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Flicks: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. Newman and Redford are great together. I saw The Sting years ago and loved it. But this is different. The focus is on relationships much more than in The Sting. Redford and Newman are together in nearly every scene, which gives us more time to see them interact with to one another. Even in their gang, Butch and Sundance are the real team. It’s never said how they got together and it’s clear that there is much they don’t know about each other. But they trust each other and they have each other’s back to the end no matter how much they bitch. Their relationship is complicated, and that’s without the woman in between them.

Which brings me to the love triangle. From the bicycle scene in the beginning of the movie – which I remember seeing first in the Muppet Movie decades ago – it’s clear that Butch loves Etta easily as much as Sundance does. But never in the film does it become an issue. It lies beneath the surface the entire time, never boiling over. Etta loves them both and they both love her. And when the time comes, as it must, for the tragedy to end, she leaves because she doesn’t want to see either of them die.

Newman continues to play the cocky smart ass. It’s interesting to see how he carries on that personality from character to character. Yet it develops subtly. He’s certainly not the naïve young show off from The Hustler. Butch talks a lot of shit, but you can tell he knows it’s shit. He knows the life he’s leading will end badly, but he goes along with it to the end. It is much more Cool Hand Luke than Fast Eddie Felson. To the last moment he’s coming up with new ideas. They both know this is it, but what’s the point of dwelling on that?

The Music was a bit disorienting. Burt Baccarach’s score is surreal to hear in a Western. With the shots of wide-open spaces, deserts and mountains, one expects more dramatic music. Baccarach totally turns it around with a ‘contemporary’ soundtrack throughout.

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