Tuesday, April 29, 2008

160: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Had this sitting on my shelf for ages and just hadn't gotten round to watching it.
Having read William Goldmans Adventures in the screen trade, I knew a couple of things going in , I knew it had comic elements and I knew that Paul Newman and Robert Redford have a great chemistry in it. Oh and I knew how it ended, Impossible to avoid really its of those iconic scenes that is referenced and parodied a lot.

I think maybe if I hadn't known all of those things beforehand I would have enjoyed it better.I'm jumping ahead somewhat. First things first, the opening credits reveal the music was composed by Burt Bacharach, a slight jump from the Sergio Leone soundtracks I'm used to in westerns. It gives it an anachronistic feel which is interesting but I'm not a big fan of that kind of music, so call that a point against..

The first few scenes are typical western style (poker, gunplay,a train robbery ) setting up the characters (Butch is the brains and Sundance is the hotshot gunslinger ) and establish that they are already notorious.
There are a couple of great moments, most of them from the brilliant dialogue. But there are some points where interest starts to wane. That awful 'raindrops keep falling on my head' scene. And too many drawn out shots where nothing actually happens.

However from the second train robbery , the film really finds its feed. The pair are pursued by a seemingly unstoppable and completely anonymous posse. The pursuit is very well shot and The banter between butch and sundance losses its joking nonchalance as they realise they are in trouble -"Who are these guys?"

The plot changes direction again they flee to Bolivia to avoid their pursuers for good, Taking Eta ,Sundances girl,with them. There's an odd and to my mind unnecessarily long photomontage bridging the two halves of the movie showing their
journey south. There are more great comic moments when they realise they don't speak the language, not knowing how to say 'This is a robbery' in their new home. Theres a great scene where Eta and Sundance are gleefully shown into the safe in a bank by the manager which is played with no dialogue, just backing music, that is worthy of mention.
The Actress playing Eta is overshadowed by Newman and Redford but she plays the part adequately.

In the end the pair draw too much attention to themselves and find themselves
hunted down. And we all know how it ends.

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