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BADLANDS, a Great 1973 film !!


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Yes, I said a Great 1973 film.

 

Why? Because this film gives the real feeling of the Charlie Starkweather case.

 

Maybe not factually accurate, but the mood is just right, the two main actors are just right, and the dialogue and script are just right.

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Fred, I couldn't agree more. If you get the chance to see this film on the big screen, don't miss it.

 

Hard to believe that there were two different cinematographers, so cohesive is the vision. One of the most stunning directorial debuts in movie history.

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I was born and raised in Nebraska. This killing spree was a seminal event there and still is the stuff of legend. It was a huge debate year after year about ever releasing Caril Ann Fugate back into society. A lot like Kansans watching "In cold Blood" and remembering the bloodbath that shook that state.

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I lived in several small towns in Nebraska and Wyoming back in 1948, 49, and early 50, and I remember the vast flatlands and the remoteness of everything, with no stores or gas stations in-between the little towns, and the narrow 2-lane highways. And no TV, radio, or movie theaters in many of the towns. And everyone talking rather slowly and talking pretty much about nothing. The film captures the quiet mood of a lot of what I remember from those days.

 

I followed this news story in the late 1950s from my home in the South, since I was interested in becoming a network TV cameraman or reporter, and I remember it being a very major story back then.

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I viewed it as dark comedy. Holly Sargis' running commentary was downright hilarious at times. Kinda reminded me of Woody Allen's Sleeper.. and Kit could charm the rattle off a Diamondback.

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I had not seen Badlands in many years until last night again. Had forgotten the dark comedic nature and just how good of a film that it truly was. Not an easy movie to watch though. The true nature and criminal guilt of the real Caril Ann Fugate has never been proven one way or the other. The movie portrayal was only one of several competing views of her real nature. Sissy Spacek has always been a favorite of mine.

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It is difficult to believe this actually happened.

Holly came across as a naive, intelligent bookish girl, not someone who would be involved in such heinious crimes.

I kept wondering throughout the movie why it was so difficult to catch them considering they were out in open lands and not hiding in some big city.

 

Twink

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Girls never wore shorts like that in the 50's. If girls did , their fathers would've been screaming at them. Mothers would've been crying and driving them to church.

 

Sex sells right ? that's probably what the filmmakers were thinking. They figured guys will be looking at her legs and not her face, Guys might pay too see the movie again just to see her in those short shorts. Just to sell more tickets and make more money.

 

Edited by: classiccinemafan on Oct 30, 2013 12:20 PM

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*Badlands* would be a very different movie without Sissy Spacek. We're always getting Holly's view of things, where she is mostly innocent and her psycho boyfriend looks like James Dean. There's intentionally a big disconnect between what Holly says and what our reaction to a scene is, and this does indeed lead to some very dark comedy at times.

 

For a long time I avoided the film, assuming that Malick glorified the killers, but I think he finds just the tone and just the distance so that he doesn't.

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I understand your sentiments about this film exactly FlyBack. Starkweather was a true murderous evil monster and he is made almost to look like a victim in this film. To make the Starkweather saga almost comedic in spots was a betrayal of his victims, their families and the terrorized citizenry. I never thought Fugate should have been released from prison and should still be there rotting. Anybody not familiar with Starkweather and Fugate should google them and their murderous criminal spree. There was absolutely nothing "funny" about them. They were not victims. They were not counter-cultural "heros". They were simply murderous rats.

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The same could be said of BONNIE and CLYDE. However, the circumstances that brought THEM together differs starkly from Starkweather and Fugate. You could also, in many aspects, see the killing B & C did as survival, rather than motiveless. The social and economic situation, too, was in sharp contrast between the two couples. Barrow had an animosity towards banks, Starkweather was simply a sociopath.

 

Sepiatone

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>I understand your sentiments about this film exactly FlyBack. Starkweather was a true murderous evil monster and he is made almost to look like a victim in this film. To make the Starkweather saga almost comedic in spots was a betrayal of his victims, their families and the terrorized citizenry.

 

I think the reason the screenwriter/director did this was to show what the killers thought of themselves.

 

Much like the way Pancho Villa was portrayed in Viva Villa, which showed the way his own men thought of him.

 

Similar to the way the guys in In Cold Blood were portrayed. And similar to the way Bonnie and Clyde were portrayed.

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Between this glowing review and your obvious joy when Gun Crazy plays, I'm just wondering why you love these films about murderous teenagers, but loathe films where teens may say a few curse words, like when you savaged Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Of course, you'll ignore this just like the last time I brought it up.

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>I kept wondering throughout the movie why it was so difficult to catch them considering they were out in open lands and not hiding in some big city.

 

Wiki says: "All but one of Starkweather's victims were killed between January 21 and January 29, 1958 (the date of his arrest)."

