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JAMES CAAN & PETER BOYLE IN THE NOIR ROAD MOVIE 'SLITHER'

Title: SLITHER Year: 1973 Rating: ****1/2

Right after playing the tough, feisty Sonny Corleone in THE GODFATHER, square-jawed James Caan went another direction; but it takes around fifteen minutes into SLITHER to realize this particular hardened criminal (a freshly sprung ex-con) isn't really tough at all...

As in, he doesn't prefer fighting, whether offense or defense, seeming dazedly reluctant when a cranky farmer wants to break his arm for hitchhiking... and what Caan holds back provides one of his best performances...

James Caan and Peter Boyle in SLITHER aka La Chasse aux Dollars

He plays former local hero has-been Dick Kanipsia, rolling with the punches instead of doling them out, and is the epitome of a rogue — the irony being he can hardly ever be alone, mainly stuck with quirky husband and wife Peter Boyle and Louise Lasser (perfectly wielding their own unique style, only more laidback than usual)...

Boyle driving and Caan shotgun, towing Lasser in the married's beloved RV, listening to swing era instrumentals while searching for a ton of money that Caan's newly murdered prison buddy, played by the always intriguing Richard B. Shull — formerly partnered with Boyle — had promised was...

Sally Kellerman sipping a Budweiser in SLITHER

Well all that stuff, which can fill volumes of background exposition, is complicated in the usual pulpy fashion that evolving mystery-laden noirs tend to be...

And SLITHER, oddly named after what Caan does to emerge from painted corners as opposed to a snake-driven creature feature it sounds like, has the kind of story that only partially makes sense during the usual 11th hour mystery-genre explanation... an intentional letdown having caused two-hours of roundabout havoc...

One of two black vans that have their own soundtrack in SLITHER

Although Sally Kellerman, as part hippie-dippy/part gun-wielding psycho chick Kitty, is Caan's real problem, and yet she's also the purest character: the only one having nothing to do with what's behind the main plot/chase that includes super-cool, supped-up, menacing black vans...

That have their own formidable (yet 70's-groovy) score ominously intruding upon the upbeat jazzy mainline every time they appear, tailing our offbeat heroes, who spend most of the picture trying to figure out who, and/or what's, inside. Making SLITHER work almost entirely between the lines. An underrated parenthetical semi-classic.

James Caan and Peter Boyle in SLITHER
James Caan and Peter Boyle in SLITHER
James Caan in SLITHER aka La Chasse aux Dollars
James Caan and Louise Lasser in SLITHER
James Caan and Peter Boyle in SLITHER with Allen Garfield
James Caan and Peter Boyle in SLITHER
James Caan and Sally Kellerman in SLITHER
Edwina Gough as a cute friendly bingo player in SLITHER
Edwina Gough in SLITHER with James Caan
Another Godfather actor Alex Rocco with Sally Kellerman in SLITHER
James Caan in SLITHER aka La Chasse aux Dollars
James Caan in SLITHER with Allen Garfield
James Caan in SLITHER with Allen Garfield
Sally Kellerman in SLITHER aka Os Covardes Vivem Bem
James Caan in SLITHER with Richard B. Shull
Photos from the Neo Noir road film SLITHER featuring a cool black van
Bikini girl in SLITHER aka Os Covardes Vivem Bem
Chase scene in SLITHER aka Os Covardes Vivem Bem
Allen Garfield is the expository-teller in SLITHER
James Caan in SLITHER with Richard B. Shull
James Caan with cranky driver Seamon Glass in SLITHER
Diana Darrin and Peter Boyle in SLITHER
Louise Lasser in SLITHER with James Caan
James Caan and the book Ruined Virgin in SLITHER
James Caan on the road in the road movie SLITHER
Edwina Gough plays bingo in Slither with Sally Kellerman and James Caan
The adorable Edwina Gough and James Caan in the SLITHER bingo scene
James Caan plans another quick escape to slither out again in SLITHER
Recent coronavirus victim Allen Garfield in Slither w/ James Caan & Peter Boyle
Diana Darrin and Peter Boyle in SLITHER aka A nagy koppanás
Juxtaposition of the Pismo Beach and both vehicle types in SLITHER
James Caan in SLITHER aka A nagy koppanás aka Śliska sprawa
James Caan and Sally Kellerman bed down in SLITHER
Sally Kellerman as Kitty in SLITHER aka Lønn som forkjent
James Caan and Peter Boyle in SLITHER aka Los cobardes viven bien
James Caan and Peter Boyle in SLITHER aka Los cobardes viven bien
Louise Lasser with Peter Boyle in SLITHER starring James Caan
Louise Lasser in SLITHER aka Jackpot aka Lønn som forkjent
Sally Kellerman as Kitty in SLITHER aka Schleuderpartie
Peter Boyle and Louise Lasser in SLITHER starring James Caan
James Caan and Sally Kellerman in SLITHER with Peter Boyle
Warner Brothers Archive Blue Cover and the SLITHER video cover of yesteryear
Black vans and James Caan in SLITHER aka Слизняк aka Os Covardes Vivem Bem
What looks a kind of reverse High Noon has James Caan finishing up with SLITHER
Peter Boyle as Barry Fenaka in SLITHER directed by his future Dream Team partner Howard Zieff

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