Thursday, September 20, 2012

Little Fauss & Big Halsey

     Little Fauss & Big Halsey is the one Robert Redford film, that most people have never heard off (and Robert Redford hopes you never do). Released in 1970 and starring Redford & Michael J. Pollard as two motorcycle racers wondering the American west. Although marketed as a "motorcycle movie", it more of a character study of people who happen to ride motorcycles. Robert Redford, (in his best role IMO), plays Halsey Knox. Knox is a no good thief and liar who uses people and treats his various girlfriends with contempt, but Redford makes us want to root for this guy and makes us actually feel sorry for him by the end of the movie. Pollard plays Fauss and brings his usual kind of dim child like wonder and awe. Pollard gets criticism from some film fans, but I think he's a wonderful character actor who always somehow manages to steal the scenes he's in. Watch him in Bonnie & Clyde to really get a sense of this. It's fascinating to watch Fauss slowly pick up some of Knox's character traits while at the same time realizing what kind of person Knox really is. Rumor as it that Redford and Pollard didn't get along all that great on the set which only adds to their relationship in the movie.
   Also in the cast is Lauren Hutton (in her second film role - and what an entrance she has) as hitchhiker Rita Nebraska who joins up with the pair and wonderful turns by Noah Berry Jr. and Lucille Benson as Fauss's parents. Directed by Sidney J. Furie, who had an incredible career (check out my earlier Dr. Bloods Coffin post) and a soundtrack by Johnny Cash.

  Sadly neglected (never even released) on home video, most of the copies floating around are from the same source which I believe is a Cinemax showing from the early 90's which totally destroys the beautiful widescreen photography of Ralph Woolsey. Rumor has it that a letterboxed print turned up on Speedvision years ago, but nothing to confirm that has surfaced. The story is is that this popped up on T.V. all over the place after the wake of Redfords's success in All The Presidents Men and he had Paramount pretty much bury it, as he hates his role in this movie.  My OTHER favorite Redford movie is The Hot Rock (which rumor has it, he also hates -go figure).  The Hot Rock is now available on DVD, so maybe there's hope yet. Olive Films has been releasing Paramount catalog titles on DVD and Blu, so lets start emailing 'em.

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