Paul Newman (Great American Things, May 17, 2009) and Robert Redford starred in just two films together — this one and The Sting (Great American Things, April 14, 2010) — which is a shame, because film audiences couldn’t get enough of them. Butch (Newman) and Sundance (Redford) were outlaws in the Old West, train robbers in what they called the Hole in the Wall Gang. This movie had everything – great acting of course, wonderful music, and a memorable script.
That script was the work of William Goldman (Great American Things, October 13, 2010), who devotes a chapter in his book Adventures in the Screen Trade to the making of this film. Lots of interesting stuff there, including this, in which Newman and director George Roy Hill had an ongoing argument about the proper placement of a scene:
Toward the end of the first week (of rehearsal), Newman and Hill were at it again, tearing into each other, back and forth, on and on — until we were all aware of this strange, new, and altogether remarkable sound. The gofer, way across the room, in his sleep, had let fly with this whopper of a fart. Newman and Hill registered the event, paused briefly, then went back into combat.
But the fart continued.
Now they paused a second time, all of us staring at this old sleeping guy. Newman and Hill turned back to each other again —
–the fart went on and on. (All true, I swear.) Now we were all silent. Still it continued.
Everyone was aware of the fact that we were in the presence of a phenomenal physical feat. Amazing. We all had to take a break after that. The old guy slept on, eventually lapsing into silence.
Ah, hard to pass up a good fart story. Anyway, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid earned seven Oscar nominations, and won four. (It lost Best Picture to Midnight Cowboy.) Even so, it was ranked number 50 in the American Film Institute’s 100 Years…100 Movies.
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