Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Watch us on Youtube Join the Archive Mailing List Read our Blog

Fat City  /  Wise Blood

Fat City
July 15, 2017 - 7:30 pm

New digital restoration!

Fat City  (1972)

John Huston’s gritty account of small-time boxers stranded in the wasteland of rural California is a remarkably faithful adaptation of ex-fighter Leonard Gardner’s downbeat source novel.  Stacy Keach stars as the has-been venturing a comeback.  Jeff Bridges is the good-natured up-and-comer headed for disillusionment.  Susan Tyrrell, however, manages to steal the show in an Academy Award-nominated supporting performance as a barfly surviving at the edges of this masculine world.  Conrad Hall’s naturalistic camerawork receded from the action to better capture the squalid environment in which the film’s hard-boiled losers are hopelessly confined.  Crafted in the style and spirit of New Hollywood realism, Fat City is a raw, unsentimental evocation of the pathos of failure.

DCP, color, 100 min.  Production: Columbia Pictures, Rastar Productions, Inc.  Distribution: Columbia Pictures.  Director: John Huston.  Producer: Ray Stark.  Screenwriter: Leonard Gardner.  Based on the novel by Leonard Gardner.  Cinematographer: Conrad Hall.  Editor: Walter Thompson.  Cast: Stacy Keach, Jeff Bridges, Susan Tyrrell, Candy Clark, Nicholas Colasanto.

Wise Blood  (1979)

A faithful adaptation of Flannery O’Connor’s much-celebrated 1952 novel, this nihilistic, late entry in Huston’s filmography (he was 72 years old on set) follows ambitious, uneducated war veteran Hazel Moats (Brad Dourif) as he becomes the sole preacher of the Church of Truth Without Christ, an evangelical outfit of his own invention.  Virtually unseen by an entire generation until the Criterion Collection’s DVD release in 2009, the obsessive Moats and his futile rivalry with the sadistic Asa Hawks (Harry Dean Stanton) play out a grand story of fame and conviction on the small stage of Macon, Georgia. 

16mm, color, 108 min.  Production: Ithaca Productions, Anthea Productions.  Distribution: New Line Cinema.  Director: John Huston.  Producer: Kathy Fitzgerald, Michael Fitzgerald.  Screenwriter: Benedict Fitzgerald, Michael Fitzgerald.  Based on the novel by Flannery O'Connor.  Cinematographer: Gerry Fisher.  Editor: Roberto Silvi.  Music: Alex North.  Cast: Brad Dourif, Ned Beatty, Harry Dean Stanton, Dan Shor, Amy Wright.

Print courtesy of the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.