Wednesday, December 3, 2014

514. Little Big Man

Little Big Man
Directed by Arthur Penn

I am having a bit of trouble sitting down and writing this review.  Perhaps it is because the mere idea of writing the plot synopsis for this film is quite daunting.  The film spans the life of Dustin Hoffman's character from the age of 10 to the age of 121.  We might be here for awhile.

Jack and his sister Caroline witness the massacre of their parents by the Pawnee tribe (weren't they peaceful?) but are saved and taken in by the Cheyenne tribe.  Caroline escapes, but Jack is raised by Old Lodge Skins.  This apparently doesn't mean much to him, since he renounces the tribe when he is captured by US Cavalry.  He then is put under the care of a Reverend and a very sexually frustrated Faye Dunaway, hence the awkward photograph above.  God, it's like summarizing Forrest Gump.  General Custer makes some unpleasant appearances.  Jack's romantic life goes quite poorly, but he still manages to not have sex with Faye Dunaway.  An admirable accomplishment in my opinion.

From a social development standpoint, this movie is actually quite refreshing.  I mean, we actually have a Native American playing a Native American?  Not even an Italian American (which for some reason filmmakers seem to think is close enough), but an actual Native American.  And yes, I realize that the main reason that the Native Americans were shown as innocent victims during the Custer massacre was  in the service of a point, in order to compare the slayings to the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam.  Still, we are moving in a positive direction.  At least, we are until we hit Dances With Wolves, but we will destroy that bridge when we come to it.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Dustin Hoffman achieved his raspy voice by screaming at the top of his lungs for an hour in his dressing room.

Little Big Man was a real Native American who fought at the Battle of Little Big Horn.