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The NipkowDisc review of Scarecrow


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watched the tcm premiere of scarecrow last nite at midnite. whether tcm has ever shown it before I doan rightly recollect. the outstanding cinematography of vilmos zsigmond is it's strongest virtue a 'course. it opens with hobo max struggling to get through a wire fence with francis watching from behind a nearby tree and we have our two buddies. the two jaw at a diner and their journey begins. max I guess is on the road after a stint in stir lookin' to get some money for his pittsburgh car wash and francis of the lamp in the box is headin' back home to see annie and his gender-unknown kid. they first make their way to an old girlfriend of max's living in a modest house with her girlfriend. max's girlfriend's girlfriend cooks, they all jaw and then francis the firebug starts one in a tavern and they both get a month on a prison work farm. the overriding barely verbalized trick here is for them both not to wind up bein' scarecrows. on the prison farm they encounter actor richard lynch who plays a prevert. max rebuffs his friendship but not a naive francis. soon francis can't even get up from a table without friend lynch knowin' his whereabouts even if it is just a few feet away. francis keeps tryin' to suck up to an angry max who faults francis for his windin' up in stir again and these constant attempts by francis to reconnect to max are annoying friend lynch something awful. finally friend lynch tries to force francis to...uh...perform oral sex on him. francis finds this offensive and the muscular lynch beats francis' face to a pulp. max seeing what has befallen his friend finally introduces himself to lynch the prevert and pounds on him. once free max and francis are off to pittsburgh once again to found max's car wash but first as max puts it get francis' crap outta the way. francis telephones annie who looks somewhat like sissy spacek. annie has a little boy with dark hair just like francis. annie is none to pleased to hear after so long a time from francis. she cruelly and vindictively lies to francis telling him there was never any child. francis, who started this film halfway to the funny farm already, loses it by a public fountain with some kids. francis' new sojourn begins in a hospital bed as a catatonic courtesy of the miffed annie. max can't bring him around so that's that. the film ends with max at an airport ticket counter buying a round trip ticket to pittsburgh with money he can't seem to dislodge from the heel of his shoe.
I guess he never had any money and was a scarecrow all along and didn't know it. is that right?

imo the problem is jerry schatzberg's direction is too low-key, kinda like Newman and Marvin in pocket money.

anyway, great cinematography by vilmos zsigmond.


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