Hard Times

Lucy: “What does it feel like to knock somebody down?”
Chaney: “It makes me feel a hell of a lot better than it does him.”
Lucy: “That's a reason?”
Chaney: “Hey, there's no reason about it. Just money.”

release year: 1975
genre: action/drama
viewing setting: home Bluray 6/21/20 and 9/19/18 and home DVD, 10/18/17 and 12/13/15 and 10/10/12 and 1/25/10, 8/24/05, 1/16/01 and home laserdisc 2/5/99

synopsis: In Depression-era New Orleans, a drifter makes his living with his fists.

impressions: Generally an entertaining movie, though it had what I call the "Seventies Problem": lots of mumbled dialogue that doesn't make sense even if you can hear it. This is even tough on a DVD without English subtitles. Still, the fistfights were direct and well-done, and the main character took no crap from anyone - a good attitude. I thought the relationship with the girl was a bit contrived, but all in all, the characters in this movie seemed to act and talk like people did back in the poor, tough 1930s, which is when this movie takes place.

acting: This is the kind of role that Charles Bronson was born to play: tough, simple, a man of few words. He's in great shape here for a 54-year-old. James Coburn is good as the con man/fight promoter/unwise gambler who usually acts like an asshole. Strother Martin is a broken-down doctor who serves as their cut man for the fights. Jill Ireland has a small role as a poor girl who Bronson halfheartedly chases. Robert Tessier (a big bald villain-type who you've seen in dozens of movies and TV shows) is one of the guys who Bronson fights; aside from that he just stands around and grins a lot while being menacing.

final word: Good simple Bronson action.

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