10 responses to “Re-Watchterpiece Theater: Deliverance (1972)

  1. The Guy who has an unhealthy obsession with Babar the Elephant

    Nice analysis of a great film. The book by James Dickey is also a remarkable novel being named to the Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century by the Modern Library. Dickey even had a cameo in the film as the Sheriff.

    • I noticed that when I was reading up a little bit- that Dickey had been the sheriff. Apparently, he was a total oddball on set and didn’t get along with the actors.

  2. What serendipitous timing. I know you don’t know me, but I’m hoping you can advise me in a DELIVERANCE-related issue I’m having.

    I’ve only seen the movie once, on TV, in the pan-and-scan version from my local video store. When I was watching it, I was annoyed at the panning and scanning but I quickly got over it because the movie disturbed the hell out of me. I was probably 14 or 15 at the time and too young to pick up on some of the things you mention here, but when I think back on the movie, I’m still freaked the hell out.

    Cut to: DELIVERANCE is playing on the big screen here in Paris in a couple weeks. I kind of want to see it but am concerned that if I do see it projected big and wide, I may not be able to handle the more disturbing elements of the film (and I’m not talking just about the obvious, but also Burt Reynolds in a leather vest [shudder]).

    My question to you: should I see it? If it weren’t being shown in a cinema, I’d never consider a re-watch, but I do love seeing everything on the big screen.

    • Hmm… I’m inclined to say yes. The way I see it, it’s a great movie- one of the best ever made (call it one of the 200 best movies ever made). How many chances do you really get to see a movie like that in its original format?

      But take my comment with a grain of salt. It’d take a lot to freak me out enough to keep me from seeing a movie on the big screen. I don’t think I could see, say, Salo on the big screen. But most anything else would be fair game.

      I say go for it. (and don’t hold me responsible if it’s hard to watch)

  3. ‘Deliverance’ is one of the films that make the 1970’s the Golden Age of American Cinema. Fun fact, a long time ago in the 90’s. I waited on Ned Beatty. He was in Baltimore filming ‘Homicide:Life on the Streets’. Incredibly nice guy who loved hanging out at Baltimore’s Cross street Market and talking to us Baltimorons. The first time I waited on him he order the Pork Loin. All I could think of was the, “squeal like a pig” scene. No matter what else he has done in his amazing career,(hello, ‘Network’ anyone?) he will be associated with that scene. And it IS a great scene and yes it is a horror movie.

  4. Great re-watch post. Deliverance is actually one of my Top 10 films of all time. I love everything about it, most of which you mentioned. One thing that is so fascinating about Zsigmond’s cinematography is that Boorman instructed him to drastically desaturate the color as a way of making the river look less beautiful. That gives the river scenes this kind of gray look of doom, which is so damn fitting. Seriously, I love this movie.

    Also, I’ve discussed Burt Reynolds as Lewis ad nauseam, but I think describing the character as a “weekend warrior hard-on” is the best definition of Lewis that I’ve ever seen. Priceless.

    • Yes! I saw some of that myself in the articles after the viewing- making the river look menacing on purpose, making it look anything but scenic, etc… Pretty impressive feat, really, and a killer idea.

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