HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
Butt Boy
Dog of Flanders, The
   
 
Newest Articles
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
   
 
  White Lightning Southern Hospitality
Year: 1973
Director: Joseph Sargent
Stars: Burt Reynolds, Jennifer Billingsley, Ned Beatty, Bo Hopkins, Matt Clark, Louise Latham, Diane Ladd, R.G. Armstrong, Conlan Carter, Dabbs Greer, Lincoln Demyan, John Steadman, Iris Korn, Stephanie Burchfield, Barbara Muller, Robert Ginnaven, Fay Martin
Genre: Drama, Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Gator McKlusky (Burt Reynolds) is currently in prison, serving his time with one year of his sentence to go, when he receives some bad news. Very bad: his brother has been found dead in suspicious circumstances, and although nobody can prove anything, it is believed that the Sheriff (Ned Beatty) of Bogan County was instrumental in the death. Filled with rage, Gator breaks out of jail and makes a run for it across the surrounding countryside, but does not get far enough and is quickly caught. However, the authorities offer him a proposition: if he helps bring down that corrupt sheriff and his moonshine ring, he may well get pardoned...

In some ways, White Lightning was a transitional film for Hollywood and American cinema in general, not because it was any kind of classic, but because it sent many filmmakers in one direction for much of the rest of the seventies. If Reynolds, here making his persona as the World's Most Fabulous Man plain for all to see, had not had hits with his good old boy movies, then exploitation efforts from the U.S. of A. may well have taken a different path. As it was, this film led to the mega successes of Smokey and the Bandit, to the minor successes of any number of New World low budget action flicks, all the way to The Dukes of Hazzard being must-see television for a generation.

Oddly, there's not much joy in the film, as in spite of featuring the requisite car chases and the leading man getting one over on the lawmen in the vicinity, actual humour was thin on the ground. When the plot does resolve itself into the kind of pursuit with a jokey payoff at the end, it marks perhaps the style that they should have adopted all along, as this is far too serious for its own good, with a misguided attempt at something to say in a social commentary fashion when it's really strongest at its more lively sequences. Those sequences were directed by legendary stunt arranger Hal Needham, another important figure in these so-called "hick flicks", about to turn director himself with Reynolds as his star.

So Gator gets out of prison on the condition that he must take down Sheriff Connors, with Beatty here proving he had range after his unforgettable turn in Deliverance. In fact the whole film is well cast with an eye to which faces would look most authentic in this setting, from Jennifer Billingsley as the slightly over the hill love interest, to Bo Hopkins as her beau who Gator teams up with in the illegal whisky business, but is working underhandedly both as a stool pigeon and as a man taking away his new friend's woman. Unfortunately for too many times this presents laidback conversations in too dark interiors, as if director Joseph Sargent was reluctant to admit the drama was far better if his characters were emphatically on the move rather than otherwise static.

There are a few nice scenes that don't feature cars zooming about dusty roads and tracks, as the one where Gator attempts to seduce a worker at the courthouse to get more information and access to it ends with her twigging what he's up to and deciding she's far too virtuous to fall for his line in charm. Reynolds was in his element of course, but comes across as wanting to take this a lot more lightheartedly than the demands of the story will allow him to, and the final revelation about why his brother was killed, which was nothing to do with lawbreaking, is clunkily matched to an unconvincing consideration of the hippies and their anti-war sentiments, a subplot which is out of place to say the least. What White Lightning does have in its favour is the atmosphere of the Deep South and the personality of its denizens, which many filmmakers from then on would capitalise on, whether for fun or not. Music by Charles Bernstein.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2831 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: