A Movie A Day: Quint checks out POCKET MONEY (1972) You can’t buy back a bad impression.
Published at: June 12, 2008, 12:28 a.m. CST by quint
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day.
[For those now joining us, A Movie A Day is my attempt at filling in gaps in my film knowledge and plowing through the hundreds of DVDs I own for movies I haven’t seen. Each day I’ll talk about a film I haven’t previously seen and each film will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.]
Today we follow Lee Marvin over from POINT BLANK to 1972’s buddy comedy western POCKET MONEY co-starring Paul Newman and directed by Stuart Rosenberg from a script co-written by John Gay and Terrence “Terry” Malick.
I was bored out of my mind with this movie. Sorry to say, but I think it’s a huge misfire. You cast two incredible personalities like Marvin and Newman with a script by Terrence Malick and you get a sloppy, awkward and just dull movie… that’s almost a crime.
The plot focuses on a mismatched pair, Newman and Marvin, who are trying to gather together 200 head of Mexican cattle for a shady money man to use in rodeos all across the US. Newman plays the role country dumb… likable, but Bush-like. Marvin’s a little more successful playing a guy who is comfortable at the bottom and isn’t very good at raising his stature, but pretends like he is.
The movie is looped like no tomorrow… the audio difference is jarring every time they cut to a canned studio ADR session and it’s all over the movie leading me to believe they either got a raw deal on cheap microphones or a lot of post-shooting reworking was done to the script.
Malick wrote a far more successful buddy picture called THE GRAVY TRAIN (aka THE DION BROTHERS) starring Stacy Keach and Frederic Forrest that came out two years after this film and got everything POCKET MONEY tried and failed at completely right on.
That’s not to say this one didn’t have a lot going for it. Strother Martin is back being the awesome personality he is (and seemingly tied to Newman, since he appeared in HARPER and will be in tomorrow’s COOL HAND LUKE). In this he plays the shady money dude that finances the Mexican cattle round up. Richard Farnsworth (the sheriff from MISERY and star of Lynch’s THE STRAIGHT STORY), a well used stunt guy at the time, pops up at the beginning of the movie and so does Hector Elizondo in a small role as an angry Mexican antagonist for our lead pair.
POCKET MONEY should have been a great movie, but it’s a mess. If you didn’t get to it, I recommend avoiding and just skipping over to COOL HAND LUKE.
Coming in the next seven days:
Thursday, June 12th: COOL HAND LUKE (1967)
Friday, June 13th: THE ASPHALT JUNGLE (1950)
Saturday, June 14th: CLASH BY NIGHT (1952)
Sunday, June 15th: SCARLET STREET (1945)
Monday, June 16th: KILLER BAIT (aka TOO LATE FOR TEARS) (1949)
Tuesday, June 17th: ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS (1964)
Wednesday, June 18th: CITY FOR CONQUEST (1940)
Tomorrow’s COOL HAND LUKE. I need to wash the boredom away and I think that movie’s just the cure… We follow Paul Newman, Strother Martin and director Stuart Rosenberg over… See you then!