Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"The Chase" with Marlon Brando, E.G. Marshall, Angie Dickinson and Jane Fonda (1966)

Changing societal conventions collide with booze, money and power in this barnburner of a film by director Arthur Penn. Bubber Reeves; played by Robert Redford, escapes from prison; and promptly becomes involved in a crime which results in a murder he does not commit. With the entire state on the lookout for him, he heads home to his South Texas town to see his wife, Anna, played by Jane Fonda. She has been having an affair with the married son of Val Rogers, played by E.G. Marshall, the local oil and cattle baron, who provides a great deal of employment to the people of the town. He also causes a great deal of resentment toward the Sheriff.

Sheriff Calder, played by Marlon Brando, is married to Ruby Calder, played by Angie Dickinson. Together they run the courthouse, seemingly at the direction of Val Rogers. But that myth is shattered the night Bubber returns to town, and the "respectable" citizens show their true colors. All have something to hide, or prove to others, and to themselves.

With Sheriff Calder alone looking out for justice, can justice prevail? Old tensions flare, and the film ends on an apocalyptic note; literally; as the town utterly destroys itself.

Working from the novel by Horton Foote, the screen play by Lillian Hellman captures all the drama of the fragility of the human condition. When a whole town can be so adversely affected by one event, the question of just what constitutes society is called into question.

No comments:

Post a Comment