(director/writer: Stanley Kramer; screenwriter: Marc Norman; cinematographer: Robert Surtees; editor: Folmar Blangsted; music: Henry Mancini; cast: George C. Scott (Mase), Faye Dunaway (Lena Doyle), John Mills (Cleon Doyle), Jack Palance (Hellman), William Lucking (Marion), Harvey Jason (Wilcox), Ted Gehring (Wobbly), Cliff Osmond (Massive Man); Runtime: 108; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Stanley Kramer; Sony Pictures Entertainment; 1973)
“Though having good production values, almost everything else stinks.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A Stanley Kramer(“Ship of Fools”/”The Defiant Ones”/”Judgment of Nuremberg”) dud. Though having good production values, almost everything else stinks. The screenplay by Marc Norman is dry, the casting is a curious one, and most of the talented actors overact. Also the slight plot runs out of gas before the third act concludes. The social conscious filmmaker still delivers his ugly message of businessmen who piss on each other as the normal way of doing business. It might please his fans that Kramer, as expected, sides with the individual over the corporation, but the film is a clunker and watchable only for the scenic views.
In 1913, in Oklahoma, loner female Lena Doyle (Faye Dunaway), into the feminist trip before its time, reluctantly allows her estranged neglectful dad, Cleon (John Mills), who abandoned her when her mom died, and the drifter Mase (George C. Scott), who the guilt-ridden dad hired in a hobo campo to protect her wildcatting oil rig from being shut down by the Pan Okie oil trust, after refusing to sell to the big corporate outfit. The oil company is represented by the mean-spirited Hellman (Jack Palance). Meanwhile Mase runs the derrick, and eventually melts the cynical man-hating Lena’s heart and they become lovers. When Hellman’s goons beat the piss out of Mase and drive them off the land, they get up enough gumption to return and before the goons return to carry out further beatings, a gusher comes in.
It’s a plodding and predictable adventure film, that failed to hold my interest.
REVIEWED ON 8/24/2014 GRADE: C