most, yet in the big chase scene there are local police cars by the score, probably a hundred plus. That is my #1 memory of the film. A much better flick is "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" with Dennis Quaid. Although the protagonist in "Georgia" is not a native of the town in which the story takes place, the basic plot of "bad-guy lawman tries to bully damsel away from our hero" is very similar to "Small Town in Texas." I recall the Dennis Quaid movie as the better of the two, and that doesn't say much!*!
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