EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (director: George Roy Hill; screenwriter: William Goldman; cinematographer: Conrad Hall; editors: John C. Howard/Richard C. Meyer; music: Burt Bacharach; cast: Paul Newman (Butch Cassidy), Robert Redford (The Sundance Kid), Katharine Ross (Etta Place), Strother Martin (Percy Garris), Jeff Corey (Sheriff Bledsoe), George Furth (Woodcock); Runtime: 110; MPAA Rating: PG; producers: John Foreman/Paul Monash; Twentieth Century Fox; 1969)|
|"Fine escapist entertainment."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
One of the top grossing Westerns of all time. George Roy
Hill ("Hawaii"/"The Sting"/"The
World According to Garp") directs
this comedy Western as a buddy
film (before that genre became popular) that takes a lighthearted
approach to a true story about semi-folk legend outlaws; its two
amiable outlaws display a good chemistry together as they play off each
other in their spirited sarcastic banter--which makes for fine escapist
entertainment. It's cleverly written by William Goldman, who too cutely for my
taste makes this sad story a slight chic comedy. In real life Butch
Cassidy was a genial outlaw who ran The Hole in the Wall Gang, who with
as little violence as possible robbed banks and trains. The Sundance
Kid, on the other hand, was a fast draw volatile gunslinger who had a
rep for getting drunk and going on saloon shoot-outs. Hill chooses to
chronicle the last two months of the duo, rather than during their
The times were A Changing
in the counterculture 1960s and with Bonnie and Clyde (1967) paving the
way for the new rebel heroes, Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and the
Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) go the same route and transform
the criminals into the outlaw heroes in the early 1900s in
the Old West. It was released to only so-so reviews, but caught the
mood of the public and boosted
the careers of everyone
involved from already superstar Newman to handsome leading man Redford
suddenly becoming a major star.
After a series of train
robberies of the Union Pacific in Wyoming, the railroad baron, E. H.
Harriman, hires a "super-posse," consisting of the best lawmen and
trackers in the country, to hunt Butch and Sundance down and the boys
decide to flee to Bolivia to avoid the Pinkertons and continue their
bank robberies. It slickly
ends on a freeze frame with the heroic bandits chased by the Bolivian
police, who keep firing away at the boys.
The film wins style points
for Conrad Hall's arty photography, that features fast cut editing. But
its once revolutionary filming techniques now appear stale after being
so much imitated and though the film is still entertaining, it no
longer seems like something special. Katherine Ross plays Etta Place, a
school teacher who is the Kid's girl. She returns from S.A. to New York
City, the Kid's hometown, to start life over rather than remain with
Added attractions are the song 'Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head' and the playing of the silent movie 'The Hole in the Wall Gang' as the opening credits roll by.
REVIEWED ON 7/25/2010 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