Saturday, November 3, 2007

No. 25 - Little Fauss and Big Halsy

This is the only time Robert Redford played a bad guy. He's Big Halsy, a charming rogue who races motorcycles, steals food, sleeps with various women, and drifts from one racetrack to the next. Little Fauss (the great Michael J. Pollard) is a mild-mannered, introverted mama's boy who tags along as Halsy's mechanic. Halsy is a bad influence, and soon gets Fauss into trouble. In one memorable sequence, Fauss and Halsy drive their motorcycles through a herd of sheep, and barely escape the shotgun blasts of some pickup driving rednecks.

Redford and Pollard make for an off-kilter pairing, even by the standards of 70's oddball buddy films (such as Scarecrow and Thunderbolt and Lightfoot).

Johnny Cash contributes a score of songs that comment troubadour-like on the events depicted, and director Sidney J. Furie's semi-documentary approach to the hardscrabble existence of motorcycle racers gives the film an effectively gritty feel. Screenwriter Charles Eastman depicts the lives of society's oddballs with affection and humor.

It is great to see Redford playing the bad guy with such relish. Halsy is really a cad, and Redford has fun with it. If you want to see a different facet of Redford's under-rated acting talent, Little Fauss and Big Halsy is must viewing. Sadly, the film has yet to be released on DVD. In fact, as far as I know, it was never even released on video.

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