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Anthony Michael Hall,
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[when he learns that Sylvia's father, a chicken farmer, does not approve of her going out with his son Wayne]
Well, I've come up against a few chicken farmers in my time. You've just gotta outrun the buckshot and deny everything!
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Scripted by Leonard Gardner, who grew up in California's agricultural San Joaquin Valley, this film successfully reaches its target of depicting components of small town life in the city of Stockton and its environs, where most of the filming took place. Set in the mid-1950s, the work stars Frederic Forrest and Veronica Cartwright as a couple whose marriage is falling apart, and Barry Tubb as their son and owner of the title vehicle. It is a new pink Cadillac coupe, and Tubb as Wayne Gibbs hopes that word of his ownership will spread and make him more attractive to the opposite sex. Wayne's shabby treatment at the hands of Sylvia, a local strumpet (Jenny Wright) naturally serves to bind the two more closely as the story progresses. Most of the action occurs during one eventful Saturday night with Wayne and his sleazy sidekick Harry (Seth Isler) on the prowl for sexual adventure while, during the same period, conditions between the senior Gibbs pair crumbles. While Wayne attempts to bring a peace treaty to pass between his parents, his innate urges link him and Sylvia nearer, despite opposition from her religiously fanatic egg farming father. The scenario by Gardner, who also plays in the film, is well above most encountered for a "coming of age" narrative, with some particularly penetrating lines for Forrest's character. Tubb is well directed by Peter Hoffman while the intensity and revealing interpretation of their roles by Forrest, Cartwright and Wright assist in belying the production's low budget background. Although the general editing is plainly sub-standard, the sound editing by Anthony Ciccolini is a primary reason for the picture's effectiveness, while the inspired cinematography of Jerzy Zielinski is noteworthy. A positive result of purposeful direction, screen writing and performances by cast and crew, VALENTINO RETURNS has been unjustly slighted.
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