In this riotous and rambling western, Marlon Brando rides into town like a loony in leathers. A “regulator,” he’s been hired by Braxton (John McLiam), a cold-dealing cattle baron who wants the range rid of rustlers. Lee Clayton, as he’s called, is a magisterial maniac who has more guises than notches on his belt. He’s got a Chinese coolie hat, a gaudy buckskin jacket, and a gingham dress like grandma used to wear. And when he’s not speaking in tongues, he’s speaking in sundry accents. He’s also ruthless to a fault, preferring to stalk his quarry from afar with a high-powered rifle. One by one, he picks off a band of incompetent rustlers (Randy Quaid, Frederic Forrest, Harry Dean Stanton), led by Tom Logan (Jack Nicholson), an honorable lout who believes that maybe you won’t die with your boots on, but you shouldn’t have holes in your socks. Quirky, smirky, and shot full with great dialogue by Thomas McGuane, Missouri Breaks knows that on the unfenced frontier you have to enlarge yourself to fill up space. —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
The film is a fascinating one, if you care to reflect on it. Yet, critics dismissed it when it was released. My full analysis appears at http://moviessansfrontiers.blogspot.in/2012/08/131-us-director-arthur-penns-missouri.html
Perhaps one of the biggest disappointments ever created. A little bit enjoyable but when you see as stars Brando, Nicholson, Randy Quaid, Harry Dean Stanton and Frederic Forrest, all directed by Arthur Penn, you gotta hope for more. Too bad it didn't delivered in the measure we needed.
A look at the later work of the great Polish designer Waldemar Swierzy.