John Flynn's (Lock Up, Out for Justice) notorious 1977 revenge thriller Rolling Thunder has been discussed over the years almost as much for its unavailability on dvd as for the explosive acts of violence littered throughout it. Even though it was finally released last year via the MGM Limited Edition Collection (the studio's trumped up name for the orphaned films in their portfolio, dumped onto burnt dvds, often with questionable transfers), it'd be a crime to miss out this Tuesday night when Dan Halsted has a rare 35mm print of the film lined up for his monthly Grindhouse Film Festival event at the Hollywood Theatre.
Yes, Quentin Tarantino likes the film so much that he named his short-lived distribution company after it, which is all fine and dandy, but the real reason to pay attention to Rolling Thunder is Paul Schrader. Obviously, Schrader's best known for his screenplays for Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, as well as for his work as a writer/director on such films as American Gigalo and Affliction. Rolling Thunder is Schrader at his prime, when his entire output seemed to be dedicated to investigating outsiders prodded towards acts both violent and transgressive. If you're a fan of any of the films dissected in Robert Kolker's "A Cinema of Loneliness", you owe it to yourself to catch this film.
Enough of my blathering, here's the press release for this month's Grindhouse event:
On Tuesday September 25th at 7:30, the Grindhouse Film Festival presents a rare 35mm print of the 70′s revenge masterpiece Rolling Thunder. Written by Paul Schrader around the same time he wrote Taxi Driver, this is one of the most underrated American films of the 1970′s.
Rolling Thunder (1977) William Devane stars as Major Charles Rane who returns from a long tortuous stay in a Vietnamese POW camp to find his wife married to another man and his only son wary of a father he doesn’t know. Tommy Lee Jones co-stars as a shattered POW survivor who finds it impossible to readjust to civilian life, and sees Rane as the only man he can relate to. When a crew of thugs invade Rane’s home, mangle his hand in a garbage disposal, and kill his son, Rane begins down a focused path of revenge. With a sharpened hook for a hand and a duffel bag full of shotguns, he crosses the border to Mexico with the only purpose he has left in his life.
Here's a bonus clip of director Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel) discussing the film:
Rolling Thunder plays one-night-only at the Hollywood Theatre on Tuesday, September 25th at 7:30pm. More info available here.
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