A Valentine for Burt Reynolds

burtcover2As a valentine to one of my favorite stars, I offer a celebratory tribute to Burt Reynolds, who turns 77 today. He is one of a handful of genuine stars, like Kurt Russell and Bruce Willis, who are underrated or unappreciated probably because they are associated with genre films. Reynolds is best remembered for his action-based comedies featuring car chases and stunts and for appearing nude in Cosmopolitan magazine. Both made use of his movie star image as the handsome, charming smart aleck with the crazy laugh. However, his career was more varied than a nude centerfold and the Smokey and the Bandit series suggests, and his appeal was much broader compared to action stars today.

burtgunsmoke

REYNOLDS AS QUINT ON ‘GUNSMOKE’

Reynolds began his career in television, guest-starring in single episodes of small-screen westerns and occasionally landing a starring role in a series. I first noticed him in Gunsmoke, one of my Dad’s favorite shows, playing a half-Indian blacksmith named Quint. Though I was just a little girl, I took notice of the dark, handsome character with the killer biceps. Before Gunsmoke (1962-65), he played Ben Frazer in Riverboat (1959-60); afterwards, he was the title character in Hawk (1966) and Dan August (1970-71). The best guest-star appearance by Reynolds during his television days was in an episode of The Twilight Zone titled “The Bard,” in which he played Brando-like actor Rocky Rhodes. As a spoof of method actors and their eccentricities, Reynolds captured Brando’s mannerisms and vocal inflections with the just the right amount of exaggeration, revealing a talent for comedy.

AS ROCKY RHODES IN 'THE TWILIGHT ZONE'

AS ROCKY RHODES IN ‘THE TWILIGHT ZONE’

Reynolds also benefitted from television through his appearances on The Tonight Show, where he showed off his sense of humor and comedic timing. The affable actor seemed in sharp contrast to the strong silent type he played on the small screen and to his macho character in the film Deliverance. Some entertainment writers have blamed his self-deprecating jokes and antics on late-night television for ultimately side-tracking his career. They have speculated that his appearances took away the mystery from his star image, or that his comments about his acting helped spur the notion that he could only mug—not act. I am not sure I agree. Reynolds was more than a late-night guest. He appeared on afternoon talk shows, which were more female friendly, while his love life was the subject of television gossip mavens like Rona Barrett. Thus, television helped create and then sustain other facets to his star image that attracted female fans. More than his centerfold for Cosmopolitan, his romance with singer and talk-show host Dinah Shore cemented his stardom with women. Instead of wooing some air-headed starlet, Reynolds was involved with the much older Shore for many years. I recall when he surprised Shore on her talk show by showing up unexpectedly and publicly displaying affection for her. The women in the audience went crazy, screaming with delight—and envy. Later, he took up with Sally Field, television’s sweetheart from female friendly shows like Gidget and The Flying Nun. This aspect of his personal life appealed to women and helped solidify a female fan base while his star was on the rise.

DINAH SHORE & REYNOLDS CLOWN FOR THE CAMERA.

DINAH SHORE & REYNOLDS CLOWN FOR THE CAMERA.

Reynolds became a genuine old-fashioned movie star during the 1970s—an anomaly in the era of the Film School Generation when method-style actors like Pacino, DeNiro, Hackman, and Hoffman won all the awards. Reynolds’s filmography offers a curious combination of movies, including those that were not successful. Personally, I find the Reynolds’s flops from the 1970s as interesting as his successes. The most notorious disaster has to be At Long Last Love (1975), Peter Bogdanovich’s tribute to 1930s musicals in which actors who were clearly not singers or dancers warbled and waddled through some of Cole Porter’s greatest songs. Deconstructing genres was in vogue for directors of the Film School Generation, but audiences did not always care for the results. If it was any consolation to Bogdanovich, Coppola’s One from the Heart tanked, too. The colorful Roaring Twenties comedy Lucky Lady (1975) featured Reynolds alongside Gene Hackman and Liza Minnelli for a strange combination of acting styles. Then Reynolds re-teamed with Bogdanovich for one of my favorite films, Nickelodeon (1976), a well-researched comedy about the pioneering days of the film industry. Not only does the film take place in the early days of cinema, but the characters and broad acting styles recall those of the pre-Hollywood era, including Reynolds’s dimwitted but lovable cowboy. It was a broad performance that turned his proclivity for stunts into physical comedy. These roles represent the choices of an actor willing to stretch beyond the confines of his heroic leading-man image found in The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing (1973), Shamus (1973), Hustle (1975), and every male’s favorite Reynolds film, The Longest Yard (1974).

