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Clemenza's Corner

John Boorman, USA, 1972
Rating: 2.6 (Docked .4 for showing a semi-nude Ned Beatty)

Posted: January 8, 2003

I'd like to tell you that Deliverance is a gritty film depicting the stark contrasts between man's civility and his primal instincts. I'd really like to tell you that, in a larger sense, it deals with man's morality clashing with his innate drive for survival. And believe me, I would be all too happy to tell you that this film shows how man interacts with his fellow man when the rules of society are not in effect. I'd like to tell you all of this. I can't. Why? Simply put, Deliverance is about the anal assassination of Ned Beatty. I'm not happy about it. That's just how it is. You doubt me? Mention this film in conversation and the responses will deal with Ned's violation followed by the banjo-playin' kid a distant second. What Jaws did for the ocean years later, Deliverance did for the backwoods in the early seventies. No one who has ever seen this film has dared to journey far into the wilderness without a gun, hatchet, or kevlar underwear. Let's face it, if Ned Beatty was a target, who's safe? Perhaps only Ernest Borgnine and Abe Vigoda could walk about unafraid, and then only in good light! (In all fairness to Ned Beatty, he did cut quite a dashing figure in his L.L. Bean camping attire and short-brimmed boonie hat.) Anyway, suffice it to say that Beatty's, um, assault is a disturbing scene that will haunt you long after the film ends. No one who has ever heard Ned "squeal like a pig" has ever emerged emotionally unscathed. Oh yeah, Burt Reynolds is in the film too, long before toupee technology was perfected, but that's of little consequence here. If nothing else, Deliverance does put you right in the middle of a struggle for survival, far removed from the comforts of city life. You'll never take another paved road or concrete sidewalk for granted again.

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 Clemenza's Ratings Key:

 5.0: A drop of bliss

 4.0-4.9: Touchdown!
 3.0-3.9: Close, but...
 2.0-2.9: Box of Rocks
 1.1-1.9: Time bandit
 0.0-1.0: Soul scarring
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