In the small Texas oil town of Tarl, unsettling disquiet bubbles up like black gold from a dark underground reserve, while out in the rough countryside, Bubber Reeves (Robert Redford), an escaped convict, is making his way through the brush toward home. The rumors of his return set in motion all manner of vicious gossip in a town already heaped in hanky-panky. After all, it’s a hot summer night and the oil-rich residents are pumping their appetites. Only Sheriff Calder (Marlon Brando at his bruised best) is immune to the drunken revelry that has overtaken his domain. The Chase is a Southern Gothic tale, steeped in the soul-sick mood of a post-Kennedy America. With a lavish cast that includes Jane Fonda, Robert Duvall, James Fox, Janice Rule, and Angie Dickinson, the long night of lust and malice builds to hysterical pitch. When Bubba does arrive, the purgative violence that surfaces throughout Penn’s films is expressed in a ritual pageant of bonfires and vigilantes. The end of fossil fuel may be near, but there’s still plenty of Texas crude. —Steve Seid
Once the vanguard of 1960s-1970s Hollywood New Wave, director Arthur Penn saw his cinematic fortunes decline with the mid-‘70s rise of more straightforward blockbuster entertainment. Even as he struggled through the ’80s and ’90s, however, Penn’s legacy was assured by such films as Little Big Man (1970), Night Moves (1975), and the pivotal masterwork Bonnie and Clyde (1967).
Born in Philadelphia, Penn was trained to follow in his father’s footsteps as a watchmaker, but by high school, he knew he preferred theater. While stationed at Fort Jackson, SC, during World War II, Penn formed a small drama circle with his fellow infantrymen, and continued his education as an actor at school in North Carolina and Italy after the war. Though Penn acted in Joshua Logan’s theater company and studied with Michael Chekhov at the Actors Studio’s Los Angeles branch, he opted for a career behind the scenes when he got a job at NBC TV in 1951. By 1953, Penn was writing and… read more
One of those legendary failures that features a lot of good things...Brando's performance is dynamite and a lot of the supporting cast is too (Fonda, Duvall, Janice Rule, EG Marshall). It's marred by it's slow pace and the woefully miscast Robert Robert (as Bubba?...a role better suited for the likes of Steve McQueen)