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December 17, 2017, 12:54:51 PM
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Badmovies.org Forum  |  Movies  |  Good Movies  |  Hard Times (1975) « previous next »
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Author Topic: Hard Times (1975)  (Read 1008 times)
akiratubo
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« on: May 20, 2014, 12:58:19 AM »

During the depression, a man named Chaney arrives in Louisiana.  He enters an underground boxing match for some quick cash and wins the fight with one punch.  He meets a promoter named Speed, who offers to get Chaney a shot at some real money matches.  Chaney agrees.  He goes on to win a couple matches against local businessman Gandil's bully boys.  Incensed, Gandil brings in a ringer from Chicago, a big man named Street, to take Chaney out.

And that's pretty much the whole thing.  Sure, sure, the movie drags its feet a little bit with the skeleton of a romance between Chaney and some woman, plus there's a bit about Gandil kidnapping one of Speed's friends to ensure Chaney shows up to fight Street.  The plot is so focused and so bare I'm amazed this movie made it to feature length.  I can picture screenwriter/director Walter Hill doing a run-through in pre-production and realizing he only had about 30, maybe 40 minutes of movie.  "Whoa, gotta throw some padding in here."

The punch ups are pretty good.  Unfortunately, Hill used an age-old trick to make them seem longer than they actually were: he filmed a few stunt sequences from different angles simultaneously and tried to pass it off as one long fight in editing.   This is especially evident in the fight against the thug played by Bob Tessier.  See if you can count how many times they replay the exact same 1-2-3 combo from Chaney.  According to Walter Hill, this was necessary because Charles Bronson, who plays Chaney, had very little stamina due to being a heavy smoker.  "He could only fight for about 30 seconds at a time," so he says.  The climactic fight with Street has no evidence of this kind of thing, however.  One assumes that the filmmakers took extra time to shoot the money scene so that Bronson could recover between takes and do more involved stunt work.  And, yes, it is obviously Bronson doing all his own fighting and stunts.

My main gripe with this movie is that Chaney is too tough.  No matter how much of a beating he takes, he never seems any worse for wear.  After the fight, he just puts his jacket back on, collects his money, and walks off.  He never even so much as looks tired.  I know Hill probably thought that made Chaney look too cool for words but it just doesn't work for me.  I grew up watching heroes that showed how much it hurt to win a fight, be it Rocky, RoboCop, Dutch from Predator, or John McClane.  These guys were cool because they played through the pain.  Chaney coming out of a beating completely unaffected is almost boring in comparison.
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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2014, 08:30:43 AM »

I remember seeing this one in the theater with my dad. Very good movie and I catch it occasionally when it's on TV (last time I can't remember when). 
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Neville
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2014, 02:45:51 PM »

One of the early Walter Hill movies, when he was building a reputation as one of Peckinpah's heirs. I quite like the film as it is, with a barebones plot and tough guys. It must be one of the best films Bronson made in that era, and the final fight is awesome.
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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2014, 01:57:31 PM »

Missed it when it was first released, but I later caught it on TV. I'll just add my praise for the film to everybody else's. Probably one of Charles Bronson's best performances.
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retrorussell
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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2014, 03:16:11 PM »

Bronson was so bad-ass in this.  He made an appearance on the Red Skelton show in his boxing attire.  He really was a tough mf.
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Allhallowsday
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« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2014, 03:15:37 PM »

I like anything CHARLES BRONSON did, even when he was credited as BUCHINSKY.   Add JAMES COBURN and I'm good to go.   I like HARD TIMES
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