Thursday, January 21, 2016

"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"

Thanks to the good people at Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events, we were able to see the 1969 classic movie, "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", on the big screen at the Cinemark North yesterday.  I saw this movie when it was released in 1969, and have seen it, or at least parts of it many times since, but it has been a long time since I have watched it straight through, and, as we have discovered via these TCM/Fathom events showings, there is noting like seeing a movie like this on a big screen in a movie theater.

For example, do you remember how this movie starts out in sepia tones, transforms to full color, and then goes back to sepia at certain points?  I didn't, but seeing it again, it was stunning.  No wonder it won the Oscar for cinematography.

And how great is it to once again see just how stunningly beautiful Katherine Ross was.

And, of course, one of the most memorable "death scenes" in all of movies, didn't actually show the deaths of Butch and Sundance, but rather this freeze-frame:

What an absolutely perfect way to end that movie.

The showing of this movie yesterday was bookended by comments from TCM's Ben Mankiewicz.  He told of how the producers originally wanted to cast this movie.  Paul Newman was first cast as the Sundance Kid, and Jack Lemmon was to play Butch Cassidy. For whatever reason, Lemmon didn't do it, so Newman was moved to the role of Butch, and the producers approached Steve McQueen to play the Kid.  Disagreements about how Newman and McQueen would be billed led McQueen to decline the project.  The producers than seriously considered both Warren Beatty and Marlon Brando to play the Sundance Kid.  When those choices didn't work out, director George Roy Hill convinced the producers to cast the relatively unknown young Robert Redford for the role.  In baseball, they often say that the best trades are the ones that you don't make.  The same logic applies to how this movie was cast because in retrospect, you just can't possibly see anyone other than Newman and Redford as Butch and Sundance.

"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Director, it lost to "Midnight Cowboy" and Hill lost to John Schlesinger, but it did win four Oscars: Screenplay (William Goldman), Cinematography, Original Score (Burt Bacharach), and Original Song (Bacharach and Hal David).

The next big TCM/Fathom showings will include Hitchcock's "To Catch a Thief" and the Bogart classic "The Maltese Falcon".  Watch for those.

And as for that Oscar winning Best Song?  It was "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head", and here is how it played in the movie:

1 comment:

  1. I recall seeing this movie on the big screen at the East Land Shopping Center (near North Versailles) in 1969 and consider this an entry in my top 10 of favorite movies. I also enjoyed seeing the comely Katherine Ross and how Paul Newman seemed to enjoy this role. Whenever I hear "Raindrops are falling on my Head" I get a peaceful easy feeling because I recall the girl I took to this flick back in 1969 before I left for service in the USN. Her name was also Katherine and fitting for that era she gave me a string of red"love beads" after the show that were lost somewhere in S.E. Asia during more unpleasant times. Thanks for jogging my memory bank today.