DELIVERANCE. 1972. DIRECTED BY JOHN BOORMAN. STARRING BURT REYNOLDS, JON VOIGHT, NED BEATTY AND RONNY COX. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
A lot of people tend to remember this fantastic John Boorman movie for two main reasons. One, the excellent ‘Duelling Banjos’ sequence, the like of which you won’t see in any other film, ever. And, of course, two, the hillbilly rape scene. Aha! That got your attention, didn’t it…? Snigger.
There’s no denying that these are two of the most powerful scenes in the film. So much so, in fact, that they’ve both passed into cinematic legend. The rest of the film is pretty unforgettable too, though. I first saw it when I was an impressionable teenager and I’ve certainly never forgotten it.
The original tagline for the movie is as follows: ‘THIS IS THE WEEKEND THEY DIDN’T PLAY GOLF…’ Okay, so it’s not the most exciting tagline ever created but it gets the message across that something out-of-the-ordinary is taking place in the lives of the protagonists. That’s correct. Something is…
Lewis, Ed, Bobby and Drew are four middle-aged friends who go on a white water rafting weekend high up in the Appalachian Mountains to escape the humdrum tedium of their everyday lives. Lewis, played by Burt Reynolds, is the instigator of this and other similar trips. This time, they’re taking on the fictional Cahulawassee river in the north Georgia wilderness.
Lewis is more athletic and adventurous than the other three lads and he has a distinct love of living dangerously, as clearly evidenced by his devil-may-care, gung-ho attitude to everything from his driving to his canoeing. He believes in the survival of the fittest. The weak go under. That’s just the way it is, is how Lewis sees it. He glories in his strong body and fearless attitude to life and living.
I feel it’s extremely important to mention at this point that Burt Reynolds as Lewis is bloody gorgeous. He gives new meaning to the words manly, macho, masculine, the whole shebang. Every synonym for man that you care to dream up. With his hairy chest, his muscular arms and handsome face, it’s easy to see why the readers of womens’ magazine COSMOPOLITAN went absolutely crazy with lust when he posed as the magazine’s naked centrefold back in the day. Talk about phwoarrr…! He has the ‘phwoarrr’ factor and then some. He has it in flippin’ spades, in fact. Mmmm…
Ed, played by Angelina Jolie’s Pops, Jon Voight, envies Lewis his careless, easy masculinity. Ed is weak and nervous and tags along behind Lewis on these ‘Lads’ Weekends’ because if he can’t be Lewis, at least he can be with Lewis and bask in his reflected glory somewhat. He can live vicariously through Lewis. Bobby and Drew are two nice ordinary blokes, similar enough in temperament to Ed, who are more or less just going along for the ride.
That’s the situation then as it stands when the four of them head up into hillbilly country for the weekend of a lifetime. It turns out to be the weekend of a lifetime all right, but in a way in which none of them could ever have envisioned.
An encounter with two dentally-challenged, inbred-as-all-get-out hillbillies changes the lives of all four men forever and forces Ed to ‘man up’ and take the driver’s seat, metaphorically speaking, for probably the first time in his life. Is he up to the challenge? Let’s just say that all four of their lives depend upon it…
The scenery is simply stunning. View after view of mountains, jagged rocks, rivers and gorgeous greenery unfold before our eyes from start to finish. John Boorman’s adorable little son Charley plays a cameo in the film as Ed’s son. Charley Boorman of course grew up to star in his dad’s superb film THE EMERALD FOREST and now he travels the world on his motorbike and makes brilliant documentaries about his adventures. Remember when he teamed up with his bezzie mate, STAR WARS actor Ewan McGregor, to film LONG WAY DOWN and LONG WAY ROUND…?
This is a film you shouldn’t miss. It’ll probably put you off hillbillies for life, though. If you’re not bothered by that prospect, then go right ahead and watch the movie. And don’t forget to give your gnashers a good old scrubbing afterwards. If ever a film put forward a good argument for impeccable dental hygiene, then this is that film…
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:
1) ‘… BY A WOMAN WALKING HER DOG…’
2) A WRITER’S JOURNEY
3) ANNA MEETS COUNT DRACULA
4) ANOTHER FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
5) CANCER BALLS
6) CATCH OF THE DAY
7) FIFTY FILTHY-DIRTY SEX-POEMS YOU MUST READ BEFORE I DIE.
8) FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
9) THE DEVIANTS
10) VISITING DAY