This week for The Less Desirables Movie of the Week, brought to you by the Official Movie Sponsor of The Less Desirables, a/perture Cinema, I watched the 1972 classic, Deliverance. The film stars Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ronny Cox and Ned Beatty. We all know the “squeal like a pig scene” but film is so much more than that.
First, it’s Ronny Cox and Ned Beatty’s feature film debuts. Cox was hired because he could play guitar and it was really him playing in the film. Billy Redden, playing the part of the banjo picking Mountain Boy named Lonnie, however was not playing the banjo. Someone was behind him playing in a specially made shirt to give the appearance of him playing.
Another thing to consider was that the actors did most of their own stunts. According to Wikipedia, the scene where Burt Reynolds fell out of the boat had originally been shot with a dummy but the stunt coordinator thought it looked stupid; looking like a dummy falling out of a boat. So, the actors did most, themselves. And the production itself was never insured. I don’t think you can even film a legitimate film without insurance these, the sue-for-anything days in which we live.
The “squeal like a pig” line has much controversy from wince it came, but no doubt it is the single-most remarked line from the film with “He got a real pretty mouth ain’t he?” coming in right behind. Can you imagine your first big role and you’re asked to be hillbilly butt-sexed whilst squealing like a pig? Ned Beatty was a trooper.
The area where the film was shot, the fictional Cahulawassee River was actually the Chattooga River in Northwestern Georgia and the Tallulah Gorge was where the rock climbing scene was filmed. The Chattooga River’s headwaters are in Jackson County, North Carolina, not far from the Triad. Nothing in this state is “far” from the Triad.
The film was quite memorable and is considered a thriller, which I think fits it. It’s a lot of “what’s going to happen next” and let’s face it, hillbillies scare the bejeezus out of Flatlanders. Growing up in WV, I can see there are some scary parts, but really once you get to know them, they’re usually swell people. I think where the main characters messed up was when Burt Reynolds’ character, Lewis disrespected the mountain folk. They didn’t like it and didn’t stand for it. Not sure if the rapists were part of the same clan or not but I’m sure it wouldn’t help matters even if the answer is “not.” But, I do believe that disrespect and perhaps disdain for them caused the mountaineers to turn to violent tactics when they did.
The film was directed and produced by John Boorman based on a book by James Dickey. Dickey actually appears in the film at the end as a Sheriff. Rotten Tomatoes rates the film at 93% fresh and an audience score of 82%. I saw the film on Starz and highly recommend it. I rate it 4.5 stars. I’d like to hear your thoughts, and your rating of the film. Drop me a line and tell me what you think. Also, give me some recommendations for future Movies of the Week.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“You gonna do some prayin’ for me, boy. And you better pray good.” – Toothless Man (Herbert “Cowboy” Coward), Deliverance (1972)