Two young men in a fast car travel through Georgia in the summer of 1958 en route to enter the National Championship drag races in California. In Macon County they pick up a wild girl who brings trouble and attract the ire of a local cop.
Olivia Harwood, missionary's widow, meets charming Mark Bellis, artist and rogue, on the ship taking them both back to 1890s London. When Olivia opens a lodging house Mark becomes her ... See full summary »
In Godard and Gorin's free interpretation of the Chicago Eight trial, Judge Hoffman becomes Judge Himmler (who doodles notes on Playboy centerfolds), the Chicago Eight become microcosms of ... See full summary »
The car the brothers drive is a 1949 Chrysler Town and Country convertible. Only 993 were built at a base price of $3,765 ($39,100 in 2018). In excellent condition, at auction in 2018, these cars can sell for over $100,000 - and sometimes a lot more. See more »
Richly atmospheric, "Macon County Line" veritably drips 1950s backwoods Louisiana, in a story about two good-humored, shiftless dudes, both laid-back and basically decent, who joyride through the South, with no particular goal in mind. Along the way they pick up a young, attractive Southern belle. But a car problem puts them at the mercy of local hicks, including a White, bullying cop (Max Baer Jr.), prejudiced against Blacks and outsiders.
The plot starts out with some red-light hi-jinx, augmented by lush color visuals and great music, like the Black gospel song "Keep On Keeping On" which conveys the film's subtle theme. The slow-paced story fits the hot, lazy Southern weather. And as we get to know the main characters on their daytime journey, we sense something is going to happen. We just don't know what or when.
As night falls the tone turns ominous. Danger lurks in coincidence. And the story morphs into a kind of allegory that renders it timeless. Terrific suspense makes the last twenty minutes spellbinding ... human prey trying to escape a killer in the brushy backwoods at night, no music, just the natural sounds of frogs and crickets ... tense ... the killer is somewhere in the woods ... two people hear footsteps, a door opens, death is close at hand ... silence.
The film's visuals are grainy, which contributes to a nostalgic, dreamlike quality. Production design is authentic. Casting and acting are fine, and considerably better than one would expect for this genre of film.
I think people were surprised at the time by its success. Certainly, it could never be made today. And that probably ups its status now as a cult classic. "Macon County Line", in addition to being a fine Gothic story set in an atmospheric South, evokes nostalgia for an era and pace of life gone forever.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this