The Defiant Ones -1958

Another on the long list of movies that I always wanted to see but never had the chance to until now.

I’m going to start this one with a major spoiler so I’m adding a jump in case someone is actually reading this and doesn’t want to know it.

They freaking get caught??????????

To quote one of my all-time favorite movies:

Jesus, Grandpa , what did you read me this thing for?

I mean, seriously.  Get me to actually care about the characters and want them to just fade away into the unknown and you let them get CAUGHT?

This devastated me.  The film is over 50 years old (holy cow that just sounds wrong) and I was devastated by the ending.  Touched as well.  Tony Curtis in Sidney Poitier’s arms while Sidney sang just ripped my heart to shreds.  In a very short time, the writers and the actors totally sold me on the idea that both characters had changed over the course of their time together.  That’s not always an easy thing to do.  And I’m one of those people who is skeptical of Tony Curtis’ talents and expected Sidney Poitier to act circles around him but, amazingly to me, I thought they both did equally amazing jobs and most certainly deserved their Oscar nominations.  (Not so much for Cara Williams.  She was a little over the top for me.)  David Niven for his work in Separate Tables beat them both for the award. Theodore Bikel as the sheriff who would rather just bring them in than kill them thank you very much did a wonderful job with his part (also Academy Award nominated) and is a big part of the reason why the end of the film makes me cry.  A nice surprise, given I’ve seen (or mostly just heard) him in more musicals than anything else.

I watched this movie with a couple of distractions and that reason alone makes me want to watch it again.  All in all I think I made a good choice this time.


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