Film review: Scarecrow (15)
Scarecrow, which shared the Palme d'Or in Cannes in 1973, has rarely been seen in recent years. Revived in a restored version to mark its 40th anniversary, it boasts two of the best performances that Hackman and Pacino ever gave.
The film plays like a 1970s version of Of Mice and Men with a hint of Laurel and Hardy. Hackman is Max, recently released from San Quentin and dreaming of opening a car wash in Pittsburgh. Pacino is Francis, a former sailor, en route to Detroit to visit his child whom he has never met.
The two hobos hook up. Max is belligerent and hot-tempered. Francis is more the day-dreamer type who uses humour to defuse life's problems. The film has a lyricism and richness of characterisation that no Marvel adaptation will ever come close to. A youthful Pacino has a vulnerability and understated quality that you don't see in his later, grandstanding performances as gangsters and cops.
Hackman has the fieriness we remember from Popeye Doyle in The French Connection but also conveys his character's sense of yearning. It's the smallest moments which register the most strongly – Hackman unscrewing the heel of his shoe to find the few extra dollars he needs to pay for a bus fare or Pacino lighting his new friend's cigar with his last match.
The film has its moments of goofy slapstick – a mass brawl at a bar, Hackman performing a striptease – and doesn't altogether avoid buddy-movie clichés or mawkishness, but it is quite beautifully played by its two leads. They're both damaged characters who treat each other with extraordinary gentleness and loyalty.
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food