22 June 2004 | Infofreak
Brando is terrific in this forgotten Arthur Penn movie.
I was interested to watch 'The Chase' for three reasons. First Brando. Brando is regarded by most movie fans as one of the greatest actors of all time, but people usually only mention a handful of his films - 'A Street Car Named Desire', 'On The Waterfront', 'The Godfather', 'Last Tango In Paris' and 'Apocalypse Now'. Without a doubt they are all fine movies but what about his equally worthy performances in his lesser known films (e.g. 'One-Eyed Jacks', and 'Burn!')? Secondly, Arthur Penn. An extremely underrated director in my opinion, especially for his almost forgotten 'Mickey One' and 'Night Moves'. Thirdly, the first rate supporting cast which includes Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, E.G. Marshall, James Fox, Jane Fonda, Angie Dickinson and Clifton James. Apparently there were lots of behind the scenes problems with this movie, but despite a few flaws it's definitely worth watching. The sexual and racial themes were pretty daring for the mid-60s, and while I can see what some people are saying about its "soap" feel, it's quite compelling. Brando plays a small town farmer turned sheriff who is despised by many of his contemporaries because they think he is the puppet of the local millionaire Val Rogers (Marshall). Rogers' son Jake (Fox) is having an affair with a local woman (Fonda) who is married to a convict Bubba Reeves (Redford). Bubba escapes from prison and an innocent bystander is killed by his fellow escapee. Bubba initially plans on heading to Mexico, but he desperately returns to his home town for help, not realizing that he is being hunted as a murderer. News of his escape causes tensions to explode in the town, with catastrophic results for everyone. Brando is terrific throughout, and reason enough to watch this, but Fonda is surprisingly good, Robert Duvall is memorable as a cuckold, and character actor Clifton James ('Cool Hand Luke', 'Live And Let Die', 'The Last Detail') almost steals the movie as a hot headed drunken redneck. 'The Chase' may not be as great as it could have been, but I still think it deserves more attention than it gets. Brando fans shouldn't overlook this one!