After becoming an instant star with the release of The Godfather, Al Pacino literally and figuratively retreated from the spotlight, shooting the all-location road movie Scarecrow with director Jerry Schatzberg and Gene Hackman. Scarecrow has long occupied a weird, oxy-moronic space: the”forgotten classic.” Although it won the Palme D’or at Cannes, it bombed in the US (with audiences and critics), both of its stars at one point or another inferred that the finished product did not exactly match the film they had signed on to make, and for years it wasn’t available on home video. A new, 40 year anniversary restoration of the film premiered last month at the TCM Film Festival in Los Angeles, and tomorrow it arrives at New York’s Film Forum for a week run. When I was researching my book in late 2011, I could find virtually nothing written about this film at length in English, which moved me to devote an entire chapter to it. But the rerelease has occasioned a slew of pieces which you should read, including Peter Debruge’s interview with Schatzberg, and reviews by Alan Scherstuhl in the Village Voice and Keith Uhlich in Time Out New York.
And, of course, if all of this leaves you thirsty for even more analysis of this odd, great film, you can buy my book on Amazon, and you’ll get it next week!