Wednesday, February 6, 2013

# 97: Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid (1969)

Note: as my next two films are ones I'd only seen once or twice, I'll be doing two entries this week. #96 will come on Friday at the earliest.

Code-name: Cowboy Bromance

Director: George Roy Hill
Type: Western

Butch Cassidy- Paul Newman
Sundance- Robert Redford
Etta Place- Katherine Ross

Oscar wins:
Best Cinematography
Best Original Score (Burt Bacharach)
Best Original Song "Raindrops keep fallin' on my head" (Burt Bacharach & Hal David)
Best Original Screenplay

Golden Globe for Best Original Score

Oscar & Golden Globe Nominations:
Best Original Song
Best Picture
Best Screenplay


I couldn't help but think during and after this movie how I completely forgot that they were the bad guys. The way Newman & Redford portrayed these guys made the dishonest profession look so good that you want a piece of it. It was my first time seeing either of them in a picture and I understood why, even today, a lot of women find Robert Redford desirable. Even as he's getting on in years, he looks pretty amazing. 

The only other western I saw previous to this was the original "True Grit." Both kept my attention through the entirety of their length (and in the case of "True Grit," all the commerical breaks). But I found the plot and the onscreen chemistry much more enjoyable in this case.

My interest was piqued after overhearing the latest reimagining of a literary duo being compared to Butch & Sundance.
Then of course there was the reference in "Beverly Hills Cop" where Billy Rosewood compares a stand-off to the end of this film.

Butch & Sundance were almost like a single organism because they make up two halves of one whole. Butch was the brains (as references in the line "You just keep thinkin', Butch. That's what you're good at"and Sundance had all the mad skills (btw, is "gunmanship" a word?).  They bounced ideas off each other really well and even finished each other's sentences. That made up the heart and soul, as well as various comedic moments. It was that comedy that occupied my attention for a span of just under 2 hours.

The funniest part I could remember was when the Hole in the Wall gang held up the Union/Pacific Railroad Company to rob boxcars... and ran into the same crew on a robbery maybe 10-20 minutes after the first one. Gotta love those running jokes.

The only negatives I can derive boil down to two scenes.

The Oscar winning song is featured in a scene where Newman is riding a bicycle... and that's it. Sure, it's a cute little song, but did that scene have any bearing on the plot whatsoever?
Talk about a big-lipped alligator moment (a running joke first quoted by Nostalgia Chick, which refers to a scene that comes out of nowhere and after it ends, is never mentioned again... originated from a scene in "All Dogs go to Heaven" that features this alligator

Then when Butch, Sundance and their lady friend Ella are on the run from the authorites, you get a montage of them fleeing all over the states. Something about that sequence just felt off to me, almost uneven, and vastly differed from the feel of the rest of the movie as if it was put together by a completely different director. The accapella soundtrack they also had going in the background... another strange addition I didn't quite get.

As everyone knows, Butch & Sundance find their end in Bolivia in a stand-off with the entire Bolivian army. After running out of ammo, they have no other choice but to rush into the fire and accept what happens.
This results in, perhaps, one of the first times in movies where they freeze the final frame and the movie fades to black as triumphant music plays (with perhaps a few gunshots for good measure).

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