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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (DVD, 2005, Special Edition)
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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, They Were At My Wedding
Jan 19, 2007 (Updated Jan 21, 2007)
Review by Phil Popsrocks
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Memorable for many reasons
Cons:Raindrops keep falling on my head.
The Bottom Line: This drama, though a bit dated, of two outlaws is presented as light hearted, humorous and entertaining buddy film that continues to be a favorite of mine.
How did those characters get into my wedding. They didn't crash it. They were invited. More in a bit.
Recommend this product?
The year 1969 was an amazing year for me. I was in my late teens and a sports and movie fan. The NY METS won their first World Series. That was also the year JETS quarterback "Broadway" Joe Namath "guaranteed" a victory over the Colts in Super Bowl III and won. As an extension of the 1969/70 basketball season the NY Knicks kept the NY tradition going with a 4 games to 3 championship series over the Lakers. The only downer, but it was time, was Mickey Mantle announcing his retirement in 1969. Though a MET fan, Mantle was my main man when it came to baseball.
That year also brought forward a string of movies that allowed my young mind's perspective of life to open and explore more through the media of film. Classics of 1969 like Easy Rider, They Shoot Horses Don't They, The Sterile Cuckoo, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, and Midnight Cowboy brought me to other worlds and deeper thought. That year also brought along the revisionist film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Though this was the least cerebral of the films mentioned it was quite entertaining.
It's a light hearted "buddy" film about real life characters Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Their long string of bank robberies gave them notoriety as the most successful outlaws in America's old west. This film picked up a number of Oscars. One was for Best Original Screenplay of a story not previously written. It was an interesting tale that may have swayed from the real life of the characters a bit.
The film loosely chronicles the later years of Butch and Sundance as they lead their gang the Wild Bunch through a series of bank and train robberies. As the successful string continued their luck runs out when the railroad, tired of losing money and losing face, hire the best lawman and trackers of the time to eliminate the two leaders and their gang. Butch decides they along with Etta, Cassidy's gal should go east and eventually to South America. It's there they continue their bad habits of robbing banks and payroll all the while the long reach of the law keeps them on the run.
Chemistry Between Three fine Actors
George Roy Hill directed the film using well known actor and star Paul Newman, (Butch Cassidy) and a little known, good lookin' guy, by the name of Robert Redford (the Sundance Kid). Add beautiful Katharine Ross just off the hit The Graduate, another noteworthy film of the time, and you have the chemistry of three actors that created a film, though now a bit dated, that's an entertaining classic to me. The film has many players, the bank robbing gang, those chasing them and a number of characters that have just seconds or minutes on the screen but remain memorable to me including character actor Strother Martin as Percy Garris the chawin' and spittin' payroll man in Bolivia. He was teamed up with Newman in the fantastic film Cool Hand Luke too.
I remember Ted Cassidy, Harvey Logan, gettin kicked in the....the coral and Timothy Scott as "News" Carver who liked to read his name in print. (Accounts of bank robberies with his name mentioned in the newspapers)
Just a bit later in the film there was George Furth as Woodcock the railroad employee who would not give up the goods and Henry Jones as the bike salesman, selling the "future". Cloris Leachman was Agnes with a small part as one of the "entertaining woman" in town. I'll never forget the look of "Sweetface" (Percy Helton) as he sits on a rocker and then gives away Butch and Sundance's location. It was these characters and the witty banter between the two stars that made this film special to me. Newman and Redford teamed up again in another favorite of mine, The Sting
Butch's constant barrage of ideas lead the "Kid" to speak the line, "You keep thinkin' Butch, that's what you're good at." It's one of a number of unforgettable lines in the film that stick with me today and added to the humorous side of the film and ultimately its box office success.
Throughout the film this kind of jest and mocking kept me laughing...Ok, I have to add a few more favorites...
...in an opening scene Butch is staking out a bank they previously robbed and sees they installed heavy security including a huge vault, cages and double locked doors and windows. Newman as Butch is saddened and asks...
...Butch Cassidy: What happened to the old bank? It was beautiful.
Guard: People kept robbing it.
Butch Cassidy: Small price to pay for beauty.
after blowing a train car to smithereens
Sundance Kid: Think ya used enough dynamite there, Butch? Maybe you had to be there. It was a great line as thousands of bills come floating down from the skies.
At one point they are trapped high up on a cliff with the only escape being a river well below them.
Butch Cassidy: Then you jump first.
Sundance Kid: No, I said.
Butch Cassidy: What's the matter with you?
Sundance Kid: I can't swim.
Butch Cassidy: Are you crazy? The fall will probably kill you.
Of course anyone who saw this film remembers the next two words spoken...
Near the end when in a shootout this following bit of dialog starts when they realise they need more bullets for their guns.
Butch Cassidy: We're going to run out unless we can get to that mule and get some more.
Sundance Kid: I'll go.
Butch Cassidy: This is no time for bravery. I'll let ya!
Fun Filled and Fantastic Filming Techniques
I'll note BC and the SK was up for an Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director only to lose both to Midnight Cowboy. It did however win a few top honors including Best Cinematography. The filming was different using stills, sepia tones and for the most part full colour. The scenes of the great vistas of America's west where they were being chased and others in Bolivia added to the film's classic feel.
Excellent Music? Well Some
Part of the glue that kept this film together was the music. I did find it odd that one of the picture's Oscar wins, was for a song that I didn't care for. Didn't you know I am the best to judge? Oh well. The Best Music Award for Original Song went to Burt Bacharach (music) and Hal David (lyrics) for the song "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head". It was a song that was overplayed on radio at the time but the scene, using the song, with Newman and Ross on a bicycle, brought the relationship of the two and that with the "Kid" to light. Though Etta was the "Kids' gal there is a question as to whether she would have gone with Butch had she met him first.
The rest of the film's music was brilliant. It filled and complimented the visuals perfectly. Whether played during in the big open spaces of America's west, the casinos and beaches of Atlantic City or the countryside of Bolivia it set the mood of the scenes.
Burt Bacharach picked up and Oscar for Best Original Score. Well deserved, I thought, even if it did have that Raindrop song.
Joining the Happy Couple At Our Wedding
Three years later, about a week after my bride to be graduated college, we married. As a wedding song we picked a tune from the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I wonder if anyone, anywhere, ever used the tune, Not Goin' Home Anymore for their first dance.
I suppose the memory of that song, in it's use at particular times during the film, and ultimately its choice for two young lovers on their wedding day, adds an extra star onto this classic film that I can watch over and over.
Newman and Redford join up again in The Sting
Midnight Cowboy The film that beat Butch and Sundance for Best Picture in '69
It's another buddy film but this one is dark with Dustin Hoffmain and Jon Voight. A must see for a number of reasons.
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