Saturday, May 21, 2016

Molly and Lawless John (1972)

Director: Gary Nelson

Writer: Terry Kingsley-Smith

Composer: Johnny Mandel

Starring: Vera Miles, Sam Elliott, Clu Gulager, John Anderson, Cynthia Myers, Charles Pinney, Bob Westmoreland, Melinda Chavaria, Pasqualita Baca, George Le Bow, Dave Burleson, Grady Hill, Dick Bullock, Terry Kingsley-Smith

More info: IMDb

Tagline: A Wanted Man ... A Willing Woman ... too willing.

Plot: Molly, the shy, romance-starved wife of an arrogant frontier sheriff, finds herself drawn to a prisoner in her husband's jail. This prisoner, a handsome young man named Johnny, plays on Molly's sympathy and convinces her to help him escape. Molly then accompanies Johnny on his cross-country flight but soon learns he's simply been using her. Molly makes the best of the situation, however, and by the time the sheriff's posse catches up with them, Molly shows that she's learned how to assert herself.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

Right off the bat you know Johnny (Elliott) is a real bastard so it's no surprise that he continues to do really shitty things until the credits roll.  He's hot and cold with Molly (Miles) alternating between being nice to her and treating her like shit.  He's just awful but she puts up with it.  Johnny has no character arc.  He doesn't need one.  This is Molly's story and it's a well-written story focusing on her.  The problem is it's often dull and lifeless.  There's very little music.  To make it worse I saw it on a crappy fullscreen DVD from Mill Creek.  The colors were bad and the darks were atrocious.  At least the sound was OK.  A better presentation would've helped but only a little.  This is Nelson's first feature as a director but he had an impressive amount of TV gigs for ten years prior.  Maybe tightening the movie up with some editing would help.  It's a shame it didn't fare better as it's a good story with some good performances.  I loved the ending.  Go Molly!

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