Don't let anybody else's review of this fool you. First of all, it's NOT THAT DATED. Secondly, after not seeing this movie since it came out in 1970, I was able to view it with the eyes of an adult instead of a 14 year old young girl.
I first saw this movie in the Summer of 1970, at a Drive-In Theatre with my parents. We went to the Drive-Ins every Saturday in the Summers. This was when they showed first run movies that were popular and had quality. (of course they showed all the other stuff too)
But there was something about GETTING STRAIGHT that has haunted me since 1970. The movie has always been in the back of my mind, so I finally got straight myself, and purchased a copy. And here goes.....
This movie should have been nominated for some Academy Awards back then. It is a terrific movie, directed by Richard Rush, who made another favorite of mine.... "PSYCH-OUT". But that's another review. Elliott Gould was at the top of his game at the time this movie was made. Harrison Ford??? (plays a bit part as a student in this film) Who was he???? Well, we found out later, didn't we? He must have been in his late 20's when this was filmed.
The Harry Bailey (Gould) character was a "down on his luck kind of guy", living on the fringes of life and society. In the film, he is a Vietnam Veteran, returning to get a Master's Degree. He wants to be a teacher.
If you think his car is a "classic", then you have no idea of being poor. This guy is so at the edge, he'll do anything to survive. He's not a bad person, but he takes too many shortcuts, and in the end, his integrity is at stake. You will see this yourself. The scene with Cecil Kellaway in a cafeteria where he makes tomato soup out of hot water and ketchup should have gotten him the Oscar right there! Not that it hasn't been done before, but this is no comedy. This is REAL LIFE, and it shows what you have to do just to make it every day! Gould crushes the crackers in the glass as if he has done this in his sleep!
Candace Bergen is his "love interest" and also in the end, she makes the right choice.
What was very real to me at the time in 1970, was the Campus Unrest, Protests, Barbed Wire, and the National Guard. Like Vietnam comes to College. Those scenes were "right on" at the time, because we were embroiled in so much. Kent State had just happened on May 4, 1970; we had Nixon/Agnew in office, Vietnam, Conscientous objectors (Can you say Canada?) Campus Unrest, and Tear Gas, Tear Gas, and then more Tear Gas.
This movie ends on a "high note", although smashing up the building isn't an option I favor highly. But you will get the point.
Well I guess I have rallied on long enough. This is a great movie, with some humour, but just to see Gould try to get through every day alone is worth watching. I am sorry he and Mr. Rush didn't get some well deserved Oscars.