Our wonderful Gene Hackman in the Seventies series continues with what is arguably the least known of Hackman’s great films, Scarecrow. There is no reason whatsoever for this little masterpiece to have fallen through the cracks. Released in 1973, after Hackman had won his Oscar for The French Connection, and made between Al Pacino’s star turns in the Godfather movies, the film won the grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival to boot. The movie is gritty, funny, heartbreaking, fitting in perfectly with the 70s aesthetic of grimly realistic films highlighting great performances.
Scarecrow is not without its faults–it is a weird, rambling film, and one of those pictures that simply never sits all that well with audiences. But today it’s forgotten, in my opinion, because it examines, with great respect for its characters, the meaning of friendship and poverty. Honestly, I can’t think of the last time there was a great American movie about being poor, and friendship doesn’t sell tickets, I guess.
Of all the films in the Hackman series, I seriously urge you to see this one. Hackman is simply amazing here, and Pacino is the perfect foil. There are so many brilliant scenes between these two actors, on the road, in bars, at a dinner table, in jail–too many to count. And the opening shot of Scarecrow might just be one of the top five in all of cinema history, if not the best.
Scarecrow screens Friday and Saturday at 7:00 and 9:15, Sunday at 5:00 and 7:15. Purchase tickets here.