MADELYN KHAN, REYNOLDS, AND CYBIL SHEPHERD GIVE IT THEIR BEST SHOT IN 'AT LONG LAST LOVE.'[

DUILIO DEL PRETE, MADELINE KHAN, REYNOLDS, AND CYBILL SHEPHERD GIVE IT THEIR BEST SHOT IN ‘AT LONG LAST LOVE.’[

AHHH!  BURT AND SALLY

AHHH! BURT AND SALLY

In 1977, Reynolds was cast in a movie that seemed to combine all the facets of his big and small-screen personas—Smokey and the Bandit. The film thrived on slam-bang action, broad comedy, and a romantic chemistry with the film’s female lead, Sally Field. Smokey and the Bandit became the second highest-grossing film of the year; second only to Star Wars. The film may have secured Reynolds’s superstardom, but in retrospect, it narrowed his image to that of the fun-loving good ol’ boy who romanced women, drove fast cars, flaunted authority, and bonded with his male sidekicks. And, critics were quick to condemn the Smokey sequels that followed and the dismal Cannonball Run series as evidence of a bankrupted career (e.g., “Whatever Happened to Burt?” by John M. Wilson in the Los Angeles Times). However, at the same time, he costarred in a series of comedies opposite some of the era’s most popular actresses: The End (1978) with Field, Starting Over (1979) with Candice Bergen and Jill Clayburgh, Paternity (1981) with Beverly D’Angelo and Lauren Hutton, and Best Friends (1982) with Goldie Hawn. Again, there was more to Reynolds than stunts, car chases, and a flashy grin.

REYNOLDS MENTORS SIECMECKO IN THE LITTLE-KNOWN 'BREAKING IN.'

REYNOLDS MENTORS CASEY SIEMASZKO IN THE LITTLE-KNOWN ‘BREAKING IN.’

Even during Reynolds’s rapid tumble from box-office heights in the 1980s, he appeared in unique films such as Breaking In (1989), Scottish director Bill Forsyth’s character study of an aging thief who mentors a young man in the craftsmanship of breaking and entering. Memorable character roles in Striptease (1996), Boogie Nights (1997), and Mystery, Alaska (1999) sparked talk of a comeback, but if you look at his filmography, he never went away. His 50-year career represents the ups and downs, successes and challenges of an old-school movie star—the kind that attracts loyal fans and hostile critics.

My absolute favorite Reynolds’s films are those about the South—and I don’t mean the cartoon South of Smokey and the Bandit. (Though that doesn’t mean I don’t like the film.) Raised in Rivera Beach, Florida, Reynolds understood the unique culture and flavor of the South, and films like White Lightning (1973), Gator (1976), the W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings (1975), even Stick (1985) traded on an authentic depiction of the South’s regional identity.

BO HOPKINS AND REYNOLDS IN A GENERAL STORE ON LOCATION FOR 'WHITE LIGHTNING.'

BO HOPKINS AND REYNOLDS IN A GENERAL STORE ON LOCATION FOR ‘WHITE LIGHTNING.’

