BIGFOOT WEEK: The Legend of Bigfoot (1975)

According to The Weirdest Movie Ever Made, the book we reviewed at the start of the week, the Patterson-Gimlin film may have made Patterson rich, but Gimlin at first wanted nothing to do with it.

Yet according to author Phil Hall, “After Patterson’s death, Gimlin approached his former partner’s widow, Patricia Patterson, regarding the failure to provide him with the profits from the screenings of the Bluff Creek film. Unable to settle amicably with Mrs. Patterson, Gimlin filed a lawsuit against her…” with the end result being Gimlin was eventually “rewarded 100 percent of all past, present and future publication rights of the imagery connected to the film.”

After this victory, Gimlin was convinced that he should sue American National Enterprises, which is the company behind 1975’s Sasquatch: Legend of Bigfoot.

Turns out that while Bigfoot was difficult to find in the wild, he was easy to find in the courtroom. American National Enterprises was also suing our old friends  Sunn Classic Pictures, claiming that they were illegally using the Patterson-Gimlin film for The Mysterious Monsters. American National Enterprises and Sunn Classic Pictures may have settled out of court, but René Dahinden, author of the book Sasquatch, was bankrolling Gimlin’s legal battles.

Gimlin was, at heart, a cowboy and had little interest in the stress of these battles. You’ll have to read the book to learn more — I don’t want to give away more of Hall’s fine work for free — because it’s time that we get to Ivan Marx.

Don’t get confused. This is the second 1975 entitled The Legend of Bigfoot. And this one is all about Ivan Marx, created by Ivan Marx and narrated by Ivan Marx. According to Wikipedia, the film receives “praise focused largely on the nature footage and the new information about cryptozoology, but criticism largely focused on Marx’s rambling voice-overs (seen by some as self-promotion) and the poor-quality Bigfoot footage, that most have accepted as a hoax. However, to this day, there are many supporters of Marx, who consider him a true explorer and pioneer in the field of cryptozoology.”

If you watch this movie and come away thinking that Ivan Marx and his wife Peggy, who would go on to also make In the Shadow of Bigfoot and Bigfoot: Alive and Well in ’82, are the Ed and Lorraine Warren of the Bigfoot world, then you’re not alone.

Get ready for 70 some odd minutes of rambling raconteur Ivan Marx telling some tall tales. He opens facing the camera, telling us that this movie is the result of ten years of research and he stands behind every word. Seeing as how I had no idea who Ivan Marx was before this movie began, I was inclined to listen.

After explaining to us his pedigree as a tracker, showing us his wife and the cougar pups that live on their ranch and talking about the first men who told him of Bigfoot, Marx learns about the land of petrified wood from his brother-in-law, a place where carvings tell the tale of giant hand and foot having monsters stealing children.

After a series of cow murders and a dead bear near some large tracks, he begins trying to hunt and study something he barely believes in. This takes him to the Oh-mah statues in the redwoods and all along the Oregon coast to no avail.

While on a job filming a cinnamon bear, he’s able to capture footage of the beast. Nobody believes him and he becomes being questioned by science. Then he takes us on a tour of b-roll footage of injured squirrels, goats in the dirt, glaciers melting, the Trans-Alaska pipeline, Bigfoot painters, the Northern Lights and more.

He even gets the promise that he’ll see Bigfoot from an Eskimo and while he gets the footage of some shining eyes, he doesn’t see the creature…because he disappeared behind a rainbow. You can’t make this stuff up. Well, you can.

We then watch more nature footage of salmon, geese, moose, caribou and more until we see a young Bigfoot in the stream. The other animals — all from other b-roll footage of course — aren’t afraid. “Bigfoot is a benevolent creature!” Yep, Marx also figures out that the creature is mostly a vegetarian with occasional fish meals. Yes, this movie taught me that Bigfoot is a pescetarian!

Luckily, Marx isn’t giving up here. He’s figured out Bigfoot’s migratory patterns and he’s on the search for the creature…all in the hopes of protecting him from mankind.

This film was directed by Harry Winer, who would go on to direct two of Becca’s favorite movies, the Jamie Lee Curtis starring House Arrest and SpaceCamp. It’s a shambling mess of a film and your ability to enjoy it will be solely determined by how much of Ivan Marx’s carny spirit you can stomach. As for me, I’ve spent more than half my life as a professional wrestler, so I was all in for this.

You can watch it for free on Amazon Prime and at the Internet Archive.

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