Wednesday, October 7

moonrunners

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Written and directed by Gy Waldron, Moonrunners (1975) is an easily recognizable R-rated precursor to the Dukes of Hazzard. Waldron would later write the Dukes series and directed the first episode. Interesting (nerdy -ed.) to watch the movie and see all the elements that would later be crystalized into the long running hit show; the 2 cousins, the lovely lady, the stock car racing, the introduction of an orange Dodge Charger (the backstory is here), Uncle Jesse, the boss Hogg character (super sleazy here, fantastic), the Boar's Nest, running moonshine, and to set the tone -Waylon Jennings' voice over as the Balladeer.




James Mitchum's casting as the stockcar racer/runner echoes his earlier role in Thunder Road with Kiel Martin as the other crazy cous'. Western character actor Arthur Hunnicutt is Uncle Jesse and semi unknown Chris Forbes is Beth, the role that would later morph into Daisy Duke. No shock if I say Moonrunners does not take itself too seriously, but it is not complete hicksploitation (new word?) either; great dialogue and Martin/Forbes get some serious softfocus waterfall cavorting. Features a killer Waylon soundtrack throughout and naturally a few good car chases -plus we find out why the boys use bows instead of guns... you can't get a permit if you are on probation. Zing! Pretty awful artwork for the poster though. True, Moonrunners does not dispel many caricatures, but the grittiness of the roadhouses and the ramshackle farms stop the proceedings from being too romanticized.

Waldron leaned on his interviews with good old boy Jerry Rushing to give the movie its *ahem* flavor. I read that Rushing later sued and settled over royalties. Further reading.

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