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Wise Blood (1979)

A Southerner--young, poor, ambitious but uneducated--determines to become something in the world. He decides that the best way to do that is to become a preacher and start up his own church.

Director:

(as Jhon Huston)

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Grandfather (as Jhon Huston)
...
...
...
Mary Nell Santacroce ...
...
...
Preacher
J.L. Parker ...
Karl
Marvin Sapp ...
Raymond
Richard Earle ...
Jakob Winslow
...
Jacob Wood
Betty Lou Groover ...
Leora Watts
John Tyndall ...
Loki Martinson
Gillaaron Houck ...
Stranger #1
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Storyline

US Army war veteran Hazel Motes may not be a believing Christian, somehow observations like the state of a run-down country church, meeting the ridiculous frauds on the streets and memories inspire him to take up, after initially fierce refusal, the part of a traveling preacher when a cab driver insists he looks like one in his new hat. He starts his own new Church of Truth, without the crucified Jesus, his first disciple being an 18-year old simpleton with a 'prophetic gift'... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

An American Masterpiece!

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 February 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jhon Huston's Wise Blood  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was made and released about twenty-seven years after its source novel of the same name by Flannery O'Connor had been first published in 1952. See more »

Goofs

Toward the beginning of the movie when Hazel is in the cemetery behind his abandoned home, the headstone of Jerusha Ashfeld Motes spells 'angle' instead of 'angel' ("Gone to become an angle") See more »

Quotes

Landlady: [on discovering Hazel mortifying his flesh] People quit doing things like that.
Hazel: People still doing it so long as I'm doing it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Director John Huston is credited in all the titles as "Jhon Huston". Producer Michael Fitzgerald later explained that, wanting to have a child-like look to the credits, they had an actual child write the names. The child misspelled Huston's first name, but they liked it and kept it, as a metaphor for the artificial, off-kilter tone of the story. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Observations Under the Volcano (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Tennessee Waltz
(uncredited)
Written by Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King
Heard as a theme during the opening credits and during the film
See more »

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User Reviews

Son of a preacher man.
23 January 2003 | by See all my reviews

John Huston used to describe the story as that of a young man who was disappointed by Jesus.

This is one of his least accessible works,not for the mainstream,and we can put it near "reflections in a golden eye" (1967),"under the volcano" (1984) and his final apotheosis "the dead" (1987)

"Wise blood" is a the story of a long suicide.It's a hell of a thing to tell the world "I believe in nothing" .the main character is so weird,so irrational,so unconventional that only an outstanding thespian could play him:that's what Brad Dourif does ,and his performance is remarkable:in the last third of the movie,he has almost nothing to say,and he must express everything with his face and his spellbinding eyes.In this last third,the only thing to do for the character is to nullify his life.

John Huston briefly appears as his father,the preacher man,but these flashbacks last hardly three minutes.

"Wise blood" is hustonian to the core.Vanity of vanities,all is vanity,all that man will try is bound to fail:it's everywhere in every milestone of Huston's career,from "the asphalt jungle" to "treasure of the sierra madre" and from " the misfits" to "the man who would be king" But here the hero does not even try :praying Jesus or denying him does not mean more to him than shaking the hand of a gorilla.And making money with his church without a savior does not even come to his mind.Around him,everybody needs something to lean on,be it a grotesque ape,a mummy or simply a man (see the landlady).

In 1979,Huston was more "modern" than the most daring young director.


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