joi, 1 iunie 2023

Rolling Thunder (1977)

Rolling Thunder.

USA, 1977.

with: William Devane, Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Haynes, Dabney Coleman, Luke Askew, James Best.

written by Paul Schrader. Re-written by Heywood Gould.

produced by Laurence Gordon.

Directed by John Flynn.

Not to be confused with Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue. And the doc by Marty Scorsese.

Tarantino had put it on his top ten films list, said is his favorite Revenge flick, he named his distribution company after it. He dedicated a whole chapter in his book, Cinema Speculation to this film (and another one to another John Flynn's classic, The Outfit -1973).

RT was supposed to be a 20th Century Fox release but they were so appalled so they sold it to AIP (American International Pictures). 

It's one of the earliest entries into the "Angry/dissilusioned Vietnam Vet coming home" genre, a gritty revenge film which strikes close to Sam Peckinpah and Walter Hill. Schrader disowned the script, which was at the time, a companion piece to Taxi Driver! Travis Bickle even makes a cameo appearance in the original Scharder script, linked to Linda Lovelace...

I saw the film more than 10 years ago, out of the Grindhouse folder of fame, and Tarantino was the biggest advocate and champion of Rolling Thunder, making it more and more known, and made it intriguing to people to search for it and see it. Which brings it to the latest showing, in the Tarantino's surprise film in his guest spot in the Quinzaine des Realisateurs at the Cannes Film Festival (his first time there!) just a week ago.

So, it made me yearn to see it again. Und I did ;)

Devane is brilliant, I know him from my childhood when I saw him in Yanks (1981). Loved the guy, deserved a bigger career. Tommy Lee Jones is cool too, but mostly I liked Luke Askew's Automatic Slim (I Know Askew as a baddie I guess from Cool Hand Luke and in my childhood, Walking Tall II).  The film is slow, gritty and seems less exploitation than it was described back in his premiere days, it grew older in a good way. Of course it's not 'the shit" as QT sees it, but it stands Tall on its own. Great title too.

And I just love the opening and closing song, the country elegy "San Antone", sung by Dusty Brooks. I know it from one of my favorite films, obscure and underrated, The Ninth Configuration (1980), directed by George Peter Blatty, based on his novel Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer, Kane. And that's because of Barry De Vorzon, who composed the song and the score for both of these movies. 

Rolling Thunder: 7 out of 10, 3 1/2 out of 5!

                                                           "You learn to love the rope".

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