Friday, January 1, 2016

The eyes have it

Just watched Wise Blood, a 1979 film directed by John Huston. Quite good, and very faithful to Flannery O'Connor's book as I recall it.

Brad Dourif is magnificently intense. This comes just a few years after he debuted as the ill-fated Billy Bibbit. in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. On the other hand, his career as psycho villain in the Rings movies and every sci-fi/paranormal TV show from 1990 on still lay in the future. As Hazel Motes, a veteran who protests a little too much at the existence of God, he's nasty to everyone and shows no sign of any sense of humor. The effect, of course, is hilarious.

Ned Beatty makes a good appearance too. Overall this is a bonanza for character acting.


susan said...

We have seen this movie in the past few years. Dourif was very good as the obviously disturbed young man who wants to open a Church Without God and you're right the other characters were well cast - I always liked Harry Dean Stanton and Ned Beatty. However, it didn't go on our list of movies to watch again some time. It wasn't unwatchable by any means but the story itself seemed somewhat unfocussed. Then again, I haven't read the book by Flannery O'Connor so that likely made a difference.

There's no doubt John Huston was an amazing film director - and most always made sure he had a part to play.

Ben said...

Harry Dean Stanton has been one of my faves since I saw Alien, although he was an accomplished character actor way before that. He doesn't disappoint here either. His daughter is very good too, although I don't remember seeing her in anything else.

The story is picaresque, in a dark way. That tends to carry a risk that it will look like nothing is happening, or at least that nothing matters. So I can see whereof you speak, although I was into it.

Yeah, Huston did give himself a juicy little part here.

Interesting that I read afterwards Huston had updated the story to the 1970s. That's only apparent in a couple of scenes. The way the characters talk, dress, and act would be compatible with a 1950s period film. Maybe that's a Southern thing.