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The Chase (1966 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Chase
The Chase - 1966 Poster.jpg
Original film poster by Howard Terpning
Directed byArthur Penn
Screenplay byLillian Hellman
Based onThe Chase
1952 play
1956 novel
by Horton Foote
Produced bySam Spiegel
StarringMarlon Brando
Jane Fonda
Robert Redford
E. G. Marshall
Angie Dickinson
CinematographyJoseph LaShelle
Robert Surtees (uncredited)
Edited byGene Milford
Music byJohn Barry
Color processTechnicolor
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • February 18, 1966 (1966-02-18)
Running time
134 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2.3 million (est. U.S./Canada rentals)[1]

The Chase is a 1966 American drama film, directed by Arthur Penn; and starring Marlon Brando, Jane Fonda, and Robert Redford. It tells the story of a series of events that are set into motion by a prison break. The supporting cast features E.G. Marshall, Angie Dickinson, Janice Rule, Miriam Hopkins, Martha Hyer, Robert Duvall, and James Fox.


In a small town in Tarl County, Texas, where banker Val Rogers (E.G. Marshall) wields a great deal of influence, word comes that native son Bubber Reeves (Robert Redford) and another man have escaped from prison.

Sheriff Calder (Marlon Brando), who continues to believe in Bubber's innocence, expects him to return to his hometown, where Bubber's lonely wife Anna (Jane Fonda) is involved in a romantic affair with Jake (James Fox), Bubber's best friend and Val Rogers' son.

Bubber is left on his own after the second fugitive kills a stranger for his car and clothes. The townspeople, conflicted about his guilt or innocence, socialize and drink heavily while awaiting Bubber's return. They include the hostile Emily Stewart (Janice Rule), who openly expresses her lust for Damon Fuller (Richard Bradford) in front of her husband Edwin (Robert Duvall).

As the drinking and quarreling intensify, a group of vigilantes demand action from Calder. When he defies them, they beat Calder brutally before the sheriff's loyal wife Ruby (Angie Dickinson) is able to get to his side.

Bubber sneaks into town, hiding in an auto junkyard. Anna and Jake willingly set out to help him, and the townspeople follow, turning the event into a drunken revelry and setting the junkyard on fire, causing an explosion which mortally wounds Jake. A bloodied and beaten Calder manages to get to Bubber first, but while he is leading him up the steps into the jail, one of the vigilantes, Archie (Steve Ihnat), shoots Bubber multiple times with a gun hidden in his coat pocket.

Sick of the town and its people, Calder and Ruby leave town the next morning.


Outline and production

The film deals with excessive immorality and vice such as themes of racism (including scenes in which black men are harassed by white men), sexual revolution (many of the characters are openly engaged in affairs), small-town corruption (the sheriff is falsely assumed to be in the pocket of the man who helped appoint him), and vigilantism (in the form of townspeople who openly defy the sheriff in their search for Bubber). The movie is perhaps best known for a scene in which the sheriff, played by Marlon Brando, is brutally beaten by Richard Bradford, one of the three vigilantes.

Paul Williams thought this movie would be his big break, but after working on the film for three months, he was shown on screen for a few moments and had "two lines" in the final film.[2] Faye Dunaway auditioned for the film, but Jane Fonda was cast in the role of Anna Reeves. Following this, Arthur Penn tested Dunaway and cast her for Bonnie and Clyde.


On release, the film gained generally positive reviews from critics, but Richard Schickel was dismissive in Life magazine. Pointing out its origins in the Horton Foote play, he wrote: "The Chase is no longer a modest has been turned into a disaster of awesome proportions".[3]

During an interview years after the film was released, Arthur Penn expressed his dissatisfaction with the film: "Everything in that film was a letdown, and I'm sure every director has gone through the same experience at least once. It's a shame because it could have been a great film."[4]

See also


  1. ^ "Big Rental Pictures of 1966", Variety, 4 January 1967 p 8
  2. ^ Paul Williams interview. Songfacts. Retrieved July 9, 2007.
  3. ^ Richard Schickel "Small Flop Grows into a Disaster", Life, 60:9, 4 March 1966, p.12
  4. ^ Penn, Arthur, Michael Chaiken and Paul Cronin (2008). Arthur Penn: Interviews. Jackson: Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 72. ISBN 978-1604731057. Retrieved 6 April 2015.

Further reading

External links

This page was last edited on 6 May 2022, at 11:18
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