Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Tonight's Movie: Every Which Way But Loose (1978)

This year I've enjoyed a few films starring or directed by Clint Eastwood, including ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ (1979), BRONCO BILLY (1980), and revisiting SULLY (2016).

Since I enjoyed all of those titles I got to thinking I should check out more Eastwood films, and I started with EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE (1978).

I remember seeing the advertisements for this when I was a kid -- the orangutan was kind of hard to miss -- but I had never seen the movie before. It proved to be mildly amusing, though nothing special.

The movie is almost plotless. As it begins, we see Philo Beddoe (Eastwood) getting off work driving a truck, but little else is heard of his job after that point. Philo lives with an orangutan (!) named Clyde; his buddy Orville (Geoffrey Lewis) lives next door with his ornery mother (Ruth Gordon).

Philo becomes interested in Lynn (Sondra Locke), who sings at talent night at the Palomino Club, and when she leaves town abruptly, Philo and Orville -- and Clyde! -- hit the road to search for her. (Job, what job?!) Along the way they meet Echo (Beverly D'Angelo) working at a roadside produce stand, and Echo and Orville become an item.

That's pretty much the story right there. As the movie meandered on, it suddenly hit me that it was an updated version of a Beach Party movie; it had music, a goofy motorcycle gang, characters living free from responsibility, and not much plot. All it needed to complete the analogy was Vincent Price or Bob Cummings in the cast!

Price and Cummings are not in the movie, but there are a couple great old character faces who have screen time, George Chandler and Hank Worden.

I liked the movie's music, with Eddie Rabbitt singing the title song and appearances by Mel Tillis and Charlie Rich. I also enjoyed some of the great "vintage" shots of the San Fernando Valley, such as a look at a Bob's Big Boy under the opening credits.

There were some cute bits with Clyde but all in all the film is only mildly entertaining. I do hope to catch the sequel, ANY WHICH WAY YOU CAN (1980), in the near future. Although I wasn't impressed, it's fun getting to know the movies behind the posters after all these years.

EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE was directed by James Fargo from a script (such as it is) by Jeremy Joe Kronsberg. The movie was shot by Rexford Metz.

EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE is available on DVD as a single title or in the 4 Film Favorites: Clint Eastwood collection. It also had a release on VHS.


Blogger Margot Shelby said...

I love Eastwood dearly but cannot bring myself to watch a movie with him and an orangutan in it. Just not possible.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

LOLLLLL. It is a pretty oddball gimmick!

Best wishes,

9:29 AM  
Blogger john k said...

EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE and it's sequel made a fortune at the box office and allowed
Clint to also make films with less box office appeal.
ANY WHICH WAY YOU CAN is even sillier but it does have an extended fight between Clint
and William Smith who noted that it's the longest fight in screen history where stunt
performers were not used. Smith also stated that Clint accidentally broke one of his
(Smith's) ribs in the fight but he never let on because he knew Clint would feel real
bad about it. When asked by an interviewer about his reputation about being "The Hardest
Man In Hollywood" Smith replied that title belongs to Leo Gordon.
Other Eastwood films I think you will enjoy are his recent hit THE MULE which despite
the drug plotline has great moments of humour-it's certainly a "Road Movie" above
anything else.
I also think that you will enjoy A PERFECT WORLD where Clint co stars with Kevin Costner
another "road" type movie but far more low key.
Clint's latest (as director not actor) RICHARD JEWELL is getting some great advance
Oscar buzz and it's even rumoured that he has another as yet un-named project set to
roll next Spring. All of this proves that you cannot keep a good man down especially
as Clint turns 90 next year.

11:18 AM  
Blogger Lee R said...

I've never seen a Clint movie I didn't like (least not ones he stars in, some of his directorial efforts I've never bothered with as their subject matter leaves me cold). And while it's been a couple decades since I've seen "Every Which..." your remark that it was like a beach movie and only was missing V. Price and Bob Cummings made me laugh out loud. I've never thought of this as a beach movie but I probably will from now on.

7:32 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

John, great to hear from you! Enjoyed the background details and recommendations you provided. I have a copy of THE MULE and am curious about it, glad to read your thoughts on it. I will have to look for A PERFECT WORLD as I'm a big Costner fan. Curious also about that upcoming RICHARD JEWELL film. Thanks so much for your thoughts!

Lee, glad to know my comparison amused you. :) This was sure a goofy movie and from what John says above, the sequel will be even sillier, but I'll be glad to have finally made the acquaintance of both films! I'm enjoying delving into Clint's career.

Best wishes,

10:20 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older