BADLANDS (1973)

Dir. Terrence Malick

The wide-open spaces of Colorado gleam in the world premiere restoration of controversial director Terrence Malick's debut feature. In his screenplay, Malick turns the 1958 killing spree of Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate—which terrorized the Dakotas and created a feeding frenzy in the press—into a timeless fairy tale of love and desire. Art director Jack Fisk modeled his small-town sets on Edward Hopper's paintings, while the director kept period detail to just the minimum necessary to establish the story's timeframe. Malick scored the action partly to contemporary hits from Nat King Cole and Mickey and Sylvia, but mostly to classical tracks by Carl Orff and Erik Satie. Star Sissy Spacek's narration set new standards as an ironic, disassociated travelogue—part pulp romance, part Hollywood fantasy—contrasting the naiveté of her 15-year-old character with the brutal murders committed by on-screen lover Martin Sheen. Although a failure at the box office, critics loved this debut feature that clearly established its 29-year-old director as a major artist and has developed a devoted cult following.

In attendance: Edward R. Pressman, Billy Weber

BADLANDS
TM and ©2012 TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES A TIME WARNER COMPANY ALL RIGHTS RESERVED