Valentine "Snakeskin" Xavier, a trouble-prone drifter trying to go straight, wanders into a small Mississippi town looking for a simple and honest life but finds himself embroiled with problem-filled women.
The professional mercenary Sir William Walker instigates a slave revolt on the Caribbean island of Queimada in order to help improve the British sugar trade. Years later he is sent again to... See full summary »
Most everyone in town thinks that Sheriff Calder is merely a puppet of rich oil-man Val Rogers. When it is learned that local baddie Bubber Reeves has escaped prison, Rogers' son is concerned because he is having an affair with Reeves' wife. It seems many others in town feel they may have reasons to fear Reeves. Calder's aim is to bring Reeves in alive, unharmed. Calder will have to oppose the powerful Rogers on one hand and mob violence on the other, in his quest for justice.Written by
Buxx Banner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sam Spiegel brought Lillian Hellman into the project, but had her script re-written. He then refused to show her a final cut before the film's release. He was also responsible for signing the then relatively unknown Robert Redford as Bubber, and lighting cameraman Joseph LaShelle, who replaced Robert Surtees after he dropped out, due to illness. The Academy Award-winning Lashelle and Director Arthur Penn, who was not consulted by Spiegel, did not have a harmonious working relationship, which Penn thought hurt the film. Later, Spiegel did not allow Penn to edit the film himself, which Penn believed ruined the rhythm of the film, which he had wanted to suggest hysteria. Penn has disowned the film. Released with great expectations due to all the talent involved, this film proved to be a critical and financial disappointment, and signalled the beginning of the end of Spiegel's success as a film producer. See more »
When Bubber is climbing along the roof of the train, it is coming towards the viewer. He then swings down into an open door of a freight car on the right hand side of the screen. The next shots show Bubber with the open door in the background on the right hand of the screen, but now the train is going away from the viewer. There is now a road running beside the train and there are orchards of trees that were not there before. See more »
Shoot a man for sleeping with someone's wife? That's silly. Half the town'd be wiped out.
See more »
In same ways it feels like a melodramatic masterpiece that just missed its mark
The Chase (1966)
I give this movie extra credit for ambition, and for richness of story and complexity. It's a torrid soap opera overall, which is a good thing because it is saved by its romanticized excesses. The title is odd, in a way, because the obvious "chase" here is the pursuit of the convict on the run (played by Robert Redford, and not his best performance). But in a way there are all kinds of other chases here—women and men wanting each other with a whole network of adultery and would-be affairs at play.
But never quite shown. This is a movie pushing the end of the censorship code, but the code is still officially in place and so there are still some boundaries, even for a director like Arthur Penn, who would help New Hollywood blossom (notably with "Bonnie and Clyde" the next year). But the steamy background as this small town wrestles with decency, among other things, is great stuff.
Decency, as a core idea, is what the main character is all about—the sheriff played by Marlon Brando. Brando is great. He isn't quite the Texas sheriff intended, of course (he's "Brando"), but he has nuance and strength, and he helps his scenes a lot. But the movie is brimming with talent: Robert Duvall, for one. Two women do their parts—Jane Fonda and Angie Dickinson—though neither is given enough to do besides support their male counterparts (Fonda is a kind of "loose woman" and Dickinson is a girlfriend having affairs).
But Penn is the biggest talent, pulling together a very complicated story in two hours. Photographer Joseph LaShelle is great, too, one of the masters of early widescreen color in the US. Together they make this movie fluid, beautiful, and constantly demanding in the best way.
What holds it back is a little of the superficiality that is so common in early 60s films—it's about sensation and effect, about drama for its own sake. You never quite care about Redford in his run (he's a surprisingly small part of the movie until the end). And even all the other characters working out their prejudices are a bit on the surface.
There is a welcome racial theme here, and a generational one (young people utterly selfish and party hungry in this version, and older folk filled with prejudice and greed). I say see this film. There's a lot going on, and I could watch it a second time just for everything I missed.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this