Monday, June 05, 2006

Butch and the Kid


There's a long story about what happened because I own a copy of the first printing of William Goldman's screenplay for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The short version is that it got me the job of editing a book called Mass Market Publishing in America, my first big credit. So I have a natural affeciton for both the screenplay and the movie itself, which is supposed to be available on DVD in an "ultimate collector's edition" on June 6. There are quite a few special features, including interviews with Paul Newman and Robert Redford, but the one I'd be most interested in hearing is the one with Goldman.

In a time when anybody makes western movies, it's nice to know that one of the better ones has been given a new lease on life. (In a burst of nostalgia, I just recalled a song: "My Baby Loves the Western Movies" by the Olympics. I guess nobody except us old guys can even remember the days when song like that made sense. Well, maybe it didn't make sense even then, but it was kind of catchy.)

Someone told me the other day that Steve McQueen was the first choice to play the Sundance Kid but that problems with billing couldn't be worked out. So the part went to Robert Redford. If that's a true story, Redford's probably glad those problems arose.

9 comments:

Scott Cupp said...

I too love this film. Apparently there is a runor that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are going to remake this (I heard this from JRL, his ownself. A pox on them all. Why do you want to mess with perfection. 99% of all remakes are unnecessary (like tomorrow's The Omen - not perfection originally but certaqinly no need for a remake - done strictly to cash in on the date - and the ads! Jeez! How many times do we need to see the nanny suicide). The only great remake I recall is The Maltese Falcon (version 3!) but that was because John Huston decided to use H
ammett's plot and dialog pretty much verbatem rather than re-inventing the dingus.

Bill said...

I can't imagine Affleck and Damon in this one. It's an ageless movie as it is, and it should be left alone. But that doesn't mean that it will be.

Todd Mason said...

Just for the Pecksniff of it, the song was entitled "Western Movies"...I'm not sure which Pickwick "oldies" collection or similar I had/have that on. After a fashion, one's baby might well have a better chance of loving the western movies and TV series, what with Encore's Western channel, than she or he might in the earlier recent past. Meanwhile, I'm going to have to give BC&TSK another chance, since I've generally enjoyed most of the other work of the principal contributors, very much including THE STING, but this one hasn't done much for me...though I've seen it beginning to end only once, and on broadcast television decades ago, so surely chopped.

Bill said...

I confess to my shame that I have "Western Movies" on a CD by the Olympics, along with many other classics, such as, er, um, "Hully Gully."

And by all means give the movie another chance. It deserves it.

Vince said...

William Goldman's Adventures In The Screen Trade, which includes the entire screenplay for BC&TSK, is a landmark book about the movie business. I read it when I was fourteen and I blame it for everything that has happened to me since.

I'm thrilled that a deluxe edition of the movie will be out tomorrow. I haven't seen the prequel, though, Butch & Sundance: The Early Days, with William Katt and Tom Berenger. Goldman didn't write the film, but I believe he had some kind of involvement with it. Have you seen it, Bill?

Bill said...

I haven't seen the prequel, either, but I do have two copies of Adventures in the Screen Trade, which I think might be the definitive book about the movie industry (unless that's Goldman's Which Lie Did I Tell?

Keith Bodayla said...

Sounds like I'll have to check out Adventures In The Screen Trade. This is probably one of my Top Five Favorite Movies of All-Time. I'll have to check out the reviews when it comes out and see if the Special Features are as worth it as they sound.

Ray said...

Well, if Affleck and Damon are to be in the remake then, according to Which Lie Did I Tell? that would be the second time they've appeared in a Goldman script - coughcoughGoodWillHumpingcoughcough. But Butch and Sundance is one of those movies I was lucky enough to see on the big screen once and totally changed my perception of what a western could be (C'man, I'm a 29-year-old Brit, gimme a break). What made me grab onto Goldman was that I couldn't for the life of me see how the movie was done, either - it is, after all, one long chase.

Jeff Meyerson said...

All of Goldman's books - especially his non-fiction movie stuff - are worth reading.

And he said one thing that has proven true over and over: once you win an Oscar you know that will be the first line in your obituary: "Oscar winner...died today".

And I also liked how he told us that ALL movie stars (except Clint) are short.