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Scarecrow

In 1973, after shooting ‘The Godfather’ with Francis Ford Coppola, Al Pacino went back to work with Jerry Schatzberg, the director with whom he made ‘The Panic in Needle Park’ two years before. ‘Scarecrow’ gives us two dotty outsiders, Francis (Pacino), nicknamed ‘Lion’ , an impressionable sailor with a childish grin back from sea, and Max (Gene Hackman), a superficially more worldly character who’s just served six years in San Quentin jail and insists on wearing too many clothes. Both are drifters and dreamers: Max wants to start a carwash; Lion carries a lamp in a box as a gift for a child he’s never met. Their strange pairing, thrown together on a dusty road at the beginning of the film, nods at other outsider male hook-ups, like ‘Waiting for Godot’, ‘Withnail and I’ and ‘Midnight Cowboy’, and ‘Scarecrow’ feels like an existential fairytale squarely rooted in the reality of America’s fraying backroads and small towns. It’s all a little rambling and anarchic, but later scenes in a jail have real bite. And when the sadness behind Lion’s smile is revealed, it’s also genuinely moving.

Release details

Rated: 18
Release date: Friday April 26 2013
Duration: 112 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jerry Schatzberg
Screenwriter: Garry Michael White
Cast: Gene Hackman
Al Pacino
Dorothy Tristan
Ann Wedgeworth
Richard Lynch
Eileen Brennan
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