“Electric Horseman: “When was the last time you were surprised?”
From Matthew Lee
The Electric Horseman is not a great film. It’s a very entertaining movie, a very funny movie especially Robert Redford where you really see his quick, underrated, comedic wit, timing, and improvisation in this movie. Not saying Redford is Cary Grant, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, or Paul Newman, when it comes to comedy, but he’s a very skilled comedic actor who doesn’t need direction or a script to be funny and you see that in this movie. You also see a lot of his comedic skills in Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid ( one of my favorite movies ) and what you also see in Butch and Sundance and The Electric Horseman is Redford with a mustache. I actually think he looks good with a stache and perhaps others do as well.
To me at least Electric Horseman is a typical Sidney Pollack movie where he mixes in drama and comedy. He has a movie that is about a serious issue and in this case a movie about a horse literally being stolen or horse napped ( if that’s a real term ) but he puts funny people in the movie who are also great actors. Tootsie from 1982 I believe is another example of a typical great Pollack film. By the way, Jane Fonda also has an important role in this movie where she plays a reporter who is covering this story about essentially a washed-up cowboy in Redford who steals this horse, because he doesn’t want to see this horse being doped anymore and just used as a show horse. Sonny ( played by Robert Redford ) career as a cowboy as fallen so far that he’s now been reduced to doing cereal commercials on this horse.
Sonny steals the horse in the dead of night and takes him out to the Nevada desert with the plan of releasing the horse so no one else can find him and bring him back. And similar to Smokey and the Bandit he how has the local state police in Nevada chasing him to bring back the horse and arrest Sonny. Alice ( played by Jane Fonda ) is a local Las Vegas reporter who has been tapped to cover this horse show with Sonny and gets the scoop that Sonny has stolen the horse and manages to catch up with them in the Nevada desert with no one else following her out there. And tells Sonny that she’s not working with the police and simply wants to cover the story and show the people what he’s up to and present Sonny’s story to the public. She eventually gains his trust and he allows her to follow them.
This is not a great movie and sort of has this Hollywood idealist vibe to it with a famous cowboy, who somehow believes that animals in this case’s a show horse, perhaps has the same rights as humans. When he knows for a fact that horses are raised to race and be used for transportation and serve at the pleasure for humans and in some cases even be used for food. With Jane Fonda not playing an overly idealistic hippie radical Socialist in the movie, but simply as an objective reporter ( or that’s how she starts out ) looking for a big story and to advance her career in TV news. So the plot is a little unbelievable, sounds like complete fiction, but the story is very entertaining and funny with a great cast.
What you also see in this movie is that it relates very well to the world of fashion, especially women’s fashion. The movie comes out in late 1979 and perhaps made in 79 or 78 at the start of the designer jeans revolution. Pre-1978 or perhaps even 1977, you rarely saw American women in tight jeans and boots at all in Hollywood or on TV, even in westerns or action movies. In The Electric Horseman, Jane Fonda is wearing skin-tight designer denim jeans in boots, for about a hour of the movie. You also briefly see her in black leather jeans and boots when she meets Sonny for the first time in the desert. She’s also wearing a short and tight suede jacket and if you’re familiar with Jane Fonda, you know that she’s obviously a beautiful, sexy woman, adorable as well. ( Whatever you think of her politics ) And this movie and style just fit her perfectly in the movie.