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Directed by Jerry Schatzberg

USA, 1973

Cornerhouse, 21 July 2013


After this movie is over, long after, it haunts the memory.

Scarecrow and Lion (Hackman and Pacino) meet on the road, where they give each other their respective moniker (there’s the Wizard of Oz allusion to pick up on, naturally) and become partners in a business enterprise.  He, Scarecrow, is looking to set up a car wash, in Pittsburgh of all places.  And maybe he does in the end.

When all’s said and done,  it’s a film about the transformative power of friendship and the enduring promise of America, Hart Crane’s and most likely also Jim Tully’s America, updated to the early 1970s.  Crane’s vision of America as ‘an empire wilderness of freight and rails’ (and throw in there as well: working class bars, roadside cafes & prison farms) – that’s more or less what you get.

An aside: as an oxymoron, ‘empire wilderness’ takes some beating.

Scarecrow, a potent and beautiful film, is showing again on Wednesday as part of the Matinee Classics season.  Further details are here.