The Hired Hand (1971)
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Movie InfoMeeting largely mixed reviews during its first run in 1971, counterculture icon Peter Fonda's directorial debut was restored and remastered for its 30-year anniversary. The film opens with three drifters greeting the morning by cavorting in a sun-dabbled mountain river. Harry Collings (Fonda) catches a fish and gives it to Arch Harris (Warren Oates) who grills it over a low fire, while Dan (Robert Pratt) -- the youngest of the three -- bathes in the swift moving current. Later, as they head into Del Norte, a small town in the middle of nowhere, Dan talks breathlessly about going to California while Collings suddenly decides to return home after a seven-year absence. After Dan runs afoul of a group of unsavory characters lead by McVey (Severn Darden), Collings vows vengeance for the lad's death and blows off McVey's feet. Collings and Harris bury Dan and flee from the town riding hundreds of miles to Collings' homestead. His wife Hannah (Verna Bloom) -- now called "Widow Collings" by the local townsfolk -- is none too pleased to see her wayward husband at her doorstep. Taking his wife's anger in stride, he asks only to be allowed to work as a hired hand. Just as Hannah and Collings start to move beyond the years of anger and estrangement, disaster strikes. This film was screened at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for The Hired Hand
This groundbreaking 1971 western nimbly upsets most of our expectations about cowboy movies.
If Dennis Hopper dismantles revisionist-Western ennui in The Last Movie, Fonda embellishes it with poetic muddiness
Bloom is excellent as the abandoned wife who aserts her independence even when she's so vulnerable.
...perhaps the best of that cycle of realistic, existential Westerners produced in the late 1960s and early 1970s
Now that it has been restored, people are beginning to realize it got a bum rap back in the day.
Audience Reviews for The Hired Hand
[font=Century Gothic][color=sienna] "The Hired Hand" is a 1971 western directed by Peter Fonda(his first, and perhaps only noticeable effort) about a man who after several years wandering aimlessly with his pal through the West, decides to return to the wife he left several years before. The movie is deliberately paced and occasionally artsy. It is worthwhile because of the spotlight on the relationships between the characters and for one notable speech given by Verna Bloom who plays the abandoned wife. And Warren Oates has another very good performance in this movie.[/color][/font]More
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