The best, White Lightning, has a nice feel for Southern (sub)culture, and it captured the working-class South at an interesting moment in time. The storyline is similar to Billy Jack (1971 in that Reynolds plays Gator McKluskey, an ex-con whose little brother was a counterculture student activist killed by corrupt Sheriff Connors. McKluskey teams with the feds to bring down the sheriff and investigate the murder of his brother. At this time, much of America was still reeling from the upheaval of the 1960s, and the South was no different, but its isolation, rural traditions, and nostalgia for a long-gone agrarian lifestyle made the radical ideals of the counterculture even more alien. Gator’s chosen path as a bootlegger pegs him as figure from another era, especially because his father had also been a ‘shine runner, while his younger brother embraced the hippie lifestyle of the new age. Gator speaks proudly of his brother, who was the first in the family to go to college, which was true in many rural families at the time. As he investigates his younger brother’s life and friends, the culture clash is apparent—not only between Gator and his sibling but between the South and a rapidly changing America. The realization of this insurmountable gap creates an air of melancholy. Still, it is fitting that it is Gator who rids the town of the sheriff, instead of the feds or outsiders, because rural Southerners are independent to a fault, preferring to take care of themselves and their own problems. Gator (and the Southern working class) and his brother (the counterculture) do share something in common—a disdain for authority figures. Gator may represent a nostalgia for a rural lifestyle that was fading away, but the sheriff embodies the classism and racism of the Old South that the so-called New South of the 1970s wanted to bury once and for all. Gator’s weapon of choice is a souped-up ‘shine running car, which he uses to maneuver Connors off a cliff. This is an image–even an irony–that Southern audiences would appreciate, given the stories about legendary daredevil bootleggers who were chased along the region’s winding two-lanes by cops, feds, and revenuers.

Shot in Arkansas, White Lightning, directed by Joseph Sargent, captures the geography and ambience of the 1970s South—misty swamps, winding back roads, “shaky pudding” (look it up), relentless heat, and homes for unwed mothers who are 16 going on 40. Corrupt Sheriff Connors may be a jab at real-life Eugene “Bull” Connor, the notorious sheriff of Birmingham during the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960s.

Reynolds would go on to direct the sequel to White Lightning, Gator, which launched his secondary career as a director—but that’s a post for another time.

Happy Birthday, Burt Reynolds.

50 Responses A Valentine for Burt Reynolds
Posted By Heidi : February 11, 2013 1:37 pm

I have met Burt a couple of times. He is a really nice guy. The first time was years ago when he had a book out, and I had purchased it for my mom. We went to the book signing. When he found out I was attending the same university he graduated from, he came out from behind the table like a shot! He was so excited, and then he hugged me (and gave me a kiss!) and my mom. It was really cool. We talked for several minutes. He was still with Lonnie Anderson then, and she was there, and stunnigly beautiful. The next time was when he was in town for a national championship celebration. He played football here, and still makes contributions. You left out one of my all time favorite movies with him in it. It is terrible, but I like it anyway-The Best Little Whore House in Texas with Dolly Parton. He sings in that one too. I just think it is funny. He has and interesting body of work, and at least to a fellow alum, a very nice guy.

Posted By Heidi : February 11, 2013 1:37 pm

I have met Burt a couple of times. He is a really nice guy. The first time was years ago when he had a book out, and I had purchased it for my mom. We went to the book signing. When he found out I was attending the same university he graduated from, he came out from behind the table like a shot! He was so excited, and then he hugged me (and gave me a kiss!) and my mom. It was really cool. We talked for several minutes. He was still with Lonnie Anderson then, and she was there, and stunnigly beautiful. The next time was when he was in town for a national championship celebration. He played football here, and still makes contributions. You left out one of my all time favorite movies with him in it. It is terrible, but I like it anyway-The Best Little Whore House in Texas with Dolly Parton. He sings in that one too. I just think it is funny. He has and interesting body of work, and at least to a fellow alum, a very nice guy.

Posted By Doug : February 11, 2013 2:56 pm

A fine birthday tribute to Reynolds, Susan. As a young adult I went with my parents to “Smokey and the Bandit” and I laughed myself sick-it was that funny.
To that critic you mention and others who thought that he suffered from a ‘bankrupted career’ I would say that Reynolds embodied the working class mindset: Keep working. If you’re a movie actor, you make movies. If someone is paying you to act,
even if the movies aren’t all classics…keep showing up and do your job.
An aside-I don’t think that all “Movie Stars” have that working class ethos-some make one or two ‘prestige’ films every five years and refuse ‘lesser’ films.
Reynolds has no such pretensions-he even wore a chicken suit in Stroker Ace because it was his job to make us laugh.
I liked the recent Disney “Alice in Wonderland” just fine, but to make my point, I doubt we will ever see Mia Wasikowska in a chicken suit.
One of Reynolds best understated roles: Detective Steve Carella in 1972′s “Fuzz” based on the 87th Precinct mystery series by Ed McBain. Films often pair the biggest stars, devolving even murder mysteries into love stories. His co-star was Raquel Welch…but Carella is happily married to someone else and his scenes with his wife(who happens to be deaf)are the best moments of the film.
“Fuzz” was scripted by Evan Hunter (The Birds) who was actually…Ed McBain.
I appreciate Reynolds work, but I couldn’t stand “At Long Last Love” (Bogdanovich at his most precious).

