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Review of I Walk the Line

Not to be confused with the 2005 Johnny Cash biopic "Walk The Line", this 1970 film directed by John Frankenheimer tells the story of a middle-aged, small-town sheriff, Henry Tawes (Gregory Peck) , who finds himself becoming increasingly disillusioned with his life as a husband and father, and coming to resent his humdrum existence. It could also be argued that he is entering a mid-life crisis, and one day, he stops the daughter of a local moonshiner (played by Ralph Meeker), pretty Alma McCain (Tuesday Weld) and her younger brother for driving without a permit. Captivated by her beauty, he begins a secret affair with her, all the while turning a blind eye to her family's illegal activities. Things become increasingly out of hand as inspectors begin to investigate the goings on in town and Henry's devious deputy (Charles Durning) discovers the liaison and the McCain family's profession. Henry also finds his distraught wife (Estelle Parsons) has also discovered the affair, and he decides to throw all caution to the wind and run away with Alma. Torn between her affection for Henry and her loyalty to her family, Alma's choice and Henry's recklessness result in tragedy and heartbreak.

This movie was very much overlooked when it was first released, but it is a good flick and the performances are superb. The production was shot mainly on location in Tennessee and Johnny Cash provides the soundtrack. This role was a very different one for Gregory Peck, especially at this stage of his career, but he embodies the tightly-wound sheriff expertly. Tuesday Weld is convincing and captivating as a young woman caught in a way of life that not only limits her opportunities but also her choices. Used by her father to keep Henry smitten in order to keep the family business secret, she makes the only choice she feels she can make, but not without cost to Henry.

Columbia released the movie on DVD a few years back, and it is unforgivably very bare-bones (there isn't even a menu), but it is in widescreen and the transfer looks wonderful, capturing the bleak yet lush countryside.

If you're a fan of Gregory Peck and Tuesday Weld, this is a film that must be viewed.
Added by Noirdame
4 years ago on 24 July 2015 18:21