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The Hired Hand (1971), Peter Fonda, D

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Thursday, October 19th, 2006


If Eric Rohmer directed a Western, it’d be something like this. A wandering adventurer tries to come home to the family he abandoned. And while Vilmos Zsigmond’s photography is indeed gorgeous, those on the imdb who claim this should be up there with Days of Heaven are forgetting one thing: Terrence Malick’s film had depth, humor, characters you actually cared about. Peter Fonda’s performance here is just transcendently bad. It makes me realize what a genius Victor Nunez is for actually getting some life out of him in “Ulee’s Gold.” The dissolves, freeze frames and Native American flutes on the sound track, well, one would be willing to overlook them as trappings of the time if the movie was any good. But it is not. It is just plain bad.


  1. What?! No! I demand a recount. I guess I like Eric Rohmer westerns then…

    Comment by burch — October 19, 2006 @ 1:48 pm

  2. Ah — so it was *you* who inspired me to put this piece of junk on my queue in the first place!

    It’s funny — because both Fonda and Hopper both followed up Easy Rider with atypical Westerns. I much preferred “The Last Movie,” I suppose, because it had some humor and some oomph. They both had Severn Darden in ‘em, though.

    I don’t mind quiet, understated and beautifully-shot movies. . .but where was the conflict?! And tell me every time Fonda opened his mouth he didn’t sound like a kid flunking out of acting school. And I don’t care how long he grows that damned beard, he does NOT look like a grizzled cowboy. He looks like a skinny kid from LA!!!!

    Comment by Jordan — October 19, 2006 @ 2:14 pm

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