MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

By Mike Wilmington

Wilmington on DVDs: Deliverance



DELIVERANCE (40th Anniversary collector’s edition) Four Stars

U.S.; John Boorman, 1972 (Warner Bros.)

Four Southern businessmen, searching for the joys of youth, join together for a Georgia canoe trip on the beautiful but often dangerously turbulent Cahulawassee River. Soon however, after a violent confrontation with two evil backwoodsmen, they find themselves heading into a Conradian Heart of Darkness.

Jon Voight (as the man of thought), Burt Reynolds (as the man of action), Ned Beatty (as the fat jovial victim, the man of expediency) and Ronny Cox (as the man of conscience) are the white rapids-daring quartet, and they’re all aces. (Reynolds has never been better). Bill McKinney and Herbert “Cowboy” Coward play their antagonists, the brutal hillbillies of your worst nightmares – and Vilmos Zsigmond’s spectacular cinematography of the wild river runs and the deep dark forests has a hypnotic splendor, drenching the screen in lyricism and thrills.

Splendid also is Deliverance’s  famous spine-tingling  instrumental scene “Duellin’ Banjos,” an idyllic early interlude with river-traveller Ronny Cox bursting into a furious banjo duet with a mentally challenged river boy, a number — according to the Deliverance booklet — originally written (as “Feudin’ Banjos”) by the legendary picker Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith. It’s played for the movie by two New York City session musicians Eric Weissberg and Steven Mandell, mimed on screen by Billy Redden (as the  “Banjo Boy”), with Mike Addis miming the playing. It’s one moment of almost celestial lightness and gace, in a movie that often soaks you in pure fear, fills you with horror.

In fact, John Boorman’s 1972 film, from poet James Dickey’s celebrated novel (southern poet Dickey wrote the screenplay and appears in a cameo as a burly sheriff), is one of the great dark American adventure movies. It’s also the model of a ‘70s American film classic, typical product of a movie decade that took artistic chances as well as financial ones. Every scene has a terrific mix of spontaneity and elegiac beauty, and the result is a wrenching, unforgettable film experience: a Faulknerian, even Melvillean, plunge into the perils of nature, the terrors of the chase, the contradictions of humanity, and the dark wilderness of the soul.

Extras: Commentary by Boorman; Featurettes (including the vintage The Dangerous World of Deliverance and the newly made documentary Deliverance: The Cast Remembers); Booklet; Trailer.


Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.


awesome stuff. OK I would like to contribute as well by sharing this awesome link, that personally helped me get some amazing and easy to modify. check it out at All custom premade files, many of them totally free to get. Also, check out Dow on: Wilmington on DVDs: How to Train Your Dragon, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Darjeeling Limited, The Films of Nikita Mikhalkov, The Hangover, The Human Centipede and more ...

cool post. OK I would like to contribute too by sharing this awesome link, that personally helped me get some amazing and easy to customize. check it out at All custom templates, many of them dirt cheap or free to get. Also, check out Downlo on: Wilmington on Movies: I'm Still Here, Soul Kitchen and Bran Nue Dae

awesome post. Now I would like to contribute too by sharing this awesome link, that personally helped me get some beautiful and easy to modify. take a look at All custom premade files, many of them free to get. Also, check out DownloadSoho.c on: MW on Movies: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Paranormal Activity 2, and CIFF Wrap-Up

Carrie Mulligan on: Wilmington on DVDs: The Great Gatsby

isa50 on: Wilmington on DVDs: Gladiator; Hell's Half Acre; The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Rory on: Wilmington on Movies: Snow White and the Huntsman

Andrew Coyle on: Wilmington On Movies: Paterson

tamzap on: Wilmington on DVDs: The Magnificent Seven, Date Night, Little Women, Chicago and more …

rdecker5 on: Wilmington on DVDs: Ivan's Childhood

Ray Pride on: Wilmington on Movies: The Purge: Election Year

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon