This film is so obscure that the nude scene is rarely capped. Although it is a 1970 film starring Michael Douglas, I had never seen nor heard of it before today.
Meg Foster, in a minor part, had a brief topless scene:
And of course, Meg got a good opportunity to show off those famous, spooky blue eyes:
MY REVIEW OF THE FILM INCLUDES TOTAL SPOILERS:
This is a deservedly forgotten artifact of the hippie era. Usual deal. A sophisticated, successful young college professor from California (a young Michael Douglas) goes to rural Missouri to attend a funeral, decides to stay a while, takes a blue-collar job, marries a local girl, searches for his soul. The guy from the white collar life seems to prefer the simple satisfaction of the working man.
You know, the whole “Five Easy Pieces” sensibility.
The romance of life in the small town seems to wear off quickly, as he ultimately finds the people there to be just as vapid as the petty back-stabbers and social climbers at the university. The professor doesn’t talk much and so the dialogue we hear is often the idle, insignificant banter of the shallow people surrounding him, often offering him unsolicited advice. Nobody says “plastics,” but it’s …
You know, the whole “Graduate” sensibility.
I guess he never found that soul, because at the end of the film he takes off, presumably having completely abandoned the life he built for himself in Missouri, including his naively sweet wife. In the final scenes, he heads to the A&P for ice cream, but when he gets back to his house, he just can’t go back in, so he revs up his sports car and hits the highway. In the distance, we see his sports car barreling westward. In the foreground we see the ice cream he had tossed out of his car. The credits roll over the sight of the melting ice cream. In other words, he went out to the supermarket and never returned.
You know, the whole “Rabbit Run” sensibility.
I’m not suggesting that this film ripped off the others. Rabbit Run, Five Easy Pieces and Adam at 6 A.M. all came out in 1970, so they were similar because that was the zeitgeist, man. The film may have ripped off John Updike’s book version of Rabbit Run, for the “suburban man goes to the supermarket and unexpectedly disappears” idea, because that novel had been famous for a decade, but let’s give the filmakers the benefit of the doubt and call it an homage.
Nor am I suggesting that the film ripped off The Graduate, which came out three years earlier. It obviously was influenced by The Graduate’s style, but everybody else in that era was as well.
I’m not even suggesting that it’s a bad film. It’s just not energetic enough or original enough to command any attention. Nobody noticed it at the time, and nobody has noticed it since. This was the first feature film Robert Scheerer had directed, and he would never direct another dramatic film, although he lived almost 50 more years. He did subsequently direct a couple of lowbrow comedy films, but spent most of his working life, 37 years to be exact, directing episodes of various TV shows, at which he was both proficient and prolific, garnering five Emmy nominations along the way.
Kinda sorta off topic:
It’s fun to read some of the contemporary reviews. The Village Voice referred to Michael Douglas as “Kirk’s likable but dull son.” They have the acorn of an good argument there, even if they dropped it before it became an oak. This could have been a very different and much more interesting film, maybe even a good film, with Jack Nicholson in the lead.