HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Great Waldo Pepper, The Daredevil
Year: 1975
Director: George Roy Hill
Stars: Robert Redford, Bo Svenson, Bo Brundin, Susan Sarandon, Geoffrey Lewis, Edward Herrmann, Philip Bruns, Roderick Cook, Kelly Jean Peters, Margot Kidder, Scott Newman, James S. Appleby, Patrick W. Henderson Jr
Genre: Drama, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Nebraska 1926, and aviator Waldo Pepper (Robert Redford) takes to the skies, hopping from smalltown to smalltown, entertaining the folks who live there. Typically he will fly over the houses to announce his arrival - after all, it's not often a plane is seen overhead there - then land and begin his spiel, talking up his achievements and telling them what a fantastic time they will have if they pay him to take them up in his plane. Then, once his day is through, he will often be invited back for a meal where he can tell his wartime stories. It's a grand life...

But all good things must come to an end, and The Great Waldo Pepper states that most expressively in one of the major flops of star Redford's career, not that he was anything other than perfect for the role. Script author William Goldman believed he knew the reason for that, and expounded on it in his classic book Adventures in Screenwriting, but the truth was the whole film took a long look at what it meant to be a hero, whether in real life or in the movies, and was not entirely impressed with what it saw. Not that Waldo and his ilk were depicted as idiots, quite the reverse, but the sympathies were weighed up against the sacrifices and derring-do was found wanting.

This being the nineteen-seventies, where the Vietnam War was winding down with America the losing side, it was only natural movies with such themes would look back to what was erroneously thought of as a simpler time to see where it had all gone wrong as after all, the Allies had won the First World War all those years ago. But by setting their film some time after it was over, with the survivors of combat who had found a talent in flying they were reluctant to let go, director George Roy Hill and Goldman were able to muse over their heroes and ask, as so many had done before, what happens to them once the fighting has stopped? The answer to that in the case of the stunt flyers was that they could not give it up.

But let's not forget we were seeing actual, modern day (for 1975) stuntmen performing amazing feats for our entertainment here, in this movie. Rickety biplanes are pressed into service for truly hair-raising activities, and we hardly needed the tragedies that take the rest of the story to unfold to let us in on the idea that what was going on here was dicing with death, all for the sake of cinema. That included performers getting out of the planes in mid-air to walk across the wings, and such was Hill's desire for realism that there were barely any special effects shots here at all - Redford and co-star Bo Svenson were among those taking part, for added authenticity.

So if there's so much spectacle here, why did it fall out of favour so badly almost from the minute it was released? Goldman, as mentioned, pinned it down to the fateful scene where Susan Sarandon's character is invited to become part of the stunt flyer's act, yet the plot could have survived this if it hadn't followed it with an even grimmer sequence hot on its heels. All the way through an unease with the public who demanded better, more outrageous entertainment shows through, likening those who ask their "stars" to put their lives on the line in whatever field to those who will ask their soldiers to go off to war, and an accusation like that can turn an audience off to your movie. By the stage Waldo is part of the Hollywood industry, he meets the greatest fighter ace ever (Bo Brundin) and they reach an understanding that they are better than those who watched them and pushed them into service, leaving the film uncomfortable for many reasons, but oddly haunting for its admirers. Music by Henry Mancini.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 5377 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

George Roy Hill  (1921 - 2002)

American director, more at home with character than story, with a wide range of subjects under his belt. He started in television and theatre, and his first films were stage adaptations, but with The World of Henry Orient he appeared to find his voice in film. Other nineteen-sixties work included the epic Hawaii and musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, but he enjoyed a monster hit with light hearted western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

It's this mixture of the serious and resigned humour that saw Hill make his best work in the seventies: Vonnegut adaptation Slaughterhouse-Five, Oscar winning caper The Sting (reuniting with Paul Newman and Robert Redford), flop aviation drama The Great Waldo Pepper, crude comedy Slap Shot and uncharacteristically sweet A Little Romance. Irving adaptation The World According to Garp was his best work of the eighties, with only confused thriller The Little Drummer Girl and comedy Funny Farm to end his career, whereupon he retired to teach drama.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: