Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Short Rewinds: Junior Bonner (1972), Green Mansions (1959)

"JUNIOR BONNER" (Sam Peckinpah, 1972)

A contemporary rodeo western meets dysfunctional family comedy, Junior Bonner, although bearing the signature slow-motion and rapid-intercutting techniques, is a far more lax and gentler Sam Peckinpah film.

The first collaboration between he and Steve McQueen (they would team up immediately afterwards on The Getaway) Junior Bonner was not a financial success, but watching it today, although a bit tame, reveals itself to be a well-rounded and deftly arranged film - not so much about facing your past and moving forward, but about hanging on, eight seconds at a time. [B+]

"GREEN MANSIONS" (Mel Ferrer, 1959)

A soggy love-mess, this adaptation of the 1904 William Henry Hudson novel about a revenge-minded adventurer (Anthony Perkins) who falls in love with a forest girl (Audrey Hepburn) is a Pocahontas-like saga of the power of love and redemption, blah, blah.

Trying to take advantage of its wide-canvas CinemaScope form, Green Mansions shot some footage on location in the jungles of South America, but anything involving the cartoon-like Audrey Hepburn and the crooning Anthony Perkins is clearly being performed on the Hollywood backlot. There's even a baby deer that nips at the heels of Mrs. Hepburn wherever she goes. [C]

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