Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
USA, 1973. The Malpaso Company. Screenplay by Jo Heims. Cinematography by Frank Stanley. Produced by Robert Daley. Music by Michel Legrand. Production Design by Alexander Golitzen. Costume Design by Joanne Haas, Glenn Wright. Film Editing by Ferris Webster. Golden Globe Awards 1973.
One of Clint Eastwood’s more low-key directorial efforts, and the last one in which he did not star in until Bird in 1988. Kay Lenz is terrific as a young, carefree hippie who finds herself stranded in a ritzy Los Angeles neighbourhood. She hits up a straight-laced real estate agent (William Holden) for a ride into town and they are at odds from the beginning, she chattering away with her far-out, groovy attitude toward life and he throwing in the odd salty barb defending the establishment. During their ride, they rescue a dying dog they find on the side of the road and it ends up giving them a reason to spend more time together, which eventually leads to a genuine friendship that, despite their massive age difference, turns to love. The spate of films made in the early seventies about the uncomfortable clash between generations are usually bitter (Save The Tiger) or sentimental (Harry And Tonto), but Eastwood makes somehow manages to create something credible out of the highly unlikely circumstances that these two find themselves in, then provides an intelligent investigation of them. What scares these two once they get serious isn’t so much the attitude of their friends or the fact that they can’t spend much time in each other’s world, it’s the fear that comes with realizing that settling down into a committed relationship forces them to change: she’s now in something more traditional than she’s used to despite her trying to be unconventional about it, and he is part of something more radical than he’s comfortable with regardless of how hard he tries to keep it low key. The chemistry between the stars is friendly and warm and the pace has an easy gait to it that makes for a film that, while not unforgettable, feels like it deeply respects its characters and audience equally.