Friday, June 1, 2012

Bad Company, 1972, Jeff Bridges, et al

When I was in high school, I'd look at the globe. I'd think about World War Two and how I would have gone about dodging the draft. If I were English, I would flee to Ireland. German, I would hide out in Sweden and since I wouldn't know if Germany was going to invade Sweden, I would make plans to flee north into the tundra. If I were in the U.S. or Canada, I would head for Mexico or Cuba. I don't know where I would run if I were Italian.

I was just watching the movie Bad Company, a 1972 western starring a very young Jeff Bridges. A young fellow (Barry Brown) heads west to avoid fighting in the Civil War. His parents help him flee. He wants to get on a wagon train for Virginia City, Nevada, but there's a long waiting list, the wait for the stage coaches are even longer and there are soldiers everywhere looking for draft dodgers. So he heads west with a group of young delinquents led by Bridges.

As they head out into the prairie, they encounter terrible people. There was no charming them. It's very rare that you see a child killed in a movie. The criminals were slightly less threatening than the lawmen or the farmers.

And this wasn't like Stand By Me or The Breakfast Club, where the grown-ups are bad and the kids are good. The kids were no picnic, either. They were less violent and more apt to be victims, but even the good-hearted religious, abstinent, petit-bourgeois boy from a good home, mourning his brother lost in the war and promising to write to his ma and pa back home, had his problems.

He should have headed north to Canada instead of west.

Might be interesting to watch along with Dead Man.

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