Posted By Doug : February 11, 2013 2:56 pm

A fine birthday tribute to Reynolds, Susan. As a young adult I went with my parents to “Smokey and the Bandit” and I laughed myself sick-it was that funny.
To that critic you mention and others who thought that he suffered from a ‘bankrupted career’ I would say that Reynolds embodied the working class mindset: Keep working. If you’re a movie actor, you make movies. If someone is paying you to act,
even if the movies aren’t all classics…keep showing up and do your job.
An aside-I don’t think that all “Movie Stars” have that working class ethos-some make one or two ‘prestige’ films every five years and refuse ‘lesser’ films.
Reynolds has no such pretensions-he even wore a chicken suit in Stroker Ace because it was his job to make us laugh.
I liked the recent Disney “Alice in Wonderland” just fine, but to make my point, I doubt we will ever see Mia Wasikowska in a chicken suit.
One of Reynolds best understated roles: Detective Steve Carella in 1972′s “Fuzz” based on the 87th Precinct mystery series by Ed McBain. Films often pair the biggest stars, devolving even murder mysteries into love stories. His co-star was Raquel Welch…but Carella is happily married to someone else and his scenes with his wife(who happens to be deaf)are the best moments of the film.
“Fuzz” was scripted by Evan Hunter (The Birds) who was actually…Ed McBain.
I appreciate Reynolds work, but I couldn’t stand “At Long Last Love” (Bogdanovich at his most precious).

Posted By robbushblog : February 11, 2013 3:10 pm

Ah, Heidi! You’re a Seminole! My nephew is currently attending Burt’s alma mater, FSU, as my sister did before him. Burt is a huge booster for the football team to this day. My high school’s football coach played with him there back in the 50′s.

Suzi- You didn’t mention my favorite Burt movie: Hooper! It’s so dumb and goofy, but I love it just a little bit more than Smokey and the Bandit, Deliverance, Boogie Nights and The Longest Yard. I have all of those on DVD, but not Hooper. I am waiting for a decent DVD of it to be released.

P.S. I hope Burt is feeling better after his recent hospitalization. If there was any way to check on him I would like to find out.

Posted By robbushblog : February 11, 2013 3:10 pm

Ah, Heidi! You’re a Seminole! My nephew is currently attending Burt’s alma mater, FSU, as my sister did before him. Burt is a huge booster for the football team to this day. My high school’s football coach played with him there back in the 50′s.

Suzi- You didn’t mention my favorite Burt movie: Hooper! It’s so dumb and goofy, but I love it just a little bit more than Smokey and the Bandit, Deliverance, Boogie Nights and The Longest Yard. I have all of those on DVD, but not Hooper. I am waiting for a decent DVD of it to be released.

P.S. I hope Burt is feeling better after his recent hospitalization. If there was any way to check on him I would like to find out.

Posted By Susan Doll : February 11, 2013 3:32 pm

Rob: He is out of the hospital, but I don’t know any other details. I like HOOPER,too, but I am saving it for a post on Hal Needham who is getting a career Oscar.

Posted By Susan Doll : February 11, 2013 3:32 pm

Rob: He is out of the hospital, but I don’t know any other details. I like HOOPER,too, but I am saving it for a post on Hal Needham who is getting a career Oscar.

Posted By Matt : February 11, 2013 4:43 pm

Great article, thanks a lot. White Lightning and Gator are high up there for me too, but my personal favorite is the Reynolds directed Sharky’s Machine. A great cast of characters where even the smaller characters have creative quirks and an identity of their own. Henry Silva is terrifying and awesome as the insane villain.

