Following a string of successful movies in which Steve McQueen developed his brash, cool, loner persona, he decided to take an artistic leap of faith and portray a character going against type. The decision caused him much concern because he wasn't sure if he could do comedy well, and at times felt like the picture might have led to career suicide. In a way, McQueen felt he might have been letting down his fans, betraying the public for doing a comedy.
He needn't have worried. "The Reivers" was well received at the box office in this country, although the foreign market was not as receptive to the story, based on a slice of William Faulkner's Americana. Notwithstanding McQueen's starring role, the story has more to do with a young boy's coming of age, as eleven year old Lucius McCaslin (Mitch Young) embarks on an auto excursion from Jefferson, Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee with rascally Boon Hogganbeck (McQueen) and his own woodpile cousin Ned McCaslin (Rupert Cross). This may be one of the very few times in movie history a familial relationship is suggested between a white boy and a black man, but it works for the story and isn't really a prevailing factor in the telling.
Probably the most effective scenes in the picture involve young Lucius as well. Particularly moving are his conversation with Corrie (Sharon Farrell), a hooker with a heart of gold, and later on with his granddad 'Boss' (Will Geer), after having learned a valuable life lesson about lying, cheating, brawling and womanizing. Those last two were traits of father figure Boon, but Lucius kept his eyes wide open and was a good student of the human condition.
According to Steve McQueen though, the real star of the picture was the yellow Winton Flyer that grandpa Boon bought, which was hijacked by the principal players on their merry journey. The car was made especially for the movie, and was kept by McQueen after filming as part of his personal collection until his death in 1980. It can still be seen and admired at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California.
Action / Comedy / Drama
Action / Comedy / Drama
An old man looks back 60 years to a road trip from rural Mississippi to Memphis, a horse race, and his own coming of age. Lucius's grandfather gets the first automobile in the area, a bright yellow Winton Flyer. While he's away, the plantation handyman, Boon Hogganbeck, conspires to borrow the car, taking Lucius with him. Stowed away is Ned, a mulatto and Lucius's putative cousin. The three head for Memphis, where Boon's sweetheart works in a whorehouse, where Ned trades the car for a racehorse, and where Lucius discovers the world of adults - from racism and vice to possibilities for honor and courage. Is there redemption for reivers, rascals, and rapscallions?
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October 19, 2015 at 06:59 PM