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AFInity: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

By Kim Hollis

August 6, 2009

If one more person talks about his pretty eyes, I'm going to smack them.

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George Roy Hill makes some fascinating decisions as the film's director, and they really add to the experience of watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I would contend that any number of scenes in the movie would work perfectly well as short, standalone films. So much is encompassed in these segments. Character is revealed, themes are uncovered and story is progressed. Hill also makes unique use of color, as the opening scene has a sepia tone to it, giving it a gritty feel that makes it feel very much like a Western, but the humor and dialogue take it to another level.

The music in the film is extremely anachronistic, and yet it never really feels out of place. Everyone seems to know Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid for the use of the song "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head", which was written for the film by Hal David and Burt Bacharach. It's been parodied so many times that it's ingrained into the cultural zeitgeist. Yet, it really does fit the moment – Butch takes Sundance's lover, Etta Place (Katharine Ross), for a spin on his new bicycle. Its upbeat message sets the mood, right up until the bike "betrays" Butch and he decides that if this mode of transportation is the future, he wants no part of it. The contemporary music, both the signature song and the score (also by Bacharach), further prove the notion that Butch and Sundance are men of a transitional time.




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Perhaps the best thing I can say about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is that I've found myself thinking about it often in the days since I viewed it. I think about that opening scene and marvel at how much is revealed in such a short time. I remember this scene:



and I am impressed at how much we learn about both Butch and Sundance in a segment that also provides a lot of levity. I recall some of the breathtaking scenery and the sense of dread inspired by the name La Fours or the thought of a white Boater hat. This movie is one that I regret not having watched 20 times or more. I'll plan to remedy that in the future.

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