Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

I'm glad I saw this, because I was almost starting to forget how awesome Paul Newman and Robert Redford were together in The Sting, another movie directed by George Roy Hill. This one was released a few years earlier, when tastes were really changing in Hollywood and the old kind of Western was dying out if not already dead. Newman and Redford are Butch and Sundance respectively (Did you know the film festival was created by Redford and named after this character? I didn't.), the latter with a fast gun and the former with an even quicker tongue. They lead a gang of bank and train robbers, going around merrily like Robin Hood, stealing from those who can afford it and keeping it mostly for themselves, but generous enough with handouts that they aren't sitting on a fortune. These early scenes are a lot of fun, establishing the friendship and collaboration between the two leads, as well as their relationship with Sundance's girlfriend.

Things change though, when a man with the train company that they've been repeatedly robbing hires an expert posse to chase after them until they're caught or killed, featuring a couple people they know by reputation. They get separated from the gang and go on the run, eventually resorting to relocating to Bolivia for the rest of the movie. They can't give up their lives of crime though, culminating in an extremely memorable and well made scene. There's a lot of interesting things about this movie, besides the fact that it's just entertaining and funny and Newman and Redford are fantastic in it. The tone varies significantly over the course of the movie, but it never feels out of character with itself. The song "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" was written for it, winning one of it's handful of Oscars for best song and featuring in an odd, cute scene featuring a bicycle. And it's sort of unique how the characters never actually come face to face with any of their real antagonists in the story, but they still manage to drive them towards the ending. Sundance Kid was one of at least three significant Westerns to come out in 1969, and I'll be watching one of the others pretty soon. I'll be interested in how they compare.

1 comment:

Eileen said...

I wish I had a dollar for everytime I heard "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head" on the radio - actually, I think I even had the 45 (lol)!