Sometimes A Great Notion Review

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A family of hard-working Oregon loggers fall upon hard times by sticking to their principles.


Aka Never Give an Inch, this near-great movie ought to be better-known. Directed coolly by Paul Newman, with an emphasis on the great outdoors, it’s based on Ken ‘Cuckoo’s Nest’ Kesey’s novel about a family of Oregon loggers who end up paying a price for their defiant independence. Refusing to back a local strike, they become town pariahs and the menfolk are always on the point of attacking each other verbally or physically while women seethe in silence. Aside from an inappropriately cheery Henry Mancini score, it’s perfectly judged.

Paul Newman (working-class hero), Henry Fonda (patriarch), Lee Remick (long-suffering wife) and Michael Sarrazin (prodigal son) equal their best-known roles, and Richard Jaeckel gets one of cinema’s best death scenes, slowly drowning under a log in a rising river.

Paul Newman directs and stars with a great deal of success in this almost-classic.