Posted By Matt : February 11, 2013 4:43 pm

Great article, thanks a lot. White Lightning and Gator are high up there for me too, but my personal favorite is the Reynolds directed Sharky’s Machine. A great cast of characters where even the smaller characters have creative quirks and an identity of their own. Henry Silva is terrifying and awesome as the insane villain.

Posted By Richard B : February 11, 2013 9:10 pm

A second vote for Sharky’s Machine; everything Matt said, plus it’s one great big homage to “Laura.”

Like Robert Forster, Burt wasn’t going to let that long-awaited Oscar nomination keep him from working in low-rent films; maybe neither could afford to stop.

As for “At Long Last Love,” maybe it was unfair to throw everyone in there with Madeline Kahn, who’d done Broadway musicals and presumably was up to the job. I mean, “Blazing Saddles,” am I right?

I loved “Nickelodeon” too, but that was the period (everything following “At Long Last Love” for quite a while) where, unfortunately, anything Bogdanovich put his hand to was being automatically written off. (Even Burt gets his digs in at Bogdanovich in “Hooper.”)

Posted By Richard B : February 11, 2013 9:10 pm

A second vote for Sharky’s Machine; everything Matt said, plus it’s one great big homage to “Laura.”

Like Robert Forster, Burt wasn’t going to let that long-awaited Oscar nomination keep him from working in low-rent films; maybe neither could afford to stop.

As for “At Long Last Love,” maybe it was unfair to throw everyone in there with Madeline Kahn, who’d done Broadway musicals and presumably was up to the job. I mean, “Blazing Saddles,” am I right?

I loved “Nickelodeon” too, but that was the period (everything following “At Long Last Love” for quite a while) where, unfortunately, anything Bogdanovich put his hand to was being automatically written off. (Even Burt gets his digs in at Bogdanovich in “Hooper.”)

Posted By Sergio : February 11, 2013 10:00 pm

A third vote for Sharky’s Machine. A really terrific movie that’s in very desperate need of a remastered blu-ray DVD release. By the way I saw that in a blown up 70 MM print when it first came out. It was common for studios to release 70MM blow ups in major cities of their high profile action, sci-fi or fantasy pictures during the early 80′s

AT Long Last Love sorry just is just awful despite some people defending it. But if you’re one of those who do don’t despair. Twilight Time along Fox Video are coming out with a blu-ray release of the film in April

Posted By Sergio : February 11, 2013 10:00 pm

A third vote for Sharky’s Machine. A really terrific movie that’s in very desperate need of a remastered blu-ray DVD release. By the way I saw that in a blown up 70 MM print when it first came out. It was common for studios to release 70MM blow ups in major cities of their high profile action, sci-fi or fantasy pictures during the early 80′s

AT Long Last Love sorry just is just awful despite some people defending it. But if you’re one of those who do don’t despair. Twilight Time along Fox Video are coming out with a blu-ray release of the film in April

Posted By DevlinCarnate : February 11, 2013 10:31 pm

the self deprecation was always genuine,that’s what always made him a favorite,especially growing up in the 70′s when everything turned “serious and important”…not that the films at the time weren’t as well made,but think of Burt as the anti-Clint Eastwood,more approachable,less stoic…and my absolute favorite outside of his short stint as Dan August,is Stick,great revenge movie that needs a DVD release…Happy Birthday Burt

Posted By DevlinCarnate : February 11, 2013 10:31 pm

the self deprecation was always genuine,that’s what always made him a favorite,especially growing up in the 70′s when everything turned “serious and important”…not that the films at the time weren’t as well made,but think of Burt as the anti-Clint Eastwood,more approachable,less stoic…and my absolute favorite outside of his short stint as Dan August,is Stick,great revenge movie that needs a DVD release…Happy Birthday Burt

Posted By Susan Doll : February 11, 2013 11:01 pm

DevlinCarnate: I wrote about Stick (and the Bandit movies) in my Florida on Film book.

Posted By Susan Doll : February 11, 2013 11:01 pm

DevlinCarnate: I wrote about Stick (and the Bandit movies) in my Florida on Film book.

Posted By Doug : February 11, 2013 11:39 pm

Richard B mentioned Robert Forster-I just watched him last night in “Grand Theft Parsons” -a good movie.
I think different auteurs-Bogdanovitch, Blake Edwards, etc. loved having Reynolds in their productions not only because of his acting ability but also because of his affability, his likability. Audiences connect with him,and remain loyal fans.
Only using Meryl Streep as an example-a fine actress,who has won respect for being excellent role after role.
Just my opinion, but I don’t think she has the connection with fans that Reynolds does. We admire her craft, her ability…but we LIKE Burt.

Posted By Doug : February 11, 2013 11:39 pm

Richard B mentioned Robert Forster-I just watched him last night in “Grand Theft Parsons” -a good movie.
I think different auteurs-Bogdanovitch, Blake Edwards, etc. loved having Reynolds in their productions not only because of his acting ability but also because of his affability, his likability. Audiences connect with him,and remain loyal fans.
Only using Meryl Streep as an example-a fine actress,who has won respect for being excellent role after role.
Just my opinion, but I don’t think she has the connection with fans that Reynolds does. We admire her craft, her ability…but we LIKE Burt.

Posted By robbushblog : February 12, 2013 1:52 am

You know, I just watched The Cannonball Run last week. It’s rather coincidental that you published this article so soon after I enjoyed that fun, mindless piece of twaddle. That movie is totally devoid of substance, but I don’t really care. It is fun nonsense.

I was just thinking the other day how Burt and Clint personified 70′s film machismo, while Lee Majors personified it on TV. I can’t think of any stars today who do either.

Posted By robbushblog : February 12, 2013 1:52 am

You know, I just watched The Cannonball Run last week. It’s rather coincidental that you published this article so soon after I enjoyed that fun, mindless piece of twaddle. That movie is totally devoid of substance, but I don’t really care. It is fun nonsense.

I was just thinking the other day how Burt and Clint personified 70′s film machismo, while Lee Majors personified it on TV. I can’t think of any stars today who do either.

Posted By jennifromrollamo : February 12, 2013 9:51 am

I want to find White Lightening. Having lived in SC for 5 years, I got to be an observer of Southern culture, it was all around me! You are so correct, when you mention that the culture includes wanting to solve the problem themselves, and not being keen on outsiders coming in to do it, aka Yankees!
Also, a shout out for a later television show Reynolds did, Evening Shade, which was set in Arkansas, I believe. I enjoyed that show and wish someone out there in tv land would start re-showing it instead of some of the comedy twaddle out there that passes for entertainment.

Posted By jennifromrollamo : February 12, 2013 9:51 am

I want to find White Lightening. Having lived in SC for 5 years, I got to be an observer of Southern culture, it was all around me! You are so correct, when you mention that the culture includes wanting to solve the problem themselves, and not being keen on outsiders coming in to do it, aka Yankees!
Also, a shout out for a later television show Reynolds did, Evening Shade, which was set in Arkansas, I believe. I enjoyed that show and wish someone out there in tv land would start re-showing it instead of some of the comedy twaddle out there that passes for entertainment.

Posted By swac44 : February 12, 2013 9:58 am

Nice to see a shout-out for a childhood favourite, W.W. and the Dixie Dance Kings, which has never seen home video release, probably due to music rights issues (there are a lot of original ’50s tunes in it). I have a copy of it, but I suspect it’s a truncated TV broadcast version, but even in that form it’s a lot of fun, with the first onscreen moments between Burt and his Smokey sidekick Jerry Reed.

Sad to say, I’ve never seen White Lightning or Gator, although I used to have copies of both on Beta, my machine died before I could get around to watching them. Now White Lightning is out-of-print, and Gator keeps showing up in repackaged bundles with other films (Semi-Tough in one instance, Breaking In and Fuzz in another). I keep hoping common sense will prevail, and these two Southern classics will get a combined blu-ray release, but of course that would be too logical.

Posted By swac44 : February 12, 2013 9:58 am

Nice to see a shout-out for a childhood favourite, W.W. and the Dixie Dance Kings, which has never seen home video release, probably due to music rights issues (there are a lot of original ’50s tunes in it). I have a copy of it, but I suspect it’s a truncated TV broadcast version, but even in that form it’s a lot of fun, with the first onscreen moments between Burt and his Smokey sidekick Jerry Reed.

