Monday, 14 April 2008

DONNY QUIXOTIC (Paul Mazursky, 1976)

A modern re-imagining of the Cervantes novel, with Jeff Bridges as a burned out acid casualty drifting through the South in the early nineteen seventies convinced it is the eighteen seventies.
He is armed with pretend six-guns and wearing chaps.

Elliot Gould stars as a quasi-Sancho character, attempting to reign in his dreamy friend's wanderings with sarcasm. They drift ever onwards, across dustbowl car-parks, seeking trouble or drama. They pick up fellow dreamer, Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, who provides the soundtrack with a blissfil, wistful country set.

Every turn sees Bridges' naive hippy politics challenged by the cruel, complex seventies. His attempts to save bruised stripper Ellen Burstyn from her fate, and his efforts to first fight and then educate some young theives result in ever depressing scenes; Bridges plays Quixotic as the ever-smiling hopeful who cannot see that his knight-in-shining-armour shtick is old-hat and useless. The drama comes from his do-gooder ego ever-inflating against a background of ever-diminishing returns, resulting in a a sun-dried flip to Scorcese's Taxi Driver, another film with a delusional protagonist. Originally to star Warren Beatty as Quixotic (a move that would have rendered the character as agreeably less sympathetic but unbelievable as a Summer of Love refugee), the film stands as a quiet lost treatise on the inability to be a hero in ther modern world.

One scene, in which Quixotic sits at a bar with a weary cowboy played by Sam Elliot, was recreated in the Coen Brothers' The Big Lebowski with the same actors. Indeed, Bridges as The Dude in the latter film could indeed be Donny Quixotic shorn of his righteous zeal and hope, resigned after the years to comfort and underachievement. The 'Dude Abides' line, repeated in Lebowski, is also a nod to Donny Quixotic's 'A Knight Abides' line.

Donny Quixotic Directed by: Paul Mazursky Produced by: Steve Spink/ Warren Beatty/ Paul Mazursky Written by: Ted Tucker, adapted from the Cervantes novel AVCO Embassy Pictures Starring: Jeff Bridges, Elliot Gould, Ellen Burstyn, Dennis Wilson, Sam Elliot Music by: Dennis Wilson Release Date US: December 1976 Release Date UK: February1977 RunningTime: 114mins Tagline: ''The White Knight Rides"

No comments:

Post a Comment