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The Hunter (1980)


Kid Dabb
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Other than The Blob (1958), Nevada Smith (1966) and The Sand Pebbles (1966) - - I'm not a big Steve McQueen fan.

 

So today as I was talking to a friend who is about 30 years my junior, the conversation began with his pointing out a new Camaro parked on the corner across from where we were standing. He remarked how much he really liked it's styling. I responded by telling him he had picked the one new car design I really disliked. I then added - the one I really liked is the new Challenger, to which he instantly responded by agreeing with me. We both agreed on the Challenger - it's styling is very much like the original from the early 1970s. Sort of a combination Challenger and 'Cuda.

 

To get to the point.. this is when a third friend walked up and the first guy mentions Steve McQueen and we get into this free association thing with him mentioning different cars and all of us trying to recall what films Steve McQueen drove them in.

 

This all came to an end as the first guy brought up Steve McQueen's last film where he was a bounty hunter (he was fairly certain of this) and drove a really cool car - some yellow 60s muscle car.. he thought. I was speechless as I realized I had no idea what Steve McQueen's last film was. Zilch!

 

This drove me straight to Steve's filmography where I discovered The Hunter (1980) - - based on the exploits of real-life bounty hunter Ralph "Papa" Thorson - - where he drives a "1950s convertible".. I don't know what model.

 

Now I am curious. Having not followed Steve McQueens career very closely, I was completely unaware of this film. The fact I have never heard it come up in any conversation or discussion about him is another curiosity. All anyone ever talks about are The Great Escape (1963) and Bullitt (1968).

 

So. Even though it's a 1980 film, I now want to see The Hunter here on TCM.

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I saw the film during its initial run on cable in the 80s. I don't remember much of it, except that Kathryn Harrold plays his wife and goes into labor towards the end of the film and McQueen barely gets there in time.  I also recall Siskel & Ebert reviewing the film, with one of them stating that the part played by Levar Burton was originally meant for a dog. 

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I saw the film during its initial run on cable in the 80s. I don't remember much of it, except that Kathryn Harrold plays his wife and goes into labor towards the end of the film and McQueen barely gets there in time.  I also recall Siskel & Ebert reviewing the film, with one of them stating that the part played by Levar Burton was originally meant for a dog. 

From the few clips I just watched, this film appears to have more of Steve's sense of humor displayed throughout. I believe he could have made a good second career out of being a comedic actor - possibly some dark comedies.

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From the few clips I just watched, this film appears to have more of Steve's sense of humor displayed throughout. I believe he could have made a good second career out of being a comedic actor - possibly some dark comedies.

He was in some comedies, though not very good ones.  Love With the Proper Stranger is the least bad.

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  • 1 month later...

I have always liked this movie, lots of action and McQueen shows a little bit of a comic side, its  a bit of parody of his usual screen persona. But there's a lot of deadly serious stuff going on as well.  I have never understood why this movie got panned so bad at the time, its not there with his very best films but its as good as any of the Clint Eastwood / Burt Reynolds shtick that was popular at the time.  His car is an early 50's Chevy, and Steve has a devil of a time trying to drive it, or any other car for that matter. And they totally trash a brand new Trans Am, take that "Bandit".  Of course this is a sad to watch film because Steve got very sick and passed away soon after doing it.  TCM should definitely air it if they haven't already.

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