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Wise Blood (1979)

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A Southerner--young, poor, ambitious but uneducated--determines to become something in the world. He decides that the best way to do that is to become a preacher and start up his own church.

Director:

(as Jhon Huston)

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Hazel Motes
...
Grandfather (as John Huston)
...
Enoch Emory
...
Asa Hawks
...
Sabbath Lily
Mary Nell Santacroce ...
Landlady
...
Hoover Shoates
...
Preacher
J.L. Parker ...
Karl
Marvin Sapp ...
Raymond
Richard Earle ...
Jakob Winslow
Herb Kossover ...
Jacob Wood
Betty Lou Groover ...
Leora Watts
John Tyndall ...
Loki Martinson
Gillaaron Houck ...
Stranger #1
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Storyline

US Army war veteran Hazel Motes may not be a believing Christian, somehow observations like the state of a run-down country church, meeting the ridiculous frauds on the streets and memories inspire him to take up, after initially fierce refusal, the part of a traveling preacher when a cab driver insists he looks like one in his new hat. He starts his own new Church of Truth, without the crucified Jesus, his first disciple being an 18-year old simpleton with a 'prophetic gift'... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

An American Masterpiece!

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 February 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jhon Huston's Wise Blood  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Actor Brad Dourif was originally sent the script to audition for the character Enoch Emery. But Brad had such a good feeling about the Hazel Motes character, Dourif asked to audition for that instead. The problem was, another actor, Tommy Lee Jones, was currently director John Huston's first choice for the part. However, things didn't go to plan. Jones had to drop out, giving Dourif the opportunity to audition like he wanted to, and then landing the role of Hazel for himself. See more »

Goofs

Sabbath's bra strap goes from down to up between shots. See more »

Quotes

Hazel: What the hell kind of a preacher are you not to see if you can save my soul?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Director John Huston is credited in all the titles as "Jhon Huston". Producer Michael Fitzgerald later explained that, wanting to have a child-like look to the credits, they had an actual child write the names. The child misspelled Huston's first name, but they liked it and kept it, as a metaphor for the artificial, off-kilter tone of the story. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Notes from Under the Volcano (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Tennessee Waltz
(uncredited)
Written by Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King
Heard as a theme during the opening credits and during the film
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Soak up the atmosphere
1 August 2013 | by (Baltimore MD) – See all my reviews

A hefty percentage of the comments on "Wise Blood" dwell on its relationship to the novel from which it was drawn -- pro and con. Brilliant faithful adaptation says one moviegoer. Trashy sacrilege screams another. Those of us who haven't read the book are stuck with the movie which balances superb atmosphere with strange storytelling. Let's start on the plus side. John Huston and his crew have caught not only the look but the feel, almost the smell, of a midsize southern town in Summer. The weathered frame houses, the sagging streets, the one-screen cinema, the tired used car lot with its rusty Ford Fairlanes, they form a richly authentic backdrop for the action. That's where "Wise Blood" gets into trouble. Who is Hazel,played by Brad Dourif, what war did he emerge from, why does he want to be a preacher and most of all, why does he suffer psychotic temper tantrums? You'll have to figure that out for yourself -- along with why a would-be acolyte steals an embalmed monkey for him and why the nymphet daughter of a "blind" evangelist is smitten with him, down to her threadbare stockings. Sure, there are allegorical references galore throughout the film. The phoniness of Gonga, the gorilla (a bruiser in an ape suit) matched against the phoniness of street corner preachers. But in the end, maybe you'll say to yourself (but never breathe a word to more ephemeral friends)I just wish the darned thing made more sense.


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