Written by / 5/29/2018 / No comments / , , , , , , ,

RYAN O'NEAL IN 'THE BIG BOUNCE' WITH LEIGH TAYLOR-YOUNG

The full-lipped Theron/Jolie of her time, only better YEAR: 1969
If there's ever been a movie ruined by a soundtrack, it's THE BIG BOUNCE: a late-sixties balance of sunny sea-blue and  rural-gray tones, adapted from Elmore Leonard's Neo Noir novel beginning with a convict bashing an inmate's face with a baseball bat, and then, on parole and stuck within the small town, he's both feared and revered...

Depending who's around, and where he's at, and, while still in the film's rushed rudimentary stages, he seeks work for a dishonest rancher who exploits cucumber farm workers. But with the help of a particular friend, he lands a soft job as a maintenance man at a beach side motel, where so much potential, pitting Ryan O'Neal against one of the sexiest sirens of Neo Noir... played by his then-wife and former PEYTON PLACE co-star Leigh Taylor-Young, who's the buried lead here: A seemingly sophisticated femme-fatale, she's bad news and big trouble.

Seven Arts Warner Shield BOUNCE SCORE: **1/2
Author Elmore Leonard said all adaptations before GET SHORTY and JACKIE BROWN never got it... But maybe, in critiquing BIG BOUNCE piecemeal, he saw a dark ray of hope in Taylor-Young's Nancy Barker, both effectively sinister and sexy: The aforementioned crappy music, arranged by the usually capable Tony Curb, sounds like The Beach Boys possessed by folk singers drowning-out an otherwise groovy Jack Nitzsche-like surf music score — one particularly godawful track repeats Nancy's name over and over... killing whatever edge her character's supposed to have.

But it's not all that bad: the overall vibe is lean and edgy, and there are terrific moments when Jack and Nancy hang out, night and day, discussing an upcoming heist, and possible murder. But Jack spends too much time with his old-timer friend played by veteran actor Van Heflin... so overly (and quickly) helpful to Jack's plight... he hardly has any obstacles in his way, or rungs to climb, or corners to paint himself out of.

Ryan O'Neal in the pad of Van Heflin in The Big Bounce
It's really all about our femme fatale Taylor-Young being really bad and getting progressively worse (as in, badder and badder): and then, possibly becoming lethal while keeping her ridiculously beautiful poker face intact...

But really, TV director Alex March needed the intentionally flawed heart-of-gold convict ani-hero to take more risky chances, early on, to live up to any manipulative competition. And it wouldn't be the first time Ryan O'Neal would get what was supposedly his first-billed vehicle stolen by a close relative. He probably never got over PAPER MOON belonging solely to daughter and Oscar winner Tatum O'Neal.
Leigh Taylor-Young The Big Bounce Ryan O'Neal Leigh Taylor-Young Ryan O'Neal The Big Bounce
Leigh Taylor-Young takes in the sun and steals what she can of THE BIG BOUNCE
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