Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Sharp ('34 - '13)
Saturated with blue-faced bedlam over the positively shocking occurrence of Rex Reed being a jackass, the daily discourse, at least if my Twitter feed is to be believed (my god those words), seemed all too content eliding over the death of writer Alan Sharp, whose small yet astonishingly high quality run of original screenplays in the early 70s produced three major wonders of the period: Peter Fonda's The Hired Hand (1971), Robert Aldrich's Ulzana's Raid (1972), and Arthur Penn's Night Moves (1975). (I've yet to see the Fleischer/Huston co-directed The Last Run, but I've heard it's very good.)
I would argue that, in the latter two examples at least, his tight and intricate hand brought out the best in those great directors. Unfortunately his career in films seemed to peter out in the following decades, with only a few theatrical features (Peckinpah's The Osterman Weekend and the Liam Neeson swashbuckler Rob Roy being the most notable) and a modest slew of TV movies to his name. But that exciting mini-body of work from that most exciting time in Hollywood will remain and fascinate as long as cinema remains and fascinates, and even if I'm only kidding myself to think that this post, in which I've said basically nothing, could be the teeniest of correctives to the latest Dumb Critic Quote Swarmfest, then at least that brief, immortal exchange from Night Moves at top has excuse to grab a few more seconds.