Captures and comments by Whitecaps.

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It was a warmish to hot day yesterday, and this was a film I’d wanted to see for awhile. I wasn’t expecting any nudity in it. Apparently Karen Newhouse only appeared in one other film.

A point and a brief film review:

‘D.B Cooper’ actually referred to himself as ‘Dan Cooper.’

I had no idea about the film to start. I thought it was an account of ‘D.B’ Cooper but it’s a pretty much entirely fictional story whose title is literal – it’s an action/adventure chase comedy.

The film stars Treat Williams as ‘Cooper’ who plays him as a likeable easy going type who is a practical thinker but not a deep thinker (i.e all tactics and no strategy) Robert Duvall as the insurance adjuster chasing ‘Cooper.’ Duvall was ‘Cooper’s’ drill sargeant in the military and Kathryn Harrold (not Jan Smithers) as ‘Cooper’s’ wife.

The film starts off entertaining enough, but I’m not a fan of chase movies and I found it repetitious after awhile, though some of the chase scenes are certainly very creative and spectacular visually.

When the film was made in 1981 and when the real ‘Dan Cooper’ hijacked a plane for $200,000 in 1971, the United States was only about two generations removed from being a majority rural population country. So, this film can be seen as something of an homage to practical people who weren’t deep thinkers (aka ‘down to earth’ types.) While I didn’t really like the film, it did make me desire to live in a rural setting and commune with nature.

In one scene, people are heard on a television news program discussing Cooper and I expected one of them to say “we like Cooper because we’ve heard he must be a Vietnam Veteran to have jumped out of the plane like that, and we want to make it up to the Vietnam Veterans by supporting Cooper.”

It seems there was an entirely different movie filmed with the same actors by a different director in which Treat Williams plays Cooper as a dour Vietnam Veteran who is further embittered by his being regarded as an outlaw hero by Americans in contrast to his negative treatment as a Vietnam Veteran. This version was entirely shelved.

The weakest part of the movie is another veteran who served with Cooper and the drill sargeant who is a third wheel chasing after Cooper as well. He’s played as kind of an incompetent dimwit for comedy relief but wasn’t really needed as the entire film is comedic.

I haven’t seen enough chase movies to know if the ‘third wheel’ is a trope. The other chase movie I’ve seen which I liked slightly more is Grand Theft Parsons, a somewhat more truthful story where in Gram Parsons’ stepfather is chasing after Parsons’ roadie, Phil Kaufman (Johnny Knoxville), who had promised Parsons he would burn his body in Joshua Tree.

In that film Christina Applegate played Parsons’ estranged wife as the obnoxious third wheel. However, Gram Theft Parsons also featured Robert Forster as Gram Parsons’ stepfather who plays the role with grieving dignity.

To end this off with Charles Manson and a conspiracy. Phil Kaufman, who really was Gram Parsons’ roadie and really did burn his body in Joshua Tree, had an earlier brush with infamy as he served time being convicted of marijuana possession and met Charles Manson in jail while Manson was serving from 1960-1967. It was Phil Kaufman who gave Manson his first music connection as he told Manson that he would contact a music producer for him to try to help Manson get a contract, which Kaufman also later really did.

The conspiracy is that Vincent Bugliosi’s ‘Helter Skelter’ never mentions this. Certainly his book has been shown to have completely understated the degree of Manson’s connections to music people (and actors to some degree as well) in Los Angeles from 1968 to 1969, and I suppose that does play up the notion that Manson, while certainly guilty of conspiracy to commit murder was a patsy for somebody higher up.