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.



  1. Hi Amanda, welcome back and great to see a new posting.
    This is a film I've not seen for ages - certainly over 10, probably over 20 years ago.
    When I started 'collecting' 1001 films, I made it a rule that ones previously seen would count, but only if I could clearly remember them and was 100% sure I'd seen it all, and at leas substantially understood.
    (I took this seriously, even inflicting 'Sound of Music' on myself again as I couldn't swear that i'd seen the whole 'beep' thing, and not just all the clips, trailers, and accidental switching on the telly in the middle of it)
    So.. Yes, I remember this one, found it moderately entertaining and I even got the parallels, but do not have anything of note to add to your post,
    But other readers will no doubt be please not to get a rant along the lines of Gigi, 7 brides or .. I will shut up now before i offend anyone.

  2. I really liked this movie. I was very young when my parents took us to see this, yet knew that Faye Dunaway's actions were inappropriate,I loved the idea of his story spanning all those years, though did think he was a little wimpy running back and forth from Indians to Calvary to Indians...but I don't want to give too much away.I thought that this movie definitely has a place in this book and that Dustin Hoffman did a great job!

  3. Ray, wow. Sound of Music twice? That's dedication.

    Diana, I agree. Hoffman's performance was excellent.

  4. I know .. I deserve some sort of international prize..
    But I really wasn't certain I'd actually watched the whole damn ting.. I mean, you see so many clips, extracts etc.. and you always catch little bits when you turn the TV on at Holiday weekends...

  5. It did feel like a precursor to Forest Gump, no?
    Generally I liked this one, but there was an odd mix of silliness and barbarism.