Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

"Shootout" Fires a Lot of Old, Damp Powder

Cleveland Press September 4, 1971

"Shootout" was produced by Hal Wallis and directed by Henry Hathaway who did the same chores on "True Grit." There is no comparison at all between the two.

The movie is a reflection of the growing trend to make villains overly psychotic by having them laugh hysterically with every new piece of sadism.

Gregory Peck plays an aging cowboy just let out of prison. A few years earlier he had been involved in a bank holdup. His partner shot him in the back, ran off with the loot, leaving Peck behind.

Now Peck is busy tracking down his ex-partner who in turn has set three young punks to watch him. These three fellows laugh idiotically every time they do a bit of mean business -- like shooting an old man confined to a wheelchair, and taking shots at little kids.

Matters are complicated when Peck, about to pick up a sum of money left with an old girlfriend, finds that the old friend has sent the money to him in care of a six-year-old girl that he is saddled with. The girl, raised among ladies of easy virtue and talking like one, is played by Dawn Lyn. She manages to steal the movie.

They traipse across the country, running into trouble and getting mixed up with a nice widow lady who has a ranch. You know everything is going to turn out all right.

Peck is adequate in a role that doesn't demand much more than adequacy.

Underground stuff . . . Underground movies are the pop of the film world but without quite the same commercial grip on the public.

Like the pop artist the underground movie maker takes material rather than ideas from others, pastes them together, rearranges and blows them up. Instead of Brillo boxes and Campbell Soup cans he uses bits of other films, posters and records.

At least this is the impression I had after sitting through a screening of "Dynamite Chicken," a 90-minute underground film that will play at midnight tonight at the Heights Art Theater. The underground film programs are a continuing thing there and have their following.

"Dynamite Chicken," if it is anything at all, is anti-establishment. It is opposed to government, religion, the draft. It uses film clips from professional works (old movies, a Joan Baez concert) which only makes the rest of it look strained.

When the music isn't too loud or the soundtrack too garbled you get a little of the message and a whole lot of four-letter words spoken in closeup so that the lips are magnified and distorted. This and a helping of sex are there to shock and to emphasize an anti-establishment stance. Most of it is pretty repetitious.