Tuesday, October 15, 2013
The Red Badge of Courage Meets The Twilight Zone: Watch “The Hunt,” with Arthur Hunnicutt and Jeanette Nolan
My boy and I watched John Huston’s The Red Badge of Courage again Sunday night. We’d first seen it three years ago, when he was 10. The occasion for watching it again was that he had had to read it for his class in communism, er, humanities/social studies, and write a paper on “courage” in Crane’s novel and another Civil War novel I’d never heard of, Shades of Grey.
By the way, the studio supposedly butchered Badge, but you could’ve fooled me. It’s a minor masterpiece, and features the best performance I’ve ever seen from Audie Murphy. Since the picture only runs 69 minutes, despite having been made by Oscar-winner John Huston, the studio must have cut it, but it must have cut entire scenes, because the scenes that are there, all make powerful sense.
Arthur Hunnicutt plays an older Union soldier, but it was a variation on the same rustic type he always played, as the successor to Gabby Hayes. At one point, Hunnicutt’s character, Bill Porter, says he’s never gone anywhere without his dog before.
Watch “The Hunt” just below, and then tell me that it’s a mere coincidence that Earl Hamner Jr. would write a script about a man who wouldn’t go anywhere without his dog, starring Hunnicutt. Even if you mistakenly disagree with me, it’s a beautiful story. I'd only seen it once, a good 40 years ago, and yet I almost perfectly remembered the second half.
[In “The Hunt,” the superstitious wife, as played by Jeanette Nolan, reminded me of someone. My boy showed the video to The Boss earlier today, and she loved it, exclaiming of the wife’s superstitions, “Dat’s real!”]
Oh, and keep some Kleenex handy, just in case.
“The Hunt” first aired on January 26, 1962.
A big thank you to GNUTresurrected, for the beautiful upload.