Release Date: May 17th, 1974
Directed by: John Hough
Written by: Leigh Chapman, Antonio Santean
Based on: The Chase by Richard Unekis
Music by: Jimmie Haskell
Cast: Peter Fonda, Susan George, Adam Roarke, Vic Morrow, Roddy McDowall
Academy Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, 93 Minutes
“I’m gonna eat your lunch, you long-haired faggot!” – Hanks
Peter Fonda starred in several counter culture and road movies in the late ’60s and into the ’70s. So his casting here was pretty perfect and he owns every scene that he’s in.
However, the bulk of the work isn’t just on Fonda, as we also have Susan George, who is exceptional in this, and Adam Roarke, who I always liked but felt was grossly underutilized. Roarke truly gets to shine in this and it’s damn cool to see.
The film also has Vic Morrow in it, as a villainous sheriff, as well as Roddy McDowall in a smaller role. However, any McDowall appearance is worth mentioning.
The story is very Bonnie and Clyde-esque, as it follows a criminal that takes his girlfriend and a buddy along with him, as law enforcement closes in, creating a massive on-the-road manhunt.
While I do like this film a lot, it’s pretty slow for the first two acts. I enjoy the characters and the performances are damn good, especially between the main trio, but there seems to be a lot of filler and chatter. Sure, it helps to build up the characters but this didn’t really get to the good stuff until the long, great finale ramped up in the last half hour.
Once this does get going, it’s fucking perfect, though.
I dug the hell out of the vehicle stunts and all the sequences with the helicopter were damn impressive. I never tire on this sort of stuff, especially from this era when filmmakers couldn’t rely on CGI and post-production visual trickery. Everything in these action scenes had to be captured by real film in real time.
All in all, this is a motion picture that is a reflection of its time and that time’s trends. The story and how it plays out may be predictable and leave you with a feeling of hopelessness but the ’70s were a bleak decade and this doesn’t shy away from that.
Pairs well with: other counterculture films with Peter Fonda in them.