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Little Big Man
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Dustin Hoffman as the ever industrious Jack Crabb takes this movie on his shoulders and carries it superbly. To say that the actor shows some "range" in this role is the epitome of an understatement: from portraying an adolescent teenager to a fragile 121-year-old-man (phenomenal makeup job), from snake-oil salesman to mule skinner, Hoffman brings Jack's fascinating life to splendorous glory. And Hoffman is funny--darn funny--with a wonderful knack for physical comedy.
In addition to Hoffman, LITTLE BIG MAN offers other savory treats. Richard Mulligan is absolutely delightful as a narcissistic General George Armstrong Custer--the stunning Faye Dunaway positively wicked as naughty Mrs. Pendrake. Chief Dan George, who portrays Old Lodge Skins, Jack's adopted Cheyenne grandfather, delivers countless one-liners, yet lends a quiet, heartfelt dignity to his role. In fact, this is a movie one will wish to savor again and again--a beautifully crafted, well-made film that is timeless in its ability to entertain.
Hoffman's Jack Crabb, is perhaps a more cynical old west version of Forest Gump. Through random experience, this one man encounters almost every legendary figure and event of the old west. Like the movie "Forest Gump", there is strong subliminal commentary on the period that came nearly a century after. Yet, very much unlike Gump, but true to it's era, Little Big Man sees more of the negative side of the world. At 121, Jack is very much a critical child of the 1960's.
When first shown in the early 70's, the film's protracted war on the Native American culture became a metaphor for the period of genocide, then closing in Vietnam. While perhaps lost on first time viewers today, the protest message is so strong, that one can almost hear the sounds of helicopter air cavalry under the droning thunder of Custer's horse mounted assault on an Indian village. All that is missing is the Wagner and Napalm of "Apocalypse Now".
The eyes of Jack Crabb see the white man as bigoted, arrogant, insincere, vindictive and amoral - as he fluctuates between white culture and that of the Native Americans, whom he labels: "the human beings". A bit of a shuttle diplomat at times, Jack becomes almost an external missionary to both nations, while never truly accepting, or being accepted, by either group.
On the first level, Little Big Man is satisfying entertainment, on the next it is literature. One can see this film merely as a humorous western with employment opportunities for half the character actors in Hollywood and smile frequently. - OR - One can also look deeper and see the perspective of the period in which it was written and developed. It may give one pause to think hard about the mood of those times.
The movie features a first rate supporting cast including Martin Balsam as Mr.Merriweather,Faye Dunaway as Mrs.Pendrake, Jeff Corey as Wild Bill Hickok,Richard Mulligan as General George Armstrong Custer and Aimee Eccles as Sunshine.The story has many funny moments,sad moments,and intense moments, something not found in many westerns or many movies for that matter.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
one of my favorite Westerns, from the Indian's prospective. Dustin was great!Published 8 hours ago by gary ellis
Not authentic - if this is supposed to be a comedy, it was not funny. Very old school.Published 14 hours ago by Steve Marett
I enjoyed the life perspective Dustin had been written into wonderful. The movie blended humor with tragedy very well. Read morePublished 18 hours ago by Christopher Corson