Tales that Witness Madness Blog: Scarecrow (1973)

16th September 2021.

I was writing a screenplay the other day and in the writing one of the characters talks about how he’s a big Al Pacino and Gene Hackman fan, ever since seeing them in the movie Scarecrow (1973). Right then I immediately started thinking about that movie again; it’s been quite a few years since I’ve seen it and even then that wasn’t a great copy I watched.

I went on Amazon to see if it was available to purchase from there (which it wasn’t) so I went onto Ebay and managed to buy a brand new, unsealed, Blu-Ray from there. The Blu-Ray is great – it comes with a poster and four postcards with stills from the film (see photos).

Postcards and poster included…

I watched the movie last night, on the projector, and fell in love with the film again. It holds up exceptionally well for a movie that’s nearly fifty years old. There’s a couple of brilliant moments in it. I love that all the locations in the movie are real – very few scenes would have been sets. I think that even the bar scenes were filmed in real bars as they are so dark and dingy – if they were sets they wouldn’t have been as poorly lit.

For anyone who hasn’t seen the movie, well, basically it’s a road movie with Hackman and Pacino who become friends from the outset when they stumble upon each other when they are hitch-hiking.

Hackman states that he doesn’t like people and that he’s a mean son-of-a-bitch who never makes friends with anyone, but Pacino is the exception as he gave him his last match to light his cigar with. From there their friendship is born and Hackman decides to let Pacino become a partner in his carwash business once it’s up and running in Pittsburgh, which is where they are headed to.

That’s as much as I’ll say on the plot as I don’t want to ruin it for those of you that fancy watching it. It’s one of the great lesser know movies of the ’70s and it was generally overlooked at the time. Critically it garnered some positive reviews but financially it didn’t make any sort of money.

I guess the problem for its lack of success would have been because of the marketing and the title of the movie itself – Scarecrow. It’s a deceiving title and I think it would have been better served with something like ‘On the road to Pittsburgh’ or something along those lines.

That aside, it’s a great character movie and has a turnaround moment near the latter part of the movie when Hackman starts doing a striptease in a bar (yes, you read that right!).

The big studios just don’t make movies like this anymore. Indie films do, but rarely will they be able to make a movie like this with two of Hollywood’s biggest actors in it.

So, yeah, put this movie on your list. It’s on Prime Video to rent and to purchase digitally. If you like films like The Last Detail, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, et al, then this will be up your street. I love it.

Outside of that I’m back working on writing a novel. My screenplay just wasn’t talking to me so I’m continuing a sci-fi novel that I began last year. I wrote a beginning to that which I ended in such a way that it was a stand-alone short story of its own merit, but I always had the intention of writing it as a full novel. I just didn’t expect to be back on it so soon. But this time around I’m better prepared to write a novel and I’m working to a daily / weekly quota in terms of word count. So here’s hoping.

I’ve also got an article for the magazine coming out in the next day or two regarding documentaries about movies – so if that sounds up your street then keep an eye out for it. I’ve been holding off on some articles because I’ve been trying to find a way to screen record films and to edit them so I can upload certain clips from the movies I talk about in the articles. My point being is that this next article will have clips from the documentaries I talk about. It’s just another way to engage with readers.

Anyway, got a bunch of stuff to crack on with today so let me know if you’ve seen Scarecrow or if you intend to watch it – drop me a comment any time if you do, I’d love to see what other people think about the movie.

Ciao for now -Tony-

Lastly, here’s a photo I took in Glasgow on September 19th, 2015. Nearly 6 years ago to the day.

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