Sad to say, I’ve never seen White Lightning or Gator, although I used to have copies of both on Beta, my machine died before I could get around to watching them. Now White Lightning is out-of-print, and Gator keeps showing up in repackaged bundles with other films (Semi-Tough in one instance, Breaking In and Fuzz in another). I keep hoping common sense will prevail, and these two Southern classics will get a combined blu-ray release, but of course that would be too logical.

Posted By kingrat : February 12, 2013 1:43 pm

Burt’s screen persona is an unusual blend of campy and macho. Has anyone else ever managed that combination? Susan, you did a great job of explaining his appeal to women. Straight guys liked his good ole boy characters, and the sense of camp he displayed in his talk show appearances and some of his films led gay guys to believe he was one of us.

Posted By kingrat : February 12, 2013 1:43 pm

Burt’s screen persona is an unusual blend of campy and macho. Has anyone else ever managed that combination? Susan, you did a great job of explaining his appeal to women. Straight guys liked his good ole boy characters, and the sense of camp he displayed in his talk show appearances and some of his films led gay guys to believe he was one of us.

Posted By Susan Doll : February 12, 2013 2:44 pm

Thanks for all of your kinds words, and I am glad others recognize Reynolds’s appeal. He will pop up in another blog post in the near future, as I am going to write about his good friend, stuntman Hal Needham.

Posted By Susan Doll : February 12, 2013 2:44 pm

Thanks for all of your kinds words, and I am glad others recognize Reynolds’s appeal. He will pop up in another blog post in the near future, as I am going to write about his good friend, stuntman Hal Needham.

Posted By DevlinCarnate : February 12, 2013 5:23 pm

not to mention the fact that he sported the quintessential Porn ‘Stache by which all others are measured ;)

Posted By DevlinCarnate : February 12, 2013 5:23 pm

not to mention the fact that he sported the quintessential Porn ‘Stache by which all others are measured ;)

Posted By B Piper : February 12, 2013 9:36 pm

“Only using Meryl Streep as an example-a fine actress,who has won respect for being excellent role after role… We admire her craft, her ability…but we LIKE Burt.”

I LIKE Meryl too — seeing her on talk shows she has a charming personality and the infectious laugh of a young girl, which may be why I enjoy her rare lighter roles.

One of the best things Reynolds ever did was an audio book of one of the Spencer novels. Without the benefit of his cocky grin or macho looks he gave a performance of subtlety and feeling. And his recent “appearance” on ARCHER was great too.

Posted By B Piper : February 12, 2013 9:36 pm

“Only using Meryl Streep as an example-a fine actress,who has won respect for being excellent role after role… We admire her craft, her ability…but we LIKE Burt.”

I LIKE Meryl too — seeing her on talk shows she has a charming personality and the infectious laugh of a young girl, which may be why I enjoy her rare lighter roles.

One of the best things Reynolds ever did was an audio book of one of the Spencer novels. Without the benefit of his cocky grin or macho looks he gave a performance of subtlety and feeling. And his recent “appearance” on ARCHER was great too.

Posted By Susan Doll : February 12, 2013 10:03 pm

BPiper: I am so glad you brought up audio books. Several years ago, I listened to a mystery on tape performed by Reynolds. I don’t think it was a Spencer novel, though there is a chance it could have been. I remember that it was the best performance of anyone I had heard in my decades of listening to books on tape.

Posted By Susan Doll : February 12, 2013 10:03 pm

BPiper: I am so glad you brought up audio books. Several years ago, I listened to a mystery on tape performed by Reynolds. I don’t think it was a Spencer novel, though there is a chance it could have been. I remember that it was the best performance of anyone I had heard in my decades of listening to books on tape.

Posted By robbushblog : February 13, 2013 12:52 am

Evening Shade, Gator and White Lightnin’ are all available as DVDs to rent on Netflix.

Posted By robbushblog : February 13, 2013 12:52 am

Evening Shade, Gator and White Lightnin’ are all available as DVDs to rent on Netflix.

