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Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Desert Manhunt!, 13 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here - Digitally Remastered [DVD] (DVD)
Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here is directed by Abraham Polonsky who also adapts the screenplay from the novel Willie Boy: A Desert Manhunt written by Harry Lawton. It stars Robert Redford, Robert Blake, Katharine Ross and Susan Clark. A Technicolor/Panavision production, it has music by Dave Grusin and cinematography by Conrad L. Hall.

"In the summer of 1909 a member of the oldest American minority, a Paiute Indian named Willie Boy, became the center of an extraordinary historical event. This is what happened in the deserts of California."

It's a very intense and captivating movie, sad even, while it is well performed by the boys up top, beautifully photographed and boosted tonally by a haunting musical score that takes its heart from Jerry Goldsmith's score for Planet of the Apes, yet there's just something too Hollywood about it that stops it breaking through into a film worthy of the subject matter.

Problem in the main is that in trying to tune into the coolness of Robert Redford, and he is very smooth here, the focus of the film is more on Redford's Sheriff Cooper than it is Robert Blake's Willie Boy. Oh for sure the Willie Boy axis, as he goes on the run with his Indian girlfriend Lola (Ross unconvincing in race terms but emotionally impressive), is explored, but it's Cooper's movie and that just can't be right. The actual facts of the manhunt and its key areas have been cloaked in grey over the years, so the film makers stick rigidly to one of the stories told while dripping liberal messages in and out of the narrative. It's often a fascinating movie with its changing of the times pulse beat, but as much as I was glad I watched the picture, an overriding sense of unfulfillment still leaves me frustrated.

It was well received by the critics of the day, this in spite of director and stars not seeing eye to eye, and it is a decent movie with great values. But it's just not all that it could have been. 6.5/10

DVD provides a nice print and the feature documentary, Outlaw Trail, is well worth a look.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Jun 2013 19:08:50 BDT
Cool review :) Looking forward to watching this!
Can you tell me if The Outlaw Trail documentary actually has Robert Redford in it presenting it or is he just narrating? Thank you :)

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Jun 2013 15:47:51 BDT
Spike Owen says:
Hiya

Yes, presenting, he's very passionate about his Westerns is Bobby.

Regards

Spike

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Jun 2013 16:00:18 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 Jun 2013 16:01:00 BDT
Hey Spike thanks so much for the reply!

I figured he must be but although there is loads about the book online I can't find anything at all about this documentary.... which is kinda strange with the everything ever being on the internet these days!

Did they make the docu the same time as the book?

Cheers Spike!

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jun 2013 07:59:55 BDT
Spike Owen says:
I honestly don't know? It would make sense though.

You may be interested to know that the latest edition of Total Film magazine has an excellent 6 page Robert Redford spread.

Regards

Spike

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jun 2013 11:37:43 BDT
You are so right I am VERY interested to know that! lol .... will be picking up a copy today.... thanks so much for the heads up!!! :)

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jun 2013 14:08:20 BDT
Spike Owen says:
My absolute pleasure.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Jun 2013 12:12:31 BDT
A little bird told me 'Tell Them Willie Boy' has been bought for my birthday next week....... am somewhat happy about that!!

My friend and I have been having a bit of a Redford fest recently.... good times! .... (and my God he made some great films!)

Have been a big fan of his for years.... ('Butch Cassidy' and 'The Way We Were' in my all time top 10 since a teen) .... but only just catching up with some of his others..... 'Great Waldo' ... 'The Chase' .... 'Property is Condemned' ...... yada yada........

... and jeeeez 'All the Presidents Men' .... what a film!!

So 'Willie Boy' is one of the few still left to see..... can not wait.....

Man he rocked the 70's .... and late 60's ... and 80's ..... !

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2013 15:39:31 BDT
Spike Owen says:
I'm a fan as well!

I rewatched Butch and Sundance two nights ago.

Willie Boy is a good film for Redford fans, enjoy, and have a good birthday!

Spike

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jun 2013 10:47:36 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Jun 2013 10:54:55 BDT
Heh! ... I watched it just yesterday....!

I freelance so get to watch as I work...... and that my friend, is the way to work ;)

Such an incredible movie.... been in my all-time Top 3 since a teen.... it really doesn't get much better than those two huh! Dread to think how many times I've watched it over the years.... still makes me snort all the way through.... great great writing and deliveries.... great GREAT boys!

War Hunt hit my doormat yesterday.... the latest in the back catalogue of old as yet un-seen to watch Redford! ... Rate interesting film... (kinda arty!)... Wasn't expecting much Redford as it was his 'introduction' and lower billed but it's pretty much his film! ... Great early one.... you can see where it's all going!
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Location: Birmingham, England.

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