Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies (1973)

Director: John Erman

Writers: Claudia Salter, Steven Spielberg

Composer: Jerry Goldsmith

Starring: Cliff Robertson, Eric Shea, Pamela Franklin, Rosemary Murphy, Bernadette Peters, Alice Ghostley, Kelly Jean Peters, Don Keefer, Patricia Smith

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The story of Ace Eli... when planes were young and the world was innocent... except for Ace's son Rodger... Rodger of the Skies.

Plot: Story of a 1920s stunt flyer and the son he takes on the road with him.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

I'm not sure what sentiment or vibe the filmmakers were aiming for but I don't think they successfully made it...or maybe they did and I missed it.  Cliff Robertson, who I usually dig, plays Eli like a real bastard but in the demeanor of Steve McQueen in 'gosh golly' mode.  You know the McQueen persona where he sometimes has that dumbfounded goofy look on his face, right?  That's Robertson in this picture.  He's only likable when he plays nice.  Otherwise he's an asshole and a drunk.  And that doesn't change by the end.  I'm not sure anything changes much if at all by the end which had me wondering what was the point.  The picture looks nice.  It's neat thinking about life in the 20s with everything on screen looking vintage.  It's a time and place I'd like to visit.  That's one thing they did well here.  I figured with the subject, a score by Jerry Goldsmith (which was nice), Cliff Robertson and a story by Steven Spielberg this would be much better.  Someone else is credited with writing the screenplay so who knows how much Spielberg contributed. It could've been a two page outline of a story.  Or it's possible that the movie filmed is exactly what the filmmakers intended.  Either way, it's not all that good and I wouldn't recommend it as a decent 90 minute diversion.

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