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BURT REYNOLDS IN 'W.W. AND THE DIXIE DANCEKINGS'

year: 1975 rating: ***
Orson Welles once stated that fame was the worst thing to happen to Burt Reynolds… And Burt liked this comment enough to place it at the forefront of his now defunct official website…

Well in 1975, it would be a few years... and a few more eclectic films... until Burt became the biggest star in the world after SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT, and the obscure W.W. AND THE DIXIE DANCEKINGS is the necessary cog in that inevitable game-changing wheel…

BANDIT connections include future director Hal Needham as stunt coordinator, and real life musician Jerry Reed is introduced as Wayne, an uptight guitarist for a band led by cute blond Dixie, who meets Burt's roving conman W.W. by accident – of his own making...

WWATDD Rating: ***
After politely robbing two gas stations, and being tracked by a cop, the clean-shaven Reynolds doesn’t drive off for the chase like the mustached icon would in years to come – instead, Burt's chortling W.W. stealthily ducks into a cowboy bar where Dixie and company are playing an extremely low rent gig, and, using wily charm and spontaneous rambling, he pretends to be their manager, later promising the outfit a “lucrative” concert in Nashville while distancing himself from the law...

Set in the 1950’s, the main vehicle is neat looking but the action scenes are minimal. This is really about W.W. keeping up his perpetual ruse while the band, also including Burt’s LONGEST YARD buddy James Hampton, depends on this convenient stranger to keep them rolling. The only bulwark is an evangelical corporate grump named Deacon, played by Art Carney who, compared to his HONEYMOONERS crony Jackie Gleason as the future SMOKEY antagonist, isn’t much of a threat till the 11th hour.
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