The second Horton Foote adaption on Mill Creek’s new Through the Decades: 1960s Collection — the other is Baby the Rain Must Fall — this Arthur Penn-directed, Lillian Hellman-written movie is even darker than that film, which I didn’t think was possible.
Anna (Jane Fonda) is married to Bubber (Robert Redford), who is currently in jail. She’s still in love with Jake (James Fox), the rich son of the man who runs Tarl County, Val Rogers (E.G. Marshall). And, yes, the best friend of Bubber.
Sheriff Calder (Marlon Brando) believes that Bubber is innocent of his crimes, but when he breaks out, the entire town starts drinking and arguing over when he’ll come back and what will happen. It gets so bad that Calder is brutally beaten by a gang that feels he hasn’t acted to stop Bubber, but he’s saved at the last minute by his wife Ruby (Angie Dickinson).
Everything builds to an inferno — literally — as the vigilantes set a junkyard that Bubber is hiding in ablaze as his wife and best friend attempt to rescue him.
Hill wasn’t happy with the movie, saying “Everything in that film was a letdown, and I’m sure every director has gone through the same experience at least once. It’s a shame because it could have been a great film.” At one point, Penn was asked if he’d like to re-edit the film back to his original vision, but the experience had too many painful memories, such as producer Sam Spiegel refusing him final cut.
Paul Williams wasn’t either, as three months of work led to two lines getting into the actual movie.
Mill Creek’s new Through the Decades: 1960s Collection has twelve movies: How to Ruin a Marriage and Save Your Life, The Notorious Landlady, Under the Yum Yum Tree, Good Neighbor Sam, Baby the Rain Must Fall, Mickey One, Lilith, Genghis Khan, Luv, Who Was That Lady? and Hook, Line and Sinker. You can get it from Deep Discount.