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SUE LYON RIDES W/ GEORGE HAMILTON PLAYING 'EVEL KNIEVEL'

Sue Lyon sits by her man George Hamilton as Evel Knievel YEAR: 1970
It's hard to believe that tan man George Hamilton playing Evel Knievel would turn out working pretty good, and, despite the sub-par quality releases — from an online stream where every frame looks like a last known photo, or a myriad of public domain discs in bargain bins — this simple and sparse biopic tells its story quite well, beginning with the titular motorcycle stunt king about to make the jump of his career...

We see Knievel's life in several long flashbacks, creatively weaving (upon narration) from the central venue's groovy waiting room where Sue Lyon as wife Linda waits faithfully and patiently by his side, and somehow this makes their initial schoolgirl-meets-leather-jacket-hood courtship seem more important: even though we know she'll eventually melt to his coolness, they have warm and relaxing chemistry with each other and the audience. Neither try too hard to play their real life counterparts: not an easy task when the subjects are still alive, and relevant.

George Hamilton as Evel Knievel in EVEL KNIEVEL
The parts that don't work are also semi entertaining distractions: His rebellious youth while robbing a few banks is played up as practical jokes like a fraternity kid on a cranky dean, and the schemes get a bit overwhelming and complicated: it's hard to keep score of what exactly Knievel's doing to the hick police and townspeople that he'd one day be more famous than. In this, the story juggles that era's devil-may-care rebellion with anti-EASY RIDER moral patriotism...

Meanwhile, Sue Lyon does a good enough job, going a few breezy steps beyond the usual pretty ingenue role, given she has a fair amount of screen time in the present and past. And in the lead, Hamilton sells it like a newscaster telling an interesting story while producer/director Marvin J. Chomsky keeps it rolling like a made-for-television that, in this case, is a good thing.
Sue Lyon as Linda Knievel in Evel Knievel starring George Hamilton
Sue Lyon as Linda Knievel in Evel Knievel starring George Hamilton
Sue Lyon as Linda Knievel in Evel Knievel starring George Hamilton
Sue Lyon as Linda Knievel in Evel Knievel starring George Hamilton
Sue Lyon as Linda Knievel in Evel Knievel
Sue Lyon as Linda Knievel in Evel Knievel
Sue Lyon as Linda Knievel in Evel Knievel
Sue Lyon as Linda Knievel in Evel Knievel
Sue Lyon as Linda Knievel in Evel Knievel
George Hamilton in Evel Knievel
Sue Lyon as Linda Knievel in Evel Knievel
Sue Lyon as Linda Knievel in Evel Knievel with Ron Masak
Sue Lyon as Linda Knievel in Evel Knievel
Sue Lyon as Linda Knievel in Evel Knievel starring George Hamilton
Sue Lyon and George Hamilton in Evel Knievel
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Sword in the Desert Year: 1949 Rating: ***1/2 Although approved by the British Film Board, SWORD IN THE DESERT was banned in England, and it...

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