Little Big Man [Blu-ray]
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Jack Crabb is the only white survivor of the Battle of Little Big Horn and the centenarian shares his story in this picaresque fable of the Old West. In Arthur Penn's adaptation of Thomas Berger's novel, Dustin Hoffman plays Jack from teen years into old age in a bravura performance. And Jack's story is a fantastic one: captured by Indians as a boy, reared as an Indian, shuttling back and forth between the white and Indian worlds. In the process, he befriends everyone from Wild Bill Hickock to George Armstrong Custer and is a gunslinger, a snake-oil salesman, and an Army scout. This is a solid blend of comedy and tragedy, with a strong statement to make about America's treatment of Native Americans without sermonizing. A terrific cast includes Faye Dunaway, Martin Balsam, and Richard Mulligan. But this show is all Hoffman's. --Marshall Fine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
can watch this film endlessly...
Chief Dan George...plays a memorable part in this film and as a Canadian I was very proud of his performance,he was truly an inspiration to natives in North America.
A VERY FINE MOVIE,BRILLIANT AND MOVING...and it is going to the forefront of my collection.
As kids, Jack and sister Caroline are the only survivors of an Indian attack, and they are taken to an Indian village and meet "Old Lodge Skins", the chief. Caroline expects to be raped later (and is somewhat disappointed when she is not) and rides away at night. The Cheyenne ("human beings") adopt Jack. Due to his small stature, Jack is named "Little Big Man" after he saves Younger Bear from a Pawnee attack.
In a battle againt the cavalry, just before he is about to be killed, Jack ID's himself as a white man, and is put in the care of Reverend Pendrake, whose wife (Faye Dunaway) takes an interest in Jack. He is taught to to read and write, and takes up religion with Mrs. Pendrake. After he finds Mrs. Pendrake and a soda-shop man in bed, that ends his religion phase.
Jack takes up with Mr. Meriwether, a con-man, and ends up getting tarred and feathered by a group lead by his own sister. Jack moves in with Caroline and she teaches him to shoot ("Go snake-eyed"). Jack becomes a flashy gun-fighter known as the Soda Pop Kid after his drink of choice. He meets Wild Bill Hickok ("Might I ask who I are addressin'?") but gives up gunfighting after Hickok kills a man in a bar. Caroline disowns him, so Jack gets a partner, becomes a store owner, and marries Olga, a large Swedish woman. Jack's partner is a crook, and he goes bankrupt.
General Custer is passing by, takes pity on Jack and advises him to "go west" with his personal guarantee of safety - cut to Indians raiding a stage coach and riding off with Olga.Read more ›
The Cheyenne scenes are moving and Ghief Dan george who plays Crabb's adoptive grandfather provides the film with gravity as he consistently demnonstrates wisdom and dignity despite the increasingly difficult circumstances that his tribe finds themselves in.
I don't know the actor's name who plays Custer but he provides just the right amount of comic bravado to make Custer seem to be a pathetic character who's hubris led to his troops demise. While this may or may not be an historically acurate portrayal it certainly fits the mood of the film.
Other famous western personalities such as Wild Bill Hickock are included in the story as Jack Crabb's life zig-zags it's way through the west. A fabulous ride and a very memorable film to be enjoyed again and again.
Penn and his collaborators use Jack as a social mirror reflecting the injustice, brutality and pettiness of the wild west. Staying true to the spirit of Thomas Berger's marvelous novel, the cast and crew manage to distill much of the essence of Berger while sacrificing some of the less important details. The loss is, surprisingly, not really felt for many of those who read the novel. The superb supporting cast includes Martin Balsam, Jeff Corey (in a funny, perceptive cameo as Wild Bill Hiccock), Faye Dunaway (as a religious hypocrite who lusts after her adopted son Jack), Chief Dan George (he has some of the funniest lines in the script)and the late Richard Mulligan playing a vain nearly psychopathic General Custer.
The digital transfer preserves the original aspect ratio of the film and the nearly flawless print shows very little digital compression problems. This disc is enhanced for 16X9 widescreen TVs. The 139 minute production is presented on a dual layer disc for maximum picture quality. I didn't detect any analog artifacts (or at the very least very few). The color is fairly true to the original release as far as I can tell. The sound presented in Dolby Digital 5.Read more ›