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Customer Review

58 of 62 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My Son , this Movie Makes My Heart Soar Like a Hawk, May 20, 2003
This review is from: Little Big Man (DVD)
I remember seeing the original theatrical release of Arthur Penn's "Little Big Man" in the early 1970's. Now over thirty years later it has been released in DVD form and it is a film, that is both funny and tragic as ever.In the film, 121 year old Jack Crabb (played humorously by Dustin Hoffman) recounts his life (in narrated backflash) growing up among both the Cheyenne Indians and the white man in the old wild West.We follow the Crabb character as he goes through various phases as a Cheyenne warrior, a medicine show conman, a gunfighter, entrepreneurial business man, drunkard and finally a mule skinner/U.S. Army scout. Crabb is a man trapped between two cultures. He hilariously stumbles through the old west trying to find a place among his own kind, even though his heart is still with the Cheyenne Indians who adopted him. The movie leads up to Crabb's eventual, critical participation in the 'Battle of Little Bighorn', otherwise known as 'Custard's Last Stand'.The film is humorus as it shows how little people change over history. Just as today, people of the historical old West were driven by such things as love, lust, vanity, power and money.Unfortunatly they also were driven by bigiotry, hatred and violence.One of the main themes of "Little Big Man" is the terrible, almost genocidal treatment of the American Indian at the hands of the U.S. government.It's somewhat ironic, that the Cheyenne in the film refer to themselves as 'the human beings', yet the white men seem to treat them as anything but that. Arthur Penn (director of "Bonnie & Clyde") has created a sprawling, well directed, historical tapestry of a film, which makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time.The movie is a star vehicle for the then young, Dustin Hoffman. Like "The Graduate", this film shows off, what a wonderful comic performer Hoffman can be.The large cast has many standout performances. Faye Dunaway is hilarious as Jack's religious, yet lascivious, adoptive mother, Mrs.Pendrake. The same goes for comic actor, Richard Mulligan, who puts in a very funny performance playing General George Armstong Custard as a pompous egomaniac, who's vanity leads to his imfamous place in history.But by far, one of the best performances in the film comes from Chief Dan George, who play's Hoffman's wise and mystical, yet somewhat scatological adoptive, indian grandfather.The character is intersting, because he always seems to be able tell us the obvious truth of the moment.He understands that this time in history is the begining of the end for his people. I love the speech he makes in which he explains, that "there are endless amounts of white men, but only so many 'human beings'" (indians).Its's a shame Chief George didn't get an Academy Award for his wonderful performance.The DVD for this movie has a good picture and sound transfer, but is absolutly bare bones in extras (not even a trailer). Still, it is great film, which I highly recommend.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 11, 2013 1:08:33 PM PDT
Well-written 10-year old review, but seriously..."Custard's Last Stand"??? Gen. George Armstrong Custer is turning over in his grave :-)
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