Director: Peter Fonda
Cast involved: Peter Fonda, Warren Oates, Verna Bloom
Living the dream
Jesus may have not packed a six-gun, or spent most of his wages being ‘entertained’ in the back rooms of a border town saloon by some chiffon-clad minx called Saucy Sue, but there are mythic, quasi-religious allegories everywhere you look in the western genre.
One person who was clearly aware of this – and took full advantage of it – was Peter Fonda, who was able to direct this chilled-out fable of a hippified west – in which a band of weary travellers choose to re-embrace rustic minimalism – following the success of 1969’s ‘Easy Rider’.
It’s notable mainly for its incandescent, magic-hour photography care of cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond (the skinny-dip opening scene is terrific) and the whispered exchanges between the key cast, Fonda, Warren Oates and Verna Bloom. But proceedings are hampered somewhat by the narcissism of its director-star, who can’t resist top-and-tailing so many scenes with a fashion-shoot-style self-portrait in which he adopts some angular pose and glances pensively into the middle distance like some Laurel Canyon messiah.
It’s an appealing take on the cowboy code of honour, even if it’s not technically ‘great’. DJ