Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Overlooked Movies: The Chase


The critics hated this movie.  Lillian Hellman, who wrote the first version of the script, hated it. Arthur Penn, the director, wasn't fond of it, either. 

Naturally I loved it.  

How could you possibly go wrong with a cast like the one named on the poster to the left in a frenzied Texas melodrama about a small town coming apart?  The whole cast is overacting to beat the band (except for Brando, who's either underplaying or bored, not that it matters since he's great here).  Throw in racism, sex, fear, cowardice, and some graphic violence, and you just couldn't do better.

Robert Redford is Bubber, who breaks out of prison along with a pal.  The pal kills a man, and Bubber goes on the run, but he's not running away.  He's returning to the town he came from, where his wife, played by Jane Fonda, is having an affair with the son of the town's bigwig, played by E. G. Marshall.  Everybody has a reason for wanting Bubber to be caught, and apparently only Brando, the town sheriff, wants to do it the right way.  Just about everybody else wants Bubber to wind up dead.  Mob rule takes over easily enough, and Brando gets a beating you have to see to believe.  Then the mob goes after Bubber.  

There are a lot of great scenes in the movie, including a wonderful '60s party.  The mob at the junkyard is great.  [SPOILER ALERT]  Things do not end well for a lot of people.  Hardly anybody escapes unscathed either physically or mentally. [END OF SPOILER ALERT]

I doubt that anybody will like this movie as much as I do, but I consider it one of the great bad movies of all time.





14 comments:

Deb said...

I remember liking this movie--although it's been a number of years since I last saw it. I mean--just look at that cast! All those method actors and then suddenly...Miriam Hopkins. It's like she wandered in from another era. Brando wasn't afraid to make, um, unorthodox choices back then (REFLECTIONS IN A GOLDEN EYE, ONE-EYED JACKS, this movie), but--as you note--the critics were not kind.

Peter Brandvold said...

I loved it, too Bill. For all the same reasons you did. I'm going to have to watch it again.

Peter Brandvold said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James Reasoner said...

I don't believe I've ever seen this one. I think I may have to, though, if you and Mean Pete vouch for it.

Tom Johnson said...

Brando didn't overact in this movie? That's got to be a mistake (lol). Brando overacted in every movie I saw him in. But I skipped a lot of his for that reason. Maybe I should take another look?

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

It's been so long since I've seen this I really don't remember it, and since all I remember is Brando overacting I must be thinking of a different movie, right? Now REFLECTIONS IN A GOLDEN EYE was horrible.

Daniel Stumpf said...

A better film than it's reputation would have you believe. Kinda long & unfocused but a lot to enjoy here.

Mike Doran said...

When I saw this on TV, years after its initial release, I did a number of double takes.

Remember that small mob of "pre-teens" who are running all around town while all the chaos is coming down?

Remember especially one of them - a small blond kid with glasses?

Does he look familiar, maybe?

Once I was able to check ...

... it's Paul Williams, future singer-songwriter.
Who was (approximately) twenty-five years old at the time of filming.
Williams had made his film debut in 1964, in The Loved One.
At age 24, he played the 12-year-old rocket scientist.

All true.
Next time, check it out.

Bill Crider said...

I didn't know that. Great trivia.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I do remember Williams in The Loved One.

Todd Mason said...

It's easy to take. But I was hoping against hope it would improve as it went along.

Don Coffin said...

Helluva cast, though. I found it almost unwatchable, but remarkably compelling at the same time.

Cap'n Bob said...

Too bad Hanoi Jane is in it.

Bill Crider said...

This was made before she was Hanoi Jane, if that makes any diff. Probably not.