Warm and mellow-making movie moments, chosen by YOU, the Shadowplayers.
My Mum, Sheila Cairns, picked this Bacharachian bachanal from BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID, pointing out that she couldn’t imagine why Katherine Ross would be interested in Robert Redford anyway, with Paul Newman around.
It’s a beautiful scene (faint shades of JULES ET JIM?), and George Roy Hill deserves more credit as, at the very least, a second-tier commercial filmmaker (he was among the first to assimilate the influence of the Nouvelle Vague, for one thing). I reviewed a book about him once and, I can only say, he deserves a better book. The first edition must have been pretty good, but somewhere between then and the revised updated version, something pretty bad must have happened to the author (maybe just TIME?) and all the life and precision had gone out of his writing. And since Hill, at his best, had a lot of both qualities, he definitely deserves a better book.
Hmm, this sequence maybe could use some better GAGS (the “prequel” BUTCH AND SUNDANCE: THE EARLY DAYS has plenty) but GRH makes up for that by finding pretty and surprising and playful ways of filming stuff.
I just wish they’d tweaked it in the edit so that the snatching of the apple from the tree branch coincided with the word “did” in the lyrics. Wouldn’t that be nicer, musically?
But it’s great that they get away with the song. Of course, it’s not as extreme in its anachronism as Ennio Morricone’s surf guitar masterpieces, but its very airy and confident and sweet and is pretty clearly a modern popular song with nothing but tone to justify its presence (the lyrics run defiantly counter to the action). It did lead to a lot of inferior imitations, which rather deface movies like THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE and THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JUDGE ROY BEAN (not a particularly strong contender at the best of times).
I think it’s funny that my Mum would choose this scene as she has a morbid fear of cows.
Otherstuff: screenwriter William Goldman still prefers his original title, THE SUNDANCE KID AND BUTCH CASSIDY (they changed it when Newman, the big star, wanted to play Butch).
BCATSK is obviously much nicer than TSKABC, as you can see for yourselves just by singing each title in turn. You see? You SEE?
And: my folks just recently watched NORTH BY NORTHWEST together again, on the exact anniversary of the day they first saw it, on their first date together, on the film’s first release.
And: the Donald Westlake novel I’m reading, Drowned Hopes, lifts Hitchcock’s original idea for the climax of NBNW — a man climbs into the nostril of the Mount Rushmore Lincoln, it’s dusty in there, and he sneezes. I’m going to forgive Westlake this little plagiarism, as it happens in the perfect place in the novel and anyway, Hitchcock never actually used it (the Mount Rushmore people objected).