Hearts of the West
Hearts of the West, released in Europe as Hollywood Cowboy, is a 1975 American comedy film directed by Howard Zieff, and starring Jeff Bridges, Andy Griffith, Blythe Danner, and Alan Arkin. Set in the 1930s, the story revolves around a wannabe Western writer who finds himself cast as a leading man in several B-movie westerns.
|Hearts of the West|
|Directed by||Howard Zieff|
|Produced by||Tony Bill|
|Written by||Rob Thompson|
|Music by||Ken Lauber|
|Edited by||Edward Warschilka|
|Distributed by||United Artists (United States/Canada)|
Cinema International Corporation (International)
|Box office||$1.6 million|
Despite good reviews, the film was not a hit upon release in 1975 but in years since, it has developed a significant cult following among midnight showings and college campuses.
In 1933, Lewis Tater (Jeff Bridges), an aspiring novelist who harbors dreams of becoming the next Zane Grey, decides to leave his family home in Iowa to go to the University of Titan in Nevada so he can soak up the western atmosphere. He arrives to find that there is no university, only a mail order correspondence course scam run by two crooks out of the local hotel. He tries to spend the night at the hotel, but is attacked by one of the men in an attempted robbery. He escapes his attacker, grabs his suitcase, and steals their car to get away, but after awhile it runs out of gas. He looks in the car trunk, and finds a toolbox containing a revolver and ammunition. Afraid the two crooks are still in pursuit of him, he takes the tool box and his suitcase and walks off into the desert.
Wandering and exhausted, the next morning he happens upon a threadbare film-unit from Tumbleweed Productions grinding out a "B" western. Later that day, he catches a lift with the cowboy actors to Los Angeles. After applying for work at Tumbleweed, he is referred by crusty old extra Howard Pike (Andy Griffith) to the Rio, a western-themed restaurant. While washing dishes at the Rio, he is called by Tumbleweed, where Howard mentors him to be an actor. After proving himself as a stuntman, unit manager Kessler (Alan Arkin) offers him a speaking role. Tater then falls in love with spunky script girl Miss Trout (Blythe Danner). Meanwhile, the crooks trace him to Los Angeles to retrieve the safe-box containing their money that was in the car stolen by Lewis.
- Jeff Bridges as Lewis Tater aka Neddy Wales
- Andy Griffith as Howard Pike aka Billy Pueblo
- Donald Pleasence as A.J. Neitz
- Blythe Danner as Miss Trout
- Alan Arkin as Bert Kessler
- Richard B. Shull as Stout Crook
- Herb Edelman as Polo (as Herbert Edelman)
- Alex Rocco as Earl
- Frank Cady as Pa Tater
- Anthony James as Lean Crook
- Burton Gilliam as Lester
- Matt Clark as Jackson
- Candice Azzara as Waitress (as Candy Azzara)
- Thayer David as Bank Manager
- Marie Windsor as Hotel Manager
- Anthony Holland as Guest at Beach Party
- Dub Taylor as Ticket Agent
- William Christopher as Bank Teller
- Stuart Nisbet as Lucky
- Tucker Smith as Noodle in Pith Helmet
- Richard Stahl as Barber
- Granville Van Dusen as World War I Pilot
Roger Ebert called it "a lovely little comedy, a movie to feel fond of" and that Bridges "brings a nice complexity to the role".
It was named one of the National Board of Review's Top Ten Films for 1975. Arkin won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor.
- SECOND ANNUAL GROSSES GLOSS Byron, Stuart. Film Comment; New York Vol. 13, Iss. 2, (Mar/Apr 1977): 35-37,64.
- Roger Ebert (January 1, 1975). "Hearts of West [sic]". Retrieved March 22, 2015.
- "1975 Award Winners". National Board of Review. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
- "1975 Awards". New York Film Critics Circle. Retrieved March 22, 2015.