Posted By swac44 : February 13, 2013 7:54 am

Unfortunately, Netflix DVD rental doesn’t extend to Canada, and I don’t have their streaming movie service, which is available here, but with a reduced selection. (I’ve been looking into getting U.S. Netflix, which I guess is possible with a faked IP address, but I don’t know if I can do that through my Netflix-enabled blu-ray player, and frankly I have enough stuff to watch on disc and on my DVR as it is.)

Posted By swac44 : February 13, 2013 7:54 am

Unfortunately, Netflix DVD rental doesn’t extend to Canada, and I don’t have their streaming movie service, which is available here, but with a reduced selection. (I’ve been looking into getting U.S. Netflix, which I guess is possible with a faked IP address, but I don’t know if I can do that through my Netflix-enabled blu-ray player, and frankly I have enough stuff to watch on disc and on my DVR as it is.)

Posted By jennifromrollamo : February 13, 2013 11:18 pm

Thanks for the Netflix info, robbushblog. Swac44, our son serving in Japan is envious of our Netflix streaming as it’s not in Japan yet either.

Posted By jennifromrollamo : February 13, 2013 11:18 pm

Thanks for the Netflix info, robbushblog. Swac44, our son serving in Japan is envious of our Netflix streaming as it’s not in Japan yet either.

Posted By Richard B : February 14, 2013 12:19 am

Apparently Burt’s first cut of STICK was substantially different, and there were extensive reshoots and reworking of the plot, and from most accounts not for the better. Elmore Leonard felt Reynolds entirely missed the point of one scene, too. Would sure like to see a director’s cut, though. Has one of the all-time great stunts, too.

Posted By Richard B : February 14, 2013 12:19 am

Apparently Burt’s first cut of STICK was substantially different, and there were extensive reshoots and reworking of the plot, and from most accounts not for the better. Elmore Leonard felt Reynolds entirely missed the point of one scene, too. Would sure like to see a director’s cut, though. Has one of the all-time great stunts, too.

Posted By Christine in GA : February 14, 2013 3:34 am

I, too, have enjoyed much of Burt’s career from GUNSMOKE on and I remember when he appeared on Dinah Shore’s TV show and the late night talk shows. Oh, and that awesome Cosmo centerfold. Loved him particularly in DELIVERANCE, SHARKY’S MACHINE (glad to read that others have enjoyed that one so much, too) and STARTING OVER. EVENING SHADE was good. I do think some of his movies were crap but I appreaciate what others said about Burt being a working actor. I just wish he hadn’t had all those bad plastic surgeries; he was a great looking guy and seems like a really nice person.

Posted By Christine in GA : February 14, 2013 3:34 am

I, too, have enjoyed much of Burt’s career from GUNSMOKE on and I remember when he appeared on Dinah Shore’s TV show and the late night talk shows. Oh, and that awesome Cosmo centerfold. Loved him particularly in DELIVERANCE, SHARKY’S MACHINE (glad to read that others have enjoyed that one so much, too) and STARTING OVER. EVENING SHADE was good. I do think some of his movies were crap but I appreaciate what others said about Burt being a working actor. I just wish he hadn’t had all those bad plastic surgeries; he was a great looking guy and seems like a really nice person.

Posted By B Piper : February 14, 2013 4:35 pm

For those who haven’t read it I strongly recommend his autobiography. One of the most readable of all star memoirs.

Posted By B Piper : February 14, 2013 4:35 pm

For those who haven’t read it I strongly recommend his autobiography. One of the most readable of all star memoirs.

Posted By Benzadmiral : April 1, 2013 4:55 pm

“The End”! Haven’t thought of that one in years. As he examines the various colored pills on a tabletop: “Wow, all the colors. Looks like Walt Disney threw up.” And later he tells an unpleasant hospital orderly, “You’re not just short, you’re squat.” (Not sure I have that one right.) Burt delivers these lines with a wonderful deadpan air.

Posted By Benzadmiral : April 1, 2013 4:55 pm

“The End”! Haven’t thought of that one in years. As he examines the various colored pills on a tabletop: “Wow, all the colors. Looks like Walt Disney threw up.” And later he tells an unpleasant hospital orderly, “You’re not just short, you’re squat.” (Not sure I have that one right.) Burt delivers these lines with a wonderful deadpan air.

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