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Starkweather

 

That's just 8 days.

 

I think it took a while for the local police to fully identify the couple and to realize they were on a murder spree.

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One only has to look at the smiling evil photo of Starkweather/Fugate to see how these sociopaths really felt. The director/writers took a rather horrific liberty of portraying how S and F might have viewed themselves in Badlands. I can feel some slight sympathy for the real Bonnie and Clyde after reading their true tale in and of the Great Depression but none for the real In Cold Blood killers and none for Starkweather/Fugate. I can also feel sympathy for the average German WW2 soldiers caught up in the carnage simply through an accident of their birthplace but much much less than zero for their murderous Nazis/SS masters. All depends on the times and circumstances for any event and everything can be viewed from a thousand different directions. Very very hard for any older Nebraskan to view any characterization of S and F with any sympathy after their infamous ride into Hell. That is why Badlands is hard to watch for many of us. Bonnie and Clyde being 25 years farther in the real past is easier viewing.

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> One only has to look at the smiling evil photo of Starkweather/Fugate to see how these sociopaths really felt. The director/writers took a rather horrific liberty of portraying how S and F might have viewed themselves in Badlands. I can feel some slight sympathy for the real Bonnie and Clyde after reading their true tale in and of the Great Depression but none for the real In Cold Blood killers and none for Starkweather/Fugate. I can also feel sympathy for the average German WW2 soldiers caught up in the carnage simply through an accident of their birthplace but much much less than zero for their murderous Nazis/SS masters. All depends on the times and circumstances for any event and everything can be viewed from a thousand different directions. Very very hard for any older Nebraskan to view any characterization of S and F with any sympathy after their infamous ride into Hell. That is why Badlands is hard to watch for many of us. Bonnie and Clyde being 25 years farther in the real past is easier viewing.

 

>Speaking of *In Cold Blood* which CBS would run from time to time on one of their old weekly movie spots. Early on I found it to be an exceptional movie with it's semi-documentary approach and an intelligent film examining a senseless brutal rampage by Robert Blake's half-indian character. But even then in 1967 hollywood liberalism was hard at work minimizing brutal acts of heinous murder. As the film progresses it tries to whitewash the utter senselessness of the murder of the Clutter family. The selling point is Perry's poor relationship with his dad which caused him to explode after learning the take would be only 47 dollars. The film tries to engender sympathy for Perry with lines like "I thought that Mr. Clutter was a very fine gentleman...I thought so right up to the moment I cut his throat". Utterly charming. But of course what director Brooks is really up to is an indictment of capital punishment therefore all the boo-hoo about what a tragedy it is to execute these 2 fine young men in 1965.

 

What invalidated all the misguided hollywood sympathyism for me was growing up and learning *rational adult definitions of right and wrong and good and evil.*

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"In Cold Blood" is most certainly a very chilling though well made film and one in which the use of B and W rather than color made it even more so. As one who does not oppose the death penalty for utterly horrific crimes I don't like portraying actual evil murderous killers in any kind of sympathetic light.

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> "In Cold Blood" is most certainly a very chilling though well made film and one in which the use of B and W rather than color made it even more so. As one who does not oppose the death penalty for utterly horrific crimes I don't like portraying actual evil murderous killers in any kind of sympathetic light.

 

Nor do I. I find most morally misguided.

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I NEVER see any of these spree killers and mass murderers in a favorable light.

 

But a film like BADLANDS allows us to see what the killers think of themselves. And, to me, this is frightening. Especially now that there are a lot of them living among us.

 

Two of them were captured at my favorite Colorado campground about 7 years ago. Young man and woman, killed people in Texas and other places. Stayed at campgrounds because now local police in a lot of towns check out cars and license plates at all motels, late at night, to see if any of the cars are on a "wanted" list.

 

But now, it turns out the feds now do the same thing at federal campgrounds, and that is how they were caught. At MY favorite campground. Yikes!

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Badlands only allowed us to see a perverse fictional representation by the director/writers of their own perverse self actualization of what the killers in real life may have slightly thought of themselves. That's like saying Hitler was not so bad since since he liked dogs. A perverse fiction to sell movies and make money is what Malek wrought in my mind.

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I read that Fugate (Holly) was only in jail for 17 years, that's hard to believe for someone that was involved in such heinous crimes. She married in '07 and her husband was killed in a car accident last August.

 

Who would want to marry her? What was He thinking ?

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In the movie "Holly" only gets probation at the end!!! Probation!! That floored me. Such a gross misrepresentation of the criminal that Fugate actually was in real life. The more I think about the "message" that Badlands was sending as some sort of "truth" the angrier it makes me.

 

Why would somebody marry Fugate?? Guess the idiot man wanted somebody notorious as some sort of perverse trophy. Fugate should never have been paroled.

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