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THE REIVERS

title: THE REIVERS
year: 1969
cast: Steve McQueen, Sharon Farrell, Mitch Vogel, Rupert Grosse
director: Mark Rydell
rating: ****

This entertaining little gem, based on a novel by William Faulker, featuring Steve McQueen as a young man's mentor during a road trip to a brothel, is quite racy, literally, the third act centering on a suspenseful horse race (two, actually) and much of the plot anticipating it. Set in the turn of the century, the odyssey consists of McQueen, his best friend, an eleven year old boy, and a "horseless carriage" i.e. automobile, a character in itself along with grownup narration by Burgess Meredith. Scenes in the brothel has the boy, played wonderfully by Tom Sayweresque redhead Mitch Vogel, learning from beautiful Sharron Farrell, as a kindhearted prostitute, that a woman's power is deeper than sexuality. McQueen does a decent job, breaking from his usual super-cool persona, but Rupert Grosse, a wonderful black actor who died a few years later, not only steals the show but keeps it rolling.
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