7 April 2016

SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT. (1977) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.


SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT. (1977) DIRECTED BY HAL NEEDHAM. STARRING BURT REYNOLDS, SALLY FIELD, JERRY REED, PAT MCCORMICK, PAUL WILLIAMS, MIKE HENRY AND JACKIE GLEASON. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

If you like reckless driving and quickfire dialogue, then you'll absolutely love this 'Seventies classic road movie about a truckload of Coors (beer) being illegally transported from Texas to Atlanta in 28 hours. The man actually driving the truck is called the Snowman, but it's the Bandit who runs interference for him with the cops (or The Smokies) in his slick black Trans Am car. Confused? Read on...

What's the deal with the Coors, firstly? Well, I'm reliably informed that this hugely popular beer, the beer of presidents in fact, was banned east of the Mississippi at the time this film was made. And why did this illegal shipment have to be delivered to a strict deadline? Why, to stop the largely additive and preservative-free beer from going bad, see?

Trust me, I might sound knowledgeable now but I didn't have a clue about this kind of thing before I saw the movie. I'm a wine person through and through, me. Beer? I never touch the stuff. SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT isn't really all about the beer, though. It's more about the handsome and dashing Burt Reynolds, then one of the hottest properties in the world of cinema and a COSMOPOLITAN nude centrefold to boot, playing the titular 'Bandit.'

He's a cowboy, see? Least-a-ways, he wears the hat. He's dark-haired and thickly moustached. He's also sexy and stylishly kitted-out in his snug-fitting flared blue jeans and bright red shirt. He's got a witty quip for every situation and the ladies love him. The Bandit, real name Bo Darville, likes to live dangerously, and boy, does he live dangerously for the duration of this fast-moving movie.

He and his pal The Snowman have agreed to deliver the Coors for a big sum of money and a little thing like the whole enterprise being against the law ain't gon' bother them noway, nohow. The money for the dangerous booze run is being put up by Big and Little Enos Burdette, a colourful pair.

Little Enos is played by singer-songwriter Paul Williams, who has a strong connection to THE MUPPET SHOW. I also remember seeing him in a brilliant scary episode of THE HARDY BOYS MEET NANCY DREW when I was a kiddy-winks. Needless to say, I had a huge crush on both Frank and Joe Hardy, and also a little bit of a girl-crush on the beautiful Pamela Sue Martin, who played Nancy Drew. Paul Williams isn't the only musician in the film, incidentally. Jerry Reed, who plays Cledus 'The Snowman' Snow, is a country singer who actually wrote and sang the movie's theme music.

The Bandit picks up Sally Field's runaway bride Carrie, whom he charmingly nicknames 'Frog' because she can't sit still, en route to his destination. Their rapid-fire dialogue is funny and charged with sexual tension. It doesn't take a genius to work out where that plot-line is going, haha. In fact, the pair started dating during the film and appeared in several more films as boyfriend and girlfriend. You can kind of tell that they're wildly attracted to each other. Aw, ain't that just the sweetest thang...?

'Frog' in turn is being pursued by the groom she's abandoning and his Daddy, Sheriff Buford T. Justice, hilariously played by Jackie Gleason. He's rude and bossy and vulgar and he's the kind of Sheriff who might wear those mirrored 'Sheriff' sunglasses and who calls everyone 'Boy,' as in: 'You listenin' tuh me, Boy...? You heah me, Boy...?'

He's a terrific, larger-than-life character in this. He treats his son Junior like doggie-do on a stick and he loves his grub. He's a great sheriff. I love the way he calls everyone who pisses him off a 'sumbitch.' He's probably my favourite character in the movie.

Any-hoo, this box office smash, the second-highest grossing movie of 1977 after STAR WARS, is out on DVD this March (2016) courtesy of the lovely peeps at the appropriately-named FABULOUS FILMS/FREMANTLE MEDIA ENTERPRISES. It's witty and warm with tons of heart and the driving is extremely dangerous and will scare the living daylights out of you. That poor car takes so much punishment it just ain't true.

Fred the Dog is adorable and the CB radios which enable the truck and car drivers to keep in touch with each other deserve a credit all of their own as they're such a big part of the film. Buy this
iconic movie as soon as you humanly can. Ten-Four...? Ten-Four, movie buddy. Ten-Four.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

 You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com






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