Walrus-like warden, Sven "Swede" Sorenson, a cross between Bluto and Wimpy, runs the prison, murders convicts who escape, and has the FBI on his trail in the form of agent Karen Polarski, ...
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John G. Avildsen
George C. Scott,
Walrus-like warden, Sven "Swede" Sorenson, a cross between Bluto and Wimpy, runs the prison, murders convicts who escape, and has the FBI on his trail in the form of agent Karen Polarski, the daughter of the town's corrupt judge. Swede's twins tell their father they're pregnant (they aren't), so he pushes their dim boyfriends, Bud and Larry, into shotgun marriages. He also turns his sons-in-law into slave labor, so Bud hatches an escape plan: to rob a train carrying old bills to the mint for burning. Larry's his reluctant accomplice. When Bud is captured and railroaded into Swede's jail, his death looks certain, until he hatches yet another plan that requires Larry's help. Written by
Currently this film has a 4.8 rating here at IMDb but in my opinion, VERY unjustly so! It teeters constantly between quirky, sweet humor, and macabre, almost cartoonish dark comedy. Which is to say, it's quintessential Brando. There's even a brief freeze-frame in the film of Brando with his hands flapping by his face in a 'neah-neah' gesture that is so 'Brandoesque'. He knows that his physical presence (a seemingly 500-pound ballet dancer) is a grand mixture of Father Christmas, Charlie Chaplin, Edward G. Robinson, and the man who bites off the heads of chickens at the circus. You just never know what you're going to get with him, so you - and the other characters in the film - are always kept a bit on edge (he played a somewhat similar character in "The Freshman"; another film that I've always thought was underrated).
Anyway, the train heist is merely a minor plot point, so I'm guessing that maybe that's why the movie bombed. Audiences were probably expecting a heist story with a solid, formula plot (probably along the scale of "Oceans Twelve"), and I'm guessing they felt extremely uncomfortable with the film's humble speed. The big-name cast also probably didn't help, because the film has a real 'Canadian provincial' feel to it (Hollywood, this film is not!). Nevertheless, the entire cast is fantastic; particularly Thomas Haden Church who I never would have guessed was the same guy in "Sideways"! Perhaps I'm just nuts, but I think this is a sleeper gem that has yet to find its true audience.
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