Sinful Davey (1969)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB

, 1969, Screenplay by , based on the novel by Cinematography by , Produced by Music by Production Design by Costume Design by Film Editing by .

John Huston attempts to cash in on the popularity of Tom Jones with another bawdy tale of a capricious rogue, this time an early nineteenth-century Scot named Davey Haggart.  John Hurt plays the lead with effortless charm, a rapscallion whose father was executed for crimes when he was only 21 and exists solely as a monument that young Davey built for him out of the stones he found near the workhouse where he grew up.  Now an adult and free to roam the earth, Davey intends to repeat all the crimes of his notorious father, beginning by abandoning his post playing the drum in the royal marching band, then holding up a stagecoach, breaking out of jail by creating his own brothel within its walls and, his ultimate goal, heading to the Duke of Argyll to rob him as his father did before. Huston later complained that producer Walter Mirisch took over final cut and ruined his vision of the film, but what remains is a delight, frothy and fun and its picaresque narrative paced well to match the breathless passion of its young and naïve protagonist. Brenda Fricker and appear in early roles (as does Huston’s daughter Anjelica, though I couldn’t spot her), while Robert Morley puts a delicious finishing touch to the conclusion as the targeted duke.


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