Directed by Clint Eastwood (1980, USA, 116 minutes, English)
As we were digging through Sag Harbor Cinema’s gigantic poster collection last week, we uncovered a series of standout posters from Clint Easwtood films - most notably The Gauntlet. Eastwood, like another SHC favorite Fred Wiseman, turned 90 this year. As different from each other as they may seem as directors, Eastwood and Wiseman share more than meets the eye: the fierce independence of their vision, the longevity of their careers, and a proclivity for artistic solitude that is very American (and reminiscent of a cowboy’s lone journey).
We chose an unusual Eastwood for this week’s Movie-of-the-Week, and one that reflects his more playful, self mocking side -a very defining part of his “aura” that is usually forgotten or overshadowed by the more well-known “steely” Clint. An early incarnation of what today would be considered an action-comedy, and a film strangely similar to George Romero’s Knightriders in its deceiving simplicity and melancholic undercurrent, our MOTW Bronco Billy explores how old West values fit (or do not fit) into a modern world.
In his seventh feature film, Eastwood directs himself and Sondra Locke (his then partner and frequent collaborator) as the two stars of a deteriorating traveling circus: “Bronco Billy’s Wild West Show.” Billy (Eastwood) is a former shoe salesman from New Jersey, reincarnated as “the fastest gun in the West,” and now performing stunts with knives and two Single Action Army pistols. Locke plays Antoniette, a spoiled heiress that becomes his female assistant strapped to a revolving disc, and on the receiving end of his blades and bullets.
The film can be streamed through Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, or Vudu.