Posted by: Kath Usitalo | October 19, 2010

FILMichigan: Scarecrow

The riverfront Renaissance Center was just a gleam in Henry Ford's eye when two buddies on a road trip made a stop in Detroit in Scarecrow

Scarecrow: 1973 R rated winner of Palme d’Or at Cannes and Japan’s Kinema Junpo Best Foreign Film 1974. Written by Garry Michael White, Directed by Jerry Schatzberg, starring Gene Hackman and Al Pacino

This obscure example of 70’s reality flicks is not something you want to watch if you’re a). depressed b). looking for Speed 3, an adreneline-fueled action movie set on the Detroit People Mover, or c). expecting tips on Autumn yard decor.

But if you’re in the mood for a fine character study and want to see the considerable talents of a young(er) Hackman and newcomer Pacino (this was his second film, released just a year after The Godfather), track down a copy of this movie set in pre-Ren Cen Detroit.

You’ll travel cross-country with two drifters , Max (Hackman) and “Lion” (Pacino) who decide to be partners in a car wash business. But before he can settle down, Lion must take care of a personal matter in The D.

You’ve probably guessed that their route through the Motor City is not on the mainstream tourist map.

The buddies end up at Scott Fountain on Belle Isle in a memorable scene that captures my personal mixed feelings of joy and tragedy about that site.

Along the way, adding excitement to their lives, are supporting characters Ann Wedgeworth, Richard Lynch (you’ll recognize them when you see them) and Eileen Brennan (the same year she was in The Sting, one of my all-time favorite flicks, which was not filmed in Michigan so I can’t talk about it here).



  1. It’s on my list now….sounds like one my son, Ricky, would like, too. Thanx for the tip!

  2. Offbeat and not much recognition here, but they loved it in Japan!

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