Lonely Are the Brave
Directed by David Miller
Written by Dalton Trumbo from a novel by Edward Abbey
First viewing/Netflix rental
Jack Burns: What do you mean?
Paul Bondi: You act like a man who thinks he’s going to break out of jail.
Jack Burns (Kirk Douglas) is a modern day cowboy who has a conversational relationship with his disobedient horse, Whisky. He rides into town to attempt to break his friend Paul out of jail, where Paul is serving two years for assisting illegal immigrants. First he stops and visits with Jerry (Gena Rowlands), Paul’s wife and Jack’s ex-girlfriend. She is not eager to have her husband escape from prison. Paul must get into a couple of fights to get into prison. Once settled there, he finds that Paul has no desire to escape either. Both Paul and Jerry know that this can only make matters worse.
Jack carries on though and successfully breaks out. He then follows an escape route through rugged and isolated mountains riding old Whisky. He hasn’t counted on modern police methods or helicopters. With Walter Matthau as a sheriff, Bill Bixby as his deputy and Carroll O’Connor as a truck driver.
Kirk Douglas plays one of the nicest guys in his whole career in this movie. That makes his dilemma and fate all the more poignant. I knew it was one of those End of the West Westerns going in and was surprised it wasn’t a bit more hard-hitting. In Trumbo’s vision, the old ways go out not with a bang but with a wimper. It’s a perfectly solid watch.
This film marked the big-screen debuts of Gena Rowlands, Carroll O’Connor and Bill Bixby.