THE SHOOTING (1967/1971) C 82m dir: Monte Hellman

w/Jack Nicholson, Millie Perkins, Warren Oates, Will Hutchins, B.J. Merholz, Guy El Tsosie, Charles Eastman

From The Movie Guide: "Moody, absurdist anti-Western from cult director Monte Hellman (TWO LANE BLACKTOP), anchored by the charismatic presence of young Jack Nicholson. Warren Oates plays a bounty hunter on an existential quest for a man who may be his twin brother; he's joined by flirtatious Perkins, fatally naive Hutchins, and mysterious gunman Nicholson. A clash of wills in the vast desert leads to a violent, surrealistic confrontation.

"Minimal dialogue, spatial disorientation, and a tone of cynical revisionism characterize this little-known, strikingly unconventional film. Nicholson's minimalist performance is arresting, and Perkins (a minor starlet in the 50s) is good in her unusual role. THE SHOOTING was filmed simultaneously with the equally fascinating RIDE IN THE WHIRLWIND during a six-week period in 1965. Both films were produced on minuscule budgets by Nicholson and director Hellman, with an uncredited Roger Corman serving as executive producer. WHIRLWIND, whose sparse dialogue and bleak thematic material is strikingly similar, was scripted by Nicholson (THE SHOOTING was penned by Adrien Joyce, who later wrote FIVE EASY PIECES for Nicholson). Despite excellent reviews after screenings at the Montreal Film Festival and Cannes, no distributor would touch the film, and Nicholson was forced to sell the rights to a French producer who later went bankrupt. After sitting on the shelf for a few years, both films began to turn up on late-night TV, developing a word-of-mouth reputation that won them limited screenings after the success of EASY RIDER."

Special note: The sound is rather muddy on the print that AMC has shown.