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I Walk the Line

53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A married backwoods Tennessee sheriff falls in love with a teenager whose father is a moonshiner. The sheriff becomes involved in the illicit operations, making sure his men and federal agents stay clear of the stills. When a deputy stumbles upon the still and is killed, this makes the sheriff an accomplice to the crime.

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Definitely not to be confused with 2005's much-honored Walk the Line, director John Frankenheimer's 1970 film I Walk the Line uses the music of Johnny Cash to tell a very different story. Gregory Peck is Henry Tawes, the sheriff of a depressed and depressing rural backwater whose life goes pretty much straight into the outhouse once he lays eyes on Alma McCain (Tuesday Weld), daughter of a local moonshiner. Bored with his job and his home life alike, Tawes may not suffer fools, but he's only too willing to become one once Alma, an irresistible and much younger Tennessee tart (Peck was in his mid-fifties at the time; Weld was nearly three decades behind him), starts pulling his strings at the behest of her pa (Ralph Meeker), who's using his daughter to help, uh, persuade the sheriff to overlook his criminal activities. It's obvious from the git-go that none of this will turn out well for our hero, and while Frankenheimer (who directed the original Manchurian Candidate) and screenwriter Alvin Sargent (a future Oscar winner for Ordinary People and Julia) do a decent job of keeping the tension mounting, the film never quite catches fire. Part of that is due to the measured, laconic performance delivered by Peck, who has a certain dignity that keeps him from really inhabiting his role; much more convincing is Charles Durning as his deputy, a donut-eating, law-bending Southern slug. On the other hand, it's always nice to hear Cash delivering the classic title song, even if his several other tunes featured in I Walk the Line fall somewhat short of that standard. --Sam Graham

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Product Details

  • Actors: Gregory Peck, Tuesday Weld, Estelle Parsons, Ralph Meeker, Lonny Chapman
  • Directors: John Frankenheimer
  • Writers: Alvin Sargent, Madison Jones
  • Producers: Edward Lewis, Harold D. Cohen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 7, 2006
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E5KUJC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,325 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "I Walk the Line" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Arthur Martin on February 5, 2006
Format: DVD
I remember seeing I WALK THE LINE a year or two ago in a John Frankenheimer retrospective at New York's Film Forum. I saw it frankly because the movie seemed like the runt of the litter -- underappreciated, only screening for one day -- and because I needed an excuse to listen to a bunch of Johnny Cash songs I already knew too well.

Well, my hunch was right. This movie is a quiet pleasure, full of illicit love, melodrama, and great music. Apart from a patch near the end that looks so bizarre compared to the rest of the flick that it had to have been reshot later in a studio, the natural photography is great and sets a lyrical mood.

One can see why this movie has been neglected, because it's simple and not showy, but it's a well-told tale, and hopefully DVD will bring it to a new audience.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By F. J. Harvey on October 17, 2007
Format: DVD
Not to be confused with the much lauded-and righly so-Johnny Cash biopic "Walk the Line" this is a gritty slice of downbeat country noir that has much going for it but ultimately becomes a rather gruelling exercise for audiences

Gregory Peck stars as dour but honest Tennessee backwoods sheriff Henry Tawes ,stuck in a routine marriage and feeling his life slipping by .He falls head over heels in love with nubile teenager Alma McCain (Tuesday Weld)a decision that proves to have disastrous consequences .Her father -played by Ralph Meeker is the local moonshine baron ,and he ruthlessly exploits Taws obsession with his daughter to compel him to turn a blind eye to his moonshine operation ,and to make sure the Federal agents do the same thing .Things escalate when McCain senior murders Peck's deputy (Charles Durning)and forces Peck to help cover up the crime .From there things move to an ending marked by the type of inevitability associated with Greek tragedy
The movie is superbly well acted and all the principals acquit themselves splendidly .I must single out Tuesday Weld for special mention however .In my opinion no actress ever has suggested amorality and sensuality so well in US cinema and it is a pity she never really brought this unique gift to more mainstream roles .She nails the accent to perfection as she does the dumb innocence and the sensuous somewhat amoral creature lurking beneath this veneer .Special mention also to Estelle Prsons as Tawes' pathetic and clinging wife and strong cameos from Durning and Bellamy add weight to proceedings ,backing up Peck' sterling work in the lead role
Johnny Cash contibutes 5 songs to the soundtrack and they help establish the bleak ,haunting mood of the piece and form an emotional commentary to events on screen .
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Misanthrope on February 12, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I don't know what Amazon has against this film. This was another spur of the moment buy, and again I wasn't disappointed. The acting is excellent--everyone is terrific in their role, especially Weld and Peck, who each play off the other's hidden agenda quite well. They're both manipulative and decitful, but she's the more "honest" in only trying to help her family. On the other hand, Peck's character is just downright creepy, with some deep-seated control freak issues that just compresses him more and more. You can see him treat her as a person less as the movie progresses, and by the end, you're hoping she gets away with her family.

A well-constructed psychological drama, with great buildup of tension as the noose seems to close in on all sides. Don't really know what all the talk was for on that 'bedroom scene'. It was really quite chaste by today's standards.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Frank R. Lando Jr. on August 11, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is one of my favorite movies of all time. Not just about temptation but about longing for a life (even if unattainable) that does not so much resemble the hell that is your own. To me, it's about someone who is emotionally dead (peck) trying desperately to live again thru his impossible dream of running away with a moonshiner's daughter who is probably just using him. Weld's performance is, in a word, haunting. No matter how many times you see this film, you never REALLY know what she is thinking. Is that the character? I think not. That is the mystic of Tuesday Weld. A must see, I'd say. But very misunderstood. NOT A SECOND RATE LOLITA!!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Noirdame on January 19, 2013
Format: DVD
Not to be confused with the 2005 Johnny Cash biopic "Walk The Line", this 1970 film directed by John Frankenheimer tells the story of a middle-aged, small-town sheriff, Henry Tawes (Gregory Peck) , who finds himself becoming increasingly disillusioned with his life as a husband and father, and coming to resent his humdrum existence. It could also be argued that he is entering a mid-life crisis, and one day, he stops the daughter of a local moonshiner (played by Ralph Meeker), pretty Alma McCain (Tuesday Weld) and her younger brother for driving without a permit. Captivated by her beauty, he begins a secret affair with her, all the while turning a blind eye to her family's illegal activities. Things become increasingly out of hand as inspectors begin to investigate the goings on in town and Henry's devious deputy (Charles Durning) discovers the liaison and the McCain family's profession. Henry also finds his distraught wife (Estelle Parsons) has also discovered the affair, and he decides to throw all caution to the wind and run away with Alma. Torn between her affection for Henry and her loyalty to her family, Alma's choice and Henry's recklessness result in tragedy and heartbreak.

This movie was very much overlooked when it was first released, but it is a good flick and the performances are superb. The production was shot mainly on location in Tennessee and Johnny Cash provides the soundtrack. This role was a very different one for Gregory Peck, especially at this stage of his career, but he embodies the tightly-wound sheriff expertly. Tuesday Weld is convincing and captivating as a young woman caught in a way of life that not only limits her opportunities but also her choices.
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