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Max von Sydow,
Sverre Anker Ousdal,
Zandy Allan purchases a mail-order bride, Hannah Lund. He treats her as a possession, without respect or humanity, until their shared ordeal as they struggle to survive develops in him a growing love. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Tony Gallo, huh? You finally got somebody to go to the bushes with you.
Shit on you. I died when you married that woman.
You're gonna look real funny over there at your wedding with a black eye. And that's where you're heading, chica.
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Gene Hackman was so prolific that even though he has retired from acting for over a decade you can still find a new performance from him even if it is some old, obscure film.
This is a bleak, dark but vacant Scandi-drama decades before they came in vogue with added crime mysteries.
Gene Hackman is a rugged rancher in the Big Sur. This is an isolated and backward community. A wilderness. He has ordered a mail order bride from Scandinavia. The main reason is that he wants sons who would take over the ranch from him before he gets too old.
When the wife arrives he effectively treats her as a slave and even forces himself on her. This is a tell it how it was in the old days in the 19th century.
Liv Ullmann plays his wife and she does not take it lying down and is determined to turn the farm into a home and turn him into somewhat respectable. Susan Tyrell plays a floozy that Hackman seems to have has past dalliance with. Hackman is wary of her, this is a clannish community with hints of inbreeding. Hackman does not want bad blood hence why he has got a wife from the outside.
There is an outdoor barbecue scene where we learn a little about this isolated community and also Hackman's family life. If you think Hackman is bad, he is a progressive compared to his father. Hackman's mother is very much aware what Ullman is going through and knows how hard life and her own husband has been to her.
Hackman and Ullman resolve to make their marriage work and she rewards him with issue. In turns he softens a little, he gets her nice clothes and even a stove from San Francisco.
The film is a slow burn drama but not much action. For those of us, myself included whose only experience of The Big Sur is the coastal route to LA to San Francisco or vice-versa this is an insight to a real community that once lived beyond the roads.
The film is rewarded with wonderful photography but the film feels empty despite rich performances.
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