Joe – 1970 film with Peter Boyle

Last night I watched the DVD of “Joe” from 1970. This was a very low-budget film that introduced Peter Boyle (as well as Susan Sarandon), and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Despite the over-the-top ending that seems to sit in-between ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ and ‘Taxi Driver’ I thought this film was very revealing of certain undercurrents that have been with us for forty years now.

It gets off to a rather slow start getting the story set up (with Sarandon as a junkie). But then it shifts gears completely as we first see Boyle, sitting at a bar, looking directly into the camera, ranting at “The niggers, the niggers get all the money.” Boyle is Joe Curran, a blue collar worker from Astoria who’s got a few gripes, not only about the blacks and welfare, but also about the rich kids and hippies who are doing drugs and ‘or-gees’ and spreading it to all the other kids. As the movie goes on, it does a nice job of portraying the attraction/repulsion that Joe has for what the younger generation is up to.  He talks about his sons, but we never see them – they are apparently always ‘out.’

What was interesting about the film to me was that it seemed to really get at the resentments stirred up in the sixties, strong feelings that I believe are still fueling the ‘anti-liberal’ sentiments we see today. Another line from Joe’s rant: “Forty two percent of liberals are queer.” Joe hates what’s going on, and wants his piece of it.

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  • Skip Degan  On July 11, 2005 at 4:39 pm

    You could not have seen the entire movie? Who did Joe Curran kill?

  • Skip Degan  On December 21, 2005 at 3:55 pm

    Sorry- I meant who did Bill kill? It was his daughter, of course. A pretty tough movie at the end.

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