Scarecrow Screen 6 articles

Scarecrow

1973

Scarecrow Poster
  • As this 'Of Mice And Men'-style odyssey draws to a close, it predictably relinquishes the easy charm of its open acts to veer into more maudlin territory. Suddenly the film is less about two mean chasing their dreams, than it is about the difficulties of returning to a life they abandoned long, long time ago.

  • Slowly, the redemptive vision of that car wash recedes—another ephemeral American dream lost in the haze of living hand-to-mouth, surviving day by day. Not even a companion by your side is guaranteed; Hollywood movies have rarely spoken such tough and tender truths.

  • Approach this disjointed travelogue as the creators' collective exploration, as variations on a theme by Bing and Bob and Hopper and Fonda, and the film opens up—like Hackman, it grows as it goes. And if it doesn't, there's still its gorgeousness: highways, tumbleweeds, and the sunrise through wooden slats on the back of a livestock truck.

  • The passing years have proven Scarecrow's continuing appeal as a low-key character study, a downbeat ode to the downtrodden, an elegy for the American dream gone sour... Where The Panic in Needle Park, Schatzberg's previous collaboration with Pacino, had been intensely focused and almost entirely circumscribed by its eponymous Upper West Side locale, Scarecrow embraces sprawl of both the narrative and geographical variety with freewheeling abandon.

  • There are a lot of questions as we follow these guys around, ones that need not be answered, as they fall in love with each other (platonically) while we fall in love with them. The movie knows we’ll fall for them, but doesn’t force this on us – Schatzberg (and his screenwriter, Garry Michael White) are so clearly fond of Max and Lion, and the actors inhabit their roles so brilliantly, that you trail along with them.

  • With ample gag cuts and physical comedy, Scarecrow’s tone departs from what you might expect of a road movie from the period, and it’s a joy to watch both actors loosened from their tightly-wound brands of intensity (but without compromising on energy—watch what Pacino does when asked to create a distraction inside a department store).

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