SCARECROW (1973)

Dir. Jerry Schatzberg

One of the forgotten gems of the Hollywood Renaissance, this quirky, moving road film features some of Vilmos Zsigmond's best cinematography. Al Pacino and Gene Hackman co-star as unlikely comrades hitching from California to the East. In the course of their adventures, they change each other's personalities, with childlike ex-seaman Pacino growing up as his influence makes aggressive ex-con Hackman more spontaneous and imaginative. Working with director Jerry Schatzberg—who had given Pacino his first starring role, in The Panic in Needle Park (1971)—the two deliver inspired performances. The stars spent a few weeks hitchhiking around California to get into character. Schatzberg's background as a professional photographer also made him a perfect collaborator for Zsigmond. Shooting in Michigan, Nevada and Colorado, they captured the gritty poetry of America's highways, cheap bars and prisons. The film's trenchant view of America and its strong cast (Hackman has called his performance his personal favorite) helped it win the Palme d'Or at Cannes.

In attendance: Jerry Schatzberg.

SCARECROW
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