Friday, December 17, 2010

The Deer Hunter

The Deer Hunter was on the other night. I hadn't seen it in years and years and came across it only by accident. I got in on it where the first hunting sequence begins, right after the wedding, about an hour or so in, and I knew there was still plenty to go. I told Clara and she thought she'd watch it until it got to the sad parts - as I recalled, that wouldn't be long - and so we settled in and finished the remaining two hours or so, riveted.

I don't intend to review the movie here but I did want to note that it was as good as I remember. The actors looked so young and the music was as lovely as ever, especially the guitar work of John Williams. (No, not that John Williams. This John Williams.) The movie's soundtrack was the firstone I can recall ever buying and I'm sure I must have it around here somewhere. I remembered the theater where I first saw the movie and the friend I saw it with and how when the doors of the theater had opened, the audience came out in silence and the very air of the theater was warm and still as if the audience had just shared an intensely emotional experience. I soon would. The movie stayed with me for a long, long time after that but had gradually faded from my memory.

No, all I really wanted to say here was how pleasurable it was to stumble across a movie that had at one time greatly moved me. It was good to re-visit the story and the characters and the settings and experience the deep sadness that only great movies can bring. It was good, too, to go back to a time and place where I too seldom visit.

I don't know why the movie doesn't show up more often on cable but maybe it's best - if I had seen it often over the years it might have lost its impact. It's good to know some things stand the test of time. I think this movie does.


  1. I've only seen it once and should watch it again. But if I put it on my Netflix queue, I'd for sure have to defend the choice.

    I started college the year that movie came out (1978). Of course we were all lucky that the draft had lifted whether we appreciated fully or not.

    Ironically, what I associate with that movie is the silly college drinking game that the name and horrific scene inspired.

    Sheesh, maybe I should rewatch it too. Just for the music this time. :)

  2. Yeah, I remember that dumb game, too. Nothing like taking a serious movie and turning its harrowing plot point into a drinking game. College kids. Bah.