Thomasine and Bushrod (1974)

GORDON PARKS JR.

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5

USA, 1974. , . Screenplay by . Cinematography by . Produced by , Max Julien. Music by . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by .

Gordon Parks, Jr., son of the director of The Learning Tree and Shaft, directs this spirited and stylish African American answer to Bonnie And Clyde. is marvelous as Thomasine, a bounty hunter who spots a wanted poster offering a reward for the capture of her ex-lover J.P. Bushrod (, who also writes and produces). She seeks her old flame out and abandons her lucrative career, deciding instead to team up with him and become outlaws, crossing the southwest robbing banks and holding up rich capitalists, then giving the money to oppressed communities of indigenous and black Americans. The period details are iffy thanks to the film’s low budget, but nothing about it looks haphazard or cheap, Parks assembles a series of exciting action sequences that are pulled off with style, and always emphasizes a wise sense of humourous abandon that rejects the guilty conscience that flavours Arthur Penn’s classic; as a result the similar ending generates a very different feeling.  Features the legendary Juanita Moore in a supporting role.

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