Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Stewart Film Leans on Him

Cleveland Press September 30, 1971

James Stewart's latest movie is "Fools' Parade." No wonder he turned to television.

It isn't that "Fools' Parade" is a bad movie. It isn't. It's even kind of good now and then. But it is the kind of picture that leans heavily on Stewart's skill, personality and built-in folksiness. Time and again he gives you the impression of an interesting character that really isn't there in the role.

Stewart plays a man just released from prison after 40 years served for murder. In 40 years he accumulated earnings of $25,452.32 for which he has been given a check.

In this West Virginia town in 1935 however, the local banker has been embezzling prisoners' funds so prison guard George Kennedy is hired to do away with Stewart.

The plan flops and Stewart and his two convict friends, Strother Martin and Kurt Russell, are accused of murder and hunted by Kennedy, a bloodhound and couple of murderous friends.

Aside from Stewart's portrayal there is little variety in the other characterizations. Kennedy is relentlessly evil, Martin persistently fussy as a would-be storekeeper and Russell of so many Disney films thoroughly wide-eyed and helpless looking.

Anne Baxter scores in a cameo role, playing a heavily painted madame who laments the fact she has never been able to join the DAR although her ancestor plied the same trade among soldiers in the American Revolution.