The Electric Horseman (1979)

SYDNEY POLLACK

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBB

USA, 1979.  Wildwood Enterprises.  Screen story by , , Screenplay by Robert Garland, from a story by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1979.  

Enjoyable drama that succeeds mostly because of the terrific chemistry between its two attractive leads. Robert Redford stars as a former rodeo champion who is now as famous for promoting a nationally popular cereal brand as he is for showing up at PR functions drunk and disoriented. When he discovers that his corporation’s new multimillion dollar merger is dependent on the sale of a doped-up, abused racehorse, Redford kidnaps the animal and rides across the country in an effort to save his four-legged friend and maybe regain his own soul. Along for the ride is a savvy television reporter (Jane Fonda, who played the same job in The China Syndrome the same year) who is anxious to get a good story out of this front-page has-been. The screenplay is rife with strong dialogue, and does a terrific job of pointing a big finger at the lamentable commercialization of America, but in its final third it becomes a product of its own enemy by shifting the emphasis to sex, romance and sunsets. Thankfully, the post-Klute Fonda’s presence is always too grounded to let anything become fluffy, while Redford is impressively animated as the aw-shucks cowboy with the heart full of oats ‘n’ honey.

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