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Lee H. Katzin
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An old man looks back 60 years to a road trip from rural Mississippi to Memphis, a horse race, and his own coming of age. Lucius's grandfather gets the first automobile in the area, a bright yellow Winton Flyer. While he's away, the plantation handyman, Boon Hogganbeck, conspires to borrow the car, taking Lucius with him. Stowed away is Ned, a mulatto and Lucius's putative cousin. The three head for Memphis, where Boon's sweetheart works in a whorehouse, where Ned trades the car for a racehorse, and where Lucius discovers the world of adults - from racism and vice to possibilities for honor and courage. Is there redemption for reivers, rascals, and rapscallions?Written by
On the packaging for the 1993 VHS release of the movie, the music credit is given to Lalo Schifrin. John Williams wrote the score for the film and received an Oscar nomination for his efforts. See more »
[Boon giving directions to Ned on how to use the Winton Flyer]
Boon, when do you think I can have it?
String bean you so much to lay a hand on this automobile, I'll jump down your throat, and tap dance on your lungs!
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I have not read the Faulkner story on which this is based, so I can't comment on how much of this delightful film can be credited to him (doubtless Burgess Meredith's voiceovers are Faulkner's words), but this wonderful movie about the pain of growing up is laced with plenty of adventure and fun and deserves to become a classic. The John Williams score is superb. The acting is wonderful from all the leads, including the boy. This is one of the underrated Steve McQueen's best roles, and Will Geer is perfect in the small but rich part of Boss. The characters are all wonderfully and richly fleshed out, and there are many moments of human insight. To top it off, the cinematography makes the movie simply gorgeous to look at.
Considering the movie's manifold virtues it's interesting to note that one never sees it on any of the cable channels. The reason is obvious, and it's political correctness. The movie uses the "n" word multiple times, although always in the same way Mark Twain used it, i.e. to demonstrate the inhumanity behind the use of the word. Also Corrie has her eye blackened by Boone, and Ned explains to Lucius "what better sign can a woman want from a man that he has her on his mind." All this racism and sexual violence is of course abhorrent, but the forces of political correctness would rather pretend that it never existed than to look it square in the eye.
So to see this movie you'll have to buy it on DVD, which I strongly urge you to do.
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