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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

THE HUNTING PARTY (1971)


In this once trendy (now cluelessly dated) Western, Gene Hackman is on a happy hunting spree with a gaggle of millionaire pals when he hears that his wife has been kidnapped. Switching from bear & bison to badmen, they lay waste with the help of some newfangled telescopic rifles. This repellent mess of a movie opens by juxtaposing Oliver Reed’s outlaw slaughtering a cow while Hackman brutishly screws his young wife, Candice Bergen. So, ah, who’s the cow? Later, Reed forces his loving attentions on the beautiful Bergen, but since he also gives her a first orgasm & jarred peaches, all is forgiven. And it just goes downhill from there as Don Medford cribs undigested style tics from Sergio Leone, Sam Peckinpah & (honest to Pete) Erich Von Stroheim, while fake Ennio Morricone riffs glaze o’er the soundtrack. The film is useful as a gauge to the lows of Hollywood’s SOP in the late-60s/early 70s, but that hardly lets Hackman off the hook. He’s never been worse while, unbelievably, Reed & Bergen have.

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