Vintage Bridges! In this delightful 1975 film, Jeff Bridges plays Lewis Tater a would-be author of escapist fiction that features the Wild West, a la Zane Grey, the foremost writer of Western fiction in 1920s dime novels. To that end, our Iowa farm boy has saved enough money to enroll in a Nevada-based college for writers. Rather than send his hard-earned money by mail, he figures he can kill two birds with one stone: if he takes his money to the campus in person, he will also be in a great place where he can learn how to be a cowboy.
By the time he flees into the desert he has been bilked, robbed and disillusioned; but he stumbles onto a movie set and our story begins.
* Jeff Bridges ("True Grit") ever so young and ever so appealing. His character has just the right blend of naiveté and smarts, but his descriptions of his drama as it unfolds are hilarious. He always reminds anyone who will listen that he's a writer!
* Blythe Danner ("The Lucky One") is a production assistant on the movie set. With an ever-present cigarette dangling from her mouth, she can see our hero's potential before anyone else.
* Andy Griffith ("Waitress") is one of the extras in these westerns, which are produced like sausages in a factory. An actor's pay is determined by when he dies and if he has a line.
* Alan Arkin ("Argo") is the over-stressed director. His methods for motivating his actors are very funny, and very effective. Arkin won a New York Film Critics Circle award as Best Supporting Actor for this role.
* Herb Edelman ("The Golden Girls") is the money man, weary and disgruntled.
This modest little PG-13 outing has a charming hero, a wise heroine, sly villains, delightful peeks at early film making and enough awards and praise to prove that sometimes audiences are right! For years, all I could get was the VHS tape, but I see that it is now available on DVD; I got mine from Amazon!