Classic Movie Reviews

Little Big Man Review

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Hoffman was born in Los Angeles in August 1937, where his father was a prop supervisor and set decorator at Columbia Pictures studio, before becoming a furniture salesman. In 1955 Hoffman enrolled at Santa Monica College, intending to pursue a medical education. The next year he withdrew from the College and joined the Pasadena Playhouse (where Gene Hackman was also enrolled). Moving to New York, in 1960 he worked in an off-Broadway production while studying at the Actors’ Studio. He worked television commercials and had small parts in TV and films and on the stage the next few years. His starring role in The Graduate (1967) established him as a Hollywood presence. From that point he mostly worked in film, interspersed with some TV work and stage appearances. His list of classic films includes Midnight Cowboy (1969), Little Big Man (1970), Papillon (1973), Lenny (1974), Marathon Man (1976), Kramer vs Kramer (1979), Tootsie (1982) and Rain Man (1988). He received Oscars for Kramer vs Kramer and Rain Man. He also earned five Golden Globe Awards and an Emmy and, in 1999, Hoffman was voted a Life Achievement Award by the American Film Institute.


                          "Am I dead?"
                     "No, Grandfather."
                    "I was afraid of that...
   Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't." 


    A great example of what an exceptional creative imagination can come up with. Adapted from Thomas Berger's novel about Jack Crabb, a 121-year-old man whose life spanned the great panorama of the "old west." Dustin Hoffman is superb as Crabb (at various ages) captured by Indians as a child and adopted by Chief Dan George, whom he calls "Grandfather." For the rest of his life Crabb alternates living as an Indian with periods of life as a white man. This highly literate mix of comedy and tragedy also benefits from colorful characterizations by Faye Dunaway, Martin Balsam (who keeps losing body parts over the years), Richard Mulligan and many others. 


1970, Directed by Arthur Penn

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