Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Overlooked Movies: Pocket Money (1972)

You’d think I would have seen any movie from the Seventies starring Paul Newman and Lee Marvin, directed by Stuart Rosenberg (COOL HAND LUKE) and written by Terrence Malik (BADLANDS). But I’d never seen POCKET MONEY, based on the novel JIM KANE by J.P.S. Brown. It’s a modern-day Western about down-on-his-luck cowboy Jim Kane (Newman) and a shady friend of his (Marvin) who are hired to go down to Mexico and buy some cattle for a couple of shady rodeo promoters played by Strother Martin and Wayne Rogers. Things do not go well.

With all those people involved in front of and behind the camera, as well as having Hector Elizondo and Gregory Sierra in the supporting cast, photography by Laszlo Kovacs, music by Alex North, and a theme song by Carole King, POCKET MONEY should have been an excellent movie. Instead, to be a bit more blunt than I normally am, it’s terrible. The plot, such as it is, wanders around aimlessly, the movie looks drab, and everybody seems to be phoning in their performances, especially Newman. Marvin’s character is a little interesting at times. I did kind of enjoy the music, too. But that’s not enough to make up for the lifelessness of the rest of the movie.

From what I’ve read, POCKET MONEY has a cult following. More power to them. I like some movies that nobody else seems to. But as far as I’m concerned, this one should have remained overlooked.


Peter Brandvold said...

Funny, I really like this movie. I saw it when it first came out when I was a kid, and have seen it a few times since. Even as a twelve or thirteen year-old, I could identify with the lonely angst of these two aging, down on their luck cowboys trying to survive in fast changing times. But then I've always been a fan of those slow-moving 70s movies.

James Reasoner said...

I think if I had seen it first in the 70s, I might have liked it better. I had a lot more patience then.