Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Sporting Club (1971)

Director: Larry Peerce

Writers: Thomas McGuane, Lorenzo Semple Jr.

Composer: Michael Small

Starring: Robert Fields, Nicolas Coster, Margaret Blye, Jack Warden, Richard Dysart, William Ramsey, Leon B. Stevens, John Seymour, Helen Craig, Diane Rousseau, Lois Markle, James Noble, Ralph Puroum, Ralph Waite, Jo Ann Harris, Linda Blair, Anne Ramsey, Claiborne Cary, Larry Deer

More info: IMDb

Tagline:  Dearest children of the 20th century, do you take such pleasures as your ancestors?

Plot:  This exploitative melodrama is set in northern Michigan where an exclusive private hunting club is located. There some of the country's richest, most powerful men come to relax and get closer to nature. Unfortunately, that means that they become engaged in debauchery and become brutal, amoral killers.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Nope.

This really is an odd picture.  Presumably it's plot building for the first fifty minutes (almost exactly halfway into the movie).   Shortly before that point we meet Earl Olive, delightfully played by the great Jack Warden.  He's having a blast.  Well, fifty minutes in is the point where we get some friction between Earl's people and the rich white folks.  It's not long after that the shit hits the fan and it's on between the warring factions.  The well-to-dos suddenly get silly and the movie has some horrible moments of slapstick comedy.  The tone moves depending on the scene and that's just one of the problems with this flick.  The other big issue I had with it is all of that time we spend with the rich folks for the first forty or so minutes, as if it's going to matter to the rest of the picture.  It does but only a little.  The big takeaway is that a group of wealthy and powerful people have an exclusive hunting club and when they clash with the lower locals, they start scrappin' and it ends with a rich old people orgy and an old fashioned duel with flint pistols between two of the rich folks.  The locals split the scene long before that.  This could've been so much more fun if it were taken more seriously and the shit hit the fan a lot sooner so that the movie would've been over sooner and with a lot of carnage and grisly kills.   Michael Small's score has some nice moments.  Besides, Jack Warden's fun performance, I can't recommend this unless you want to see something odd and kind of pointless.

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