One of the reasons why I love partaking in this series is that it gives me an opportunity to watch films that I probably should've watch a long time ago, but never got around to. This is especially true with regards to genres that I don't seek out often like Westerns. So I was glad that this week's movie was one such movie, the 1969 George Roy Hill film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
The film revolves around the misadventures of the two titular outlaws starring the very handsome Paul Newman as the easy-going Cassidy and Robert Redford as the more uptight Sundance Kid. Their chemistry is undeniable as they trade jokes and fling sarcastic asides at one another and is probably one of the reasons, the other being Conrad Hall's magnificent cinematography, why the film is still quite so beloved. Another element that I love about the film was how light and funny it was, which I really didn't expect. So my favorite shot of the film clearly has got to feature both guys, highlight the cinematography, and show how fun the movie is.
Well, not so fast! Because can we just talk about Katharine Ross as Etta Place? Her line delivery of this line gave me goosebumps:
I'm 26, and I'm single, and a school teacher, and that's the bottom of the pit. And the only excitement I've known is here with me now. So I'll go with you, and I won't whine, and I'll sew your socks, and I'll stitch you when you're wounded, and I'll do anything you ask of me except one thing. I won't watch you die. I'll miss that scene if you don't mind.
She's not in the movie much, but her scenes with the boys are among my favorites in the film. We first see her interact with both of them separately, first with Sundance in an erotically charged scene in her bedroom and then with Butch the morning after playfully riding around on his bike as "Raindrops Are Falling On My Head" play in the background. Both scenes do well establishing the kind of relationship she has with both men. With this said, I was so very tempted to pick any of the static shots of the three of them during that New York City/Traveling to Bolivia montage having fun. Two shots I love in particular show them all so comfortable with one another, their bodies casually overlapping with each other:
My runner-up favorite shot is also from this sequence, towards the end, as they dance the night away on their boat heading towards Bolivia. It's actually two individual shots, but together they again highlight their complex and beautiful dynamic with Butch on the sidelines watching Sundance and Etta on the dance floor (all of them looking ridiculously amazing by the way):
But it's a scene earlier in the film where Etta thinks that she has lost both of the men she loves that I keep coming back to. We see a close up of her and in the background are the faint figures of her boys.
Etta then gets up to greet them and wordlessly puts her arms around them, and their arms around her, all of them staying like this for awhile.
My Favorite Shot
It's my favorite shot of the entire film mostly because it again involves the three of them. The emotions conveyed are epic probably prompting Butch to ask Etta to go to Bolivia with them and definitely informing Etta's big speech above about not wanting to watch them die after already confronting her feelings when she thought they had died. It kind of puts Etta in the dominant position. It's almost like she's saying "I don't care if you're emotionally distant, Sundance, and I don't care if you want to make jokes right now, Butch, because I thought both of you were dead so I'm fucking hugging you both and you just have to deal with it." At least that's how I read this particular scene! Plus all credit to Hall for the beautiful scenery made up of the dark mountains against the darkening sky.