Friday, March 14, 2014

Deliverance - Banjo Duel

Deliverance is a 1972 American dramatic thriller film produced and directed by John Boorman and starring Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, and Ronny Cox, with the latter two making their feature film debuts. The film is based on the 1970 novel of the same name by American author James Dickey, who has a small role in the film as the Sheriff. The screenplay was written by Dickey and an uncredited Boorman. Watch Cop Out Online For Free Widely acclaimed as a landmark picture, the film is noted both for the memorable music scene near the beginning, with one of the city men duelling on guitar with a strange country boy playing banjo, that sets the tone for what lies ahead—a trip into unknown and potentially dangerous territory—and for its notorious "squeal like a pig" male rape scene. In 2008, Deliverance was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".


 Four Atlanta businessmen, Lewis Medlock, Ed Gentry, Bobby Trippe, and Drew Ballinger, decide to canoe down a river in the remote northern Georgia wilderness, expecting to have fun and see the glory of nature before the fictional Cahulawassee River valley is flooded by the construction of a dam. Lewis, an experienced outdoorsman, is the leader. Ed is also a veteran of several trips but lacks Lewis' machismo. Bobby and Drew are novices. The four men encounter friction with the "mountain men" locals, some of whom appear to be inbred.

 The locals are suspicious of the city men while the four middle class men act superior to the poor and uneducated locals. Bobby is particularly contemptuous of the poverty and uncouth nature of the local men. Despite this, Drew bonds with a local teenager when they engage in an impromptu rendition of "Dueling Banjos", but the boy frowns and turns away when Drew offers his hand to the youngster in a congratulatory gesture, which Drew finds strange, as the boy had been happy and smiling only moments earlier.

 The boy next appears on a footbridge over the river just as the men are beginning their trip. He watches the men as they canoe under the bridge, again ignoring Drew's friendly gesture to him. When the men break for their first night on the river, Lewis leaves to investigate a strange noise in the woods but returns having found nothing.

The next day the group's two canoes are separated and Bobby and Ed pull ashore to try and get their bearings. The two are accosted by a pair of shotgun wielding hillbillies, who claim that the men have accused them of running a still and making moonshine whiskey. The hillbillies tie Ed to a tree and the 'Mountain Man' violently rape Bobby, ordering the overweight man to "squeal like a pig".

 As the hillbillies prepare to orally rape Ed, Lewis and Drew arrive on the scene. Using his bow, Lewis kills the Mountain Man and the other man ('Toothless Man') runs off when Ed manages to grab the shotgun. The men argue about how to proceed. Drew insists that they must report the incident to the police but Lewis argues otherwise. He states that "these people are all related," therefore any police investigation or jury would likely include the man's friends and relatives.

 Ed agrees with Lewis, and Bobby insists that he does not want his rape to become public knowledge. The four men bury the body, reasoning that the impending flood of the valley will cover up any evidence and that the Toothless Man will not go to the authorities because of his participation in the rape. The four make a run for it down the river, cutting their trip short, but soon disaster strikes as the canoes reach a dangerous stretch of rapids. Drew suddenly falls out of the lead canoe and disappears, causing Ed to lose control and smash both boats on the rocks.

 Lewis breaks his leg in the spill and he, Bobby and Ed make it to shore. Lewis believes that the man who escaped is stalking them and shot Drew from the bluffs above the river. That night, Ed makes his way up the bluffs with a bow and arrow. The next morning he sees a man, whom he believes to be the escaped hillbilly, holding a gun and looking down into the ravine.

Ed nervously shoots an arrow at the man, killing him, but in the process he slips and wounds himself with one of his own arrows. On closer inspection, Ed is no longer sure that the man he shot is the same one who escaped, noting that the escaped man had missing teeth while this one wore dentures. He returns to the river's shore with the body, but Bobby cannot positively identify the man.

 Ed and Bobby weigh the body down with rocks and sink it in the river. Further down the river they recover Drew's drowned and mangled body with a head wound that may or may not have been caused by a gunshot. They finally reach their destination, the town of Aintry, which is being relocated and will soon be submerged by the waters displaced by the new dam.

The local sheriff seems suspicious of the men's story that Drew drowned on the river and notes that a deputy of his is missing a relative who had gone out hunting in the area, presumably one of the men whom Ed and Lewis have killed. Nevertheless the sheriff has no actual evidence and releases the men, telling them to never come back. Ed, Bobby and Lewis vow to keep the events of the trip secret for the rest of their lives. In the final scene, Ed awakens screaming from a nightmare wherein a dead man's hand reaches up from the surface of the newly formed lake.

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