HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS
1987, Universal, 110 min, USA, Dir: William Dear

For decades, people have scoured the Pacific Northwest in search of Bigfoot and come up empty-handed…until George Henderson (John Lithgow) accidentally hits one of the creatures with his car. Discovering that “Harry” is a gentle giant, George tries to return him to the wilderness before a hunter (David Suchet) can get to him. An Oscar winner for Rick Baker’s makeup work, this amusing family fantasy spun off a syndicated TV sitcom. With Melinda Dillon, Don Ameche and M. Emmet Walsh.


STRAIGHT TIME
1978, Warner Bros., 114 min, USA, Dir: Ulu Grosbard

This adaptation of the novel No Beast So Fierce, the crime-fiction debut of ex-con writer Edward Bunker (written while he was in prison), is one of the most underrated and least seen of Dustin Hoffman’s 1970s performances. Reformed Los Angeles junkie and thief Hoffman comes up against the gritty realities of a smugly unfair parole officer (M. Emmet Walsh) and the limited employment opportunities for ex-convicts. Although the bitter, frustrated Hoffman finds love in the form of Theresa Russell, his institutionalized resentments gradually suck him back down into the company of lowlife companions (Gary Busey, Harry Dean Stanton) and a life of crime. This was a project close to Hoffman’s heart - he initially began directing the film himself but turned it over to director Grosbard after the first few days.


BLOOD SIMPLE
1984, MGM Repertory, 99 min, USA, Dir: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Hangdog Texas bar owner Marty (Dan Hedaya) hires a corrupt and corpulent detective (M. Emmet Walsh) to kill Abby, his unfaithful wife (Frances McDormand) and her lover (John Getz). What follows from this simple, familiar crime premise is one of the most assured moviemaking debuts of the 1980s. Full of intuitively stylish bite, poisonous one-liners and goosebump-inducing setpieces, this neo-noir put Joel and Ethan Coen on the map of filmmakers